38th Hemispheric Congress - June 5-8, 2017 - Miami, Florida

Our history

Fostering the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Fostering the Entrepreneurial Spirit

The Latin Chamber of Commerce of the United States, CAMACOL is the largest Hispanic business organization in the State of Florida and one of the most influential minority business groups in the United States.

For nearly five decades, CAMACOL’s mission is to foster the entrepreneurial spirit of Florida’s Hispanic and minority communities, and as such, it conducts programs to strengthen local business activity, promote economic development, facilitate international commerce, and serve the civic needs of the community and state.

Through its Hemispheric Congress, its flagship program, CAMACOL has provided businesses with the opportunity of establishing commercial linkages in the domestic and international marketplace for more than three decades. As such, through its Hemispheric Congress, whose mission is to link businesses throughout the globe, promote Miami Dade County and the State of Florida as the Gateway State, CAMACOL has provided the business community with the opportunity of establishing commercial linkages in the international marketplace.

CAMACOL works with our community leaders and partners on local, statewide and national and international level to ensure that our economy recovers and grows. Our programs focus on fostering job creation, retention and development.

In essence CAMACOL’s mission as an economic developer is to develop and strengthen the small and minority business sectors and to facilitate activities that foster economic growth and jobs.

Summary of Activities
As mentioned, currently CAMACOL manages many programs; however, the following are three major economic and business development programs.

The Hemispheric Congress of Latin Chambers of Commerce and Industry

The track record of the Hemispheric Congress comprises a 33 year history as an international business forum and network of the national chambers of commerce throughout the Latin American and Caribbean region and their counterparts in the United States. As such, the Hemispheric Congress spearheaded the free trade movement and was a catalyst of sweeping changes on economic integration, which have revolutionized international trade landscape of today.

The founders of the Hemispheric Congress had the foresight to envision an established international business forum and information network with two straight forward objectives: The promotion of private enterprise and the strengthening of the democratization process. Consolidated concepts with one united voice that has ardently advocated for the enactment of bilateral and multilateral free trade legislation, economic integration and democratization through support of the free trade process.

Innovative leadership and commitment to the principles of free market and democratization have been iconic guidelines of the Hemispheric Congress. Since its inception the Congress has facilitated policies and reforms which advocate for the private sector within the parameters of economic and social responsibility; sustainable development through responsible commercial activity.

The governing body of the Hemispheric Congress is the Permanent Secretariat of the Hemispheric Congress.
The members of the board are delegate members and presidents of national chambers of commerce and industry from the region and the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce in the United States. Headquartered at the Latin Chamber of Commerce, CAMACOL in Miami, Florida the permanent secretariat has a variety of responsibilities. Its prime directive is to carry out the mission of the Congress and ensure the dissemination of the agreements, conclusions and recommendations adopted by its board, as well as to coordinate the activities related to the organization of the annual congress event.

The Chairmanship of the Hemispheric Congress is held by a CAMACOL board member and the presidency of the secretariat alternates among the international directorate. The current Chairman of the Hemispheric Congress is Commissioner Wifredo “Willy” Gort.

The Directors of the Permanent Secretariat meet twice a year to outline new programs, analyze sector specific trends and policies, draft resolutions and recommendations, and establish advocacy campaigns. It is the responsibility of this board to implement the policy agreements in each of the member-countries. CAMACOL not only oversees this process, but also coordinates these activities and acts as a liaison between the public and private sectors of the region, including the United States of America.

The members of this board also generate and approve the central theme of each annual Hemispheric Congress at the First Annual Meeting of the Members of the Permanent Secretariat, seat of the current president. These meetings are held annually in conjunction with a trade development seminar and goodwill/trade mission.

CAMACOL / Florida Trade

The program was created in 1987 to address the needs of Florida’s small and minority business community. This program serves to establish and strengthen ties between Florida’s export community and counterparts in the international trade arena throughout the Latin American and Caribbean Basin region, the European Union, Africa and the Orient.

