Tuesday, October 3, 2023

The US says goodbye to Bill Richardson

“He was a patriot, and really, sincerely, he will not be forgotten… He won many heavyweight titles in his life. Few have served our nation in so many ways or with such tenacity, creativity, and happiness.” These are the words of Joe Biden, the current President of the United States (USA), to bid a fond farewell to Bill Richardson, the historic Hispanic Democratic Party leader with family roots in Villaviciosa, who passed away a few days ago at his summer home in Massachusetts at the age of 75. During his long political career, Richardson has served as governor of New Mexico, secretary of energy under Bill Clinton, ambassador to the United Nations, and secretary of commerce in the Obama administration. In addition, for decades, he acted as a negotiator in operations for the release of Americans imprisoned abroad, meeting with Fidel Castro and Saddam Hussein. His work led to his being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Richardson’s grandfather, Manuel López-Collada Márquez, was born on June 3, 1880, in Villaviciosa. Like so many thousands of Asturians, he immigrated to Mexico in the early 20th century in search of a better future. There he devoted himself to trading and met the Mexican Mara Márquez Vazconcelos, whom he married. One of his daughters, Mara Teresa, in turn, married the banker William Blaine Richardson, and as a result of this union, William Blaine (Bill) Richardson López-Collada was born on November 15, 1947, in Pasadena, California. He had two sisters, Vesta and Louise.

Manuel López-Collada, the emigrant is buried in the crypt of the Church of San Juan de Amandi, near the family home. In addition, Villaviciosa lived in Villaviciosa until her death, as did two third cousins ​​of the prominent Hispanic politician whose great-grandmothers were named Portala in honor of Our Lady of the Portal. In 2008, in a statement to LA NUEVA ESPAA on the occasion of their relative’s appointment as Secretary of Commerce in the Obama administration, Carmen and Teresa Collada affirmed that they were closely following Bill’s political career through the media, stressing that he was “big and strong.” Both also recalled how, earlier this century, their mother and sister visited the Maliayés council and donated a painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico, to the local community.

Bill Richardson was a charismatic and somewhat special politician. Proof of this is that with no more and no less than 13,392 greetings in eight hours, he set the “Guinness” record for politicians shaking hands with their potential voters. It was 2002, while he was governor of New Mexico, and he was celebrating a New Mexico Lobos basketball win over the Baylor Bears. On election night, the Democrat addressed the adoring supporters, accompanied by a Guinness Book of Records clerk who recorded every handshake and verified the record.

Also while serving as governor, Richardson decided to run for the 2008 US presidential election but eventually gave up his candidacy after holding a primary in New Hampshire in which he finished fourth.

World Nation News Desk
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