DOWNEY -- The Mexican American Bar Association (MABA) held its annual MABA Trip in the country of Chile for the 2015 year.
The trip abroad is an official trip by a delegation of MABA members and consists of legal seminars on topics relating to the legal field in the host country. This year, the MABA delegation traveled to two Chilean cities: the capital city of Santiago and the coastal city of Vina del Mar.
The delegation was hosted by various American and Chilean officials. Among the hosts: a Chilean law school, Universidad Diego Portales, and Facultad de Derecho. There, a panel of university professors and clinical attorneys embarked on the topics of Chilean immigration policies and excessive force issues involving the Chilean police.
The MABA delegation was also hosted by Chilean judges at a Chilean courthouse where they learned about Chile’s transition from dictatorship to the implementation of its new criminal justice system, officially launched in 2000 and highly modeled after the American criminal justice system.
Finally, the Office of the American Ambassador to Chile extended an official invitation to the delegation. That formal reception took place at the official residence of the American Charge d’Affaires, who serves as the Deputy Chief of Mission. The event was co-hosted by the Office of Cultural Affairs at the American Embassy.
The MABA delegation also learned of Chile’s ascendance in the wine industry. Indeed, Chile is now one of the leading wine exporters in the world and is renowned for its fine wine. The delegation traveled to the Casablanca Valley, one of Chile’s top wine producing regions.
The delegation was treated to wine tastings that included a sampling of Carmenere, a wine grape variety that originated in France but that has enjoyed an impressive resurgence as Chile’s most famous wine variety across the world.
Among the 70 members of the MABA delegation were Downey attorneys Ricardo Perez, Eber Bayona, and Erick Solares. The group also included Judge Ana Maria Luna (a Downey native), Judge Joe Porras of Norwalk, Judge Shelley Torrealba of East Los Angeles, and Commissioner Maria Puente-Porras (a longtime member of the Downey-based Southeast District Bar Association).
Incoming MABA President Maria Ramirez, of Whittier, was also in attendance.