To this effect, the program sponsors a wide variety of traditional and non traditional business development activities and initiatives which include; the CAMACOL web site, the promotion and dissemination of up-dated trade leads, outreach and referral services, technical and referral to sources of financial assistance, periodic seminars and workshops, business card exchanges and networking events, hosts and incubator center for export development, sponsors the Exhibition of Florida Export Products Florid Pavilion in conjunction with the with the Hemispheric Congress of Latin Chambers of Commerce and Industry, an international event which has been sponsored and coordinated by the Latin Chamber of Commerce, CAMACOL.

The Florida Trade and Exhibition Center also sponsors and participates in trade and commercial missions, on-going and incoming, in accordance with Florida’s trade strategies.

Currently, this program is working diligently to foster support for innovative industries in Florida, such as film and entertainment.
These initiatives will bring new opportunities and will generate new sources of employment to the area.

Other CAMACOL’s Economic Development Initiatives

  • Creation of activities that foster job growth employment opportunities
  • Commercial façade rehabilitation program
  • Promote and participate in international Trade and economic/commercial development Activities
  • Render economic and technical assistance to businesses
  • Foster economic development initiatives
  • Asses and assist small and minority businesses in the transition to the international trade sector, as well as provide comprehensive knowledge of the globalization process
  • Provide the business community with the tools necessary mechanisms to compete in today’s marketplace.
CAMACOL’s International Infrastructure Our unique network of national chambers of commerce in Latin America and Spain provides our members and Florida’s international business community with hands-on linkages in these important markets.

CAMACOL’s International Infrastructure

Our unique network of national chambers of commerce in Latin America and Spain provides our members and Florida’s international business community with hands-on linkages in these important markets.

Executive Team

Our Executive Team provides our members and constituents hands-on assistance 24-7

President

Mercy Saladrigas

Saladrigas Law Center

e-mail

First Vice President

Dr. Roberto Gutierrez

Roberto Gutierrez, MD, PA

e-mail

Treasurer

Fausto Alvarez

Fausto Alvarez, LLC.

e-mail

Secretary

Jose (Joe) Chi

China Latin America Trade Center

e-mail

Director of International Relations

Wifredo "Willy" Gort

Commissioner

e-mail

Vice-Director of International Relations

Raul Lopez-Perez

AdByMail Inc.

e-mail

Directors

Onay Pedraza

Publix Supermarket

e-mail

Mario O. Gutierrez

Pepsi Beverages Company

e-mail

Olga Núñez

Northwestern Meat, Inc

e-mail

Pedro Mesa

Sedano’s

e-mail

Nancy Marquez

Global Companies Corp.

e-mail

Eduardo Cancela

MSP Recovery

e-mail

Hernand V. Gonzalez Jr.

The Integrated Mkting.

e-mail

Martha de la Peña Rojas

Florida Blue

e-mail

Gabriel Pascual

Iberica Intl. Group

e-mail

Olga Ramudo

Express Travel of Miami

e-mail

Irene R. White

Florida Power & Light

e-mail

Richard Noriega

Security Intl. Services

e-mail

Esteban Hernandez

Primero Inc.

e-mail

Alejandro Dominguez

AT&T

e-mail

Oscar A. Echevarria

Global Expand LLC

e-mail

Italo Torrese

Latin America Invest Corp.

e-mail

Patrick Lamontagne

SAM'S Club

e-mail

Honorary Directors

Frank Unanue

Goya Food of Florida

e-mail

Benjamín León III

León Medical Centers

e-mail

Daniel Navarro

Mc Arthur Dairy

e-mail

Angel Fandiño

Cantera & Associated

e-mail

Anthony Rivas

Rivas Realty of Florida, Inc.

e-mail

Augusto R. Ledesma

Int. Mkting. Advisors, Inc.

e-mail

Rafael Olloqui

BTS Group

e-mail