Monday, May 23, 2016

"Just a Thought" Column continues-La Prensa of San Antonio, 5-22

Just a Thought: Mexico’s ex-President Vicente Fox
By Steve Walker

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox has been in the national news recently over his adverse reaction to a political promise made by presumptive Republican nominee for President, Donald Trump.

Trump is promising to build a border wall between Mexico and the US and demanding that Mexico pay for the construction of that wall. According to Trump he wants to keep out undocumented immigrants from entering the country without legal papers.

As one who covered the former President of Mexico when he visited San Antonio May 24th, 2007, while he served as the keynote speaker at the Hispanic Media Awards, held at the Marriott River Center, I was honored to shake his hand and speak with him as well.

The event honored the nation's top Spanish language journalists & media personalities of the day.

Having published the Walker Report at the time for nearly a year, I obtained my press pass and attended the event in hope of taking photos of him giving his speech. I was successful.

I remember I was visiting with Telemundo 60 News Reporter Yolanda Vasquez and her photographer Roy Ibarra out in the hallway outside the banquet hall awaiting his arrival. We figured he would come in the back and go behind the stage. Much to our surprise I looked up and saw him coming down the hallway in the hotel with an escort and his wife, Marta. I motioned to Yolanda and Roy and exclaimed, “There he is!”

Yolanda, Roy and I made a mad dash towards him with their video camera, her microphone and my small camera in tow. He graciously stopped when Yolanda identified herself and asked for an interview. I was directly behind her snapping photos of him as she began what turned out to be a 20 minute interview.

His wife stood at his side quietly and patiently as Yolanda asked questions, Roy kept his camera rolling and I furiously was snapping as many photos as my camera would allow.

President Fox was animated and when he talked, his hands were motioning in the air and all over the place. He was one of those who spoke with his hands.

When all was said and done I snapped nearly 60 photos of him of which at least 20 weren’t good because his hand was covering his face as he spoke.

As he spoke, my wife Linda was standing nearby. She quietly asked Marta Fox the former president’s wife in limited Spanish if she could take a photo with him when he finished.

His wife grabbed the President the minute the interview was completed and told him, “Take a photo with this lady.” He posed with Linda and she now has photos of her and the president.

As Yolanda, Roy and I walked backwards continuing our coverage, the president shook hands with those in attendance. At one point Fox News Anchors Ernie Zuniga and Michael Valdez stood close. I quietly directed them closer and then I asked the President if he would pose with the two Fox anchors. He graciously obliged. He thought it was fun to pose with “Fox” reporters.

I told him the caption would read, “Fox Y Fox!” He laughed. Ernie and Michael were elated and to the best of my knowledge they both still have a copy of the photo I took. Ernie is still at Fox 29, while Michel has moved on to a local PR firm. A memory not to be forgotten.

Anyway, as always, what I write is “Just a Thought.”

Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran and former Justice of the Peace and Journalist.

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