A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.

Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 - Monday, Sept. 10, 2012

María Elvia Amaya de Hank dies; was married to former Tijuana mayor and Caliente racetrack operator Jorge Hank Rhon

maria elvia de hankMaría Elvia Amaya de Hank has died, Frontera newspaper reported. She had been elected as a federal at-large deputy for the Institutional Revolutionary Party on July 1. She was 58.

She was the wife of former Tijuana Mayor and Caliente racetrack operator Jorge Hank Rhon, and had founded a charitable foundation to help out Tijuana's poor.

Last year, she received treatment for a rare bone marrow disease in Switzerland, and was reported to have suffered a relapse this year. She was hardly seen on the campaign trail.

She had sought the PRI nomination for mayor of Tijuana in 2010, and was the subject of a photo essay book by Yvonne Venegas which won the 2010 Expression Photography Award sponsored by Magnum Photos and HP.

Update, Sept. 12: Minute of silence held for her in national Congress, state legislature. Story, Frontera (PDF).

Update, Sept. 17: Hank family publishes ad in El Mexicano (PDF) thanking friends and family for their support.

Previous mentions of María Elvia Amaya de Hank in MexicoPerspective

Story on her death, Frontera. Story, U-T San Diego.
Profile of María Elvia Amaya de Hank in Quién.
Her funeral, reported in Frontera (PDF). Second page (PDF). Third page (PDF). Among those attending was former Tijuana Xolos coach Joaquín del Olmo; singer Emmanuel, also known as the king of Latin pop; and Sen. Cristina Díaz, the national secretary-general of the PRI.
The Xolos soccer team dedicated its season to her, El Mexicano reported. (It later won the national championship).
Hank calls her irreplaceable. Story in Frontera (PDF).
PRI leader Beatriz Paredes, who had been on a visit to Ensenada, came to Tijuana to pay her respects. She was referred to as Beatroz Paredes in Frontera (PDF).
Full-page picture of Amaya de Hank in El Mexicano (PDF).
Monday's political page mentioning those paying homage, Frontera (PDF). Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán, who defeated Jorge Hank in the 2007 governor's race, paid his respects on Saturday.
Tijuana Historical Society President Mario Ortiz Villacorta writes (PDF) that when he was teaching at the Lázaro Cárdenas high school, Amaya de Hank did a wonderful job as the "godmother" of the class of 2007 and also headed the committee that restored the old Agua Caliente casino swimming pool.

She will be succeeded in the Chamber of Deputies by her substitute Carmen López Segura, who heads the PRI's women's group in the state. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Sept. 18: López Segura to take oath of office.

Update, Sept. 13: Centro DIF La Mesa named after María Elvia Amaya de Hank. She was head of the DIF (Comprehensive Family Development system, or sistema para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia) when Jorge Hank was mayor from 2004-2007.

Update, Sept. 20: Red Cross honors María Elvia Amaya de Hank (PDF).

Explosion of esquela memorial ads in Tijuana newspapers for María Elvia Amaya de Hank

Among those paying tribute are President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto,
the head of his transition team, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong,
and a doctor banned from practicing in U.S.

When prominent people die in Mexico, the tradition is for other prominent people and organizations to publish memorial ads called esquelas in the local daily newspaper in tribute to the departed.

maria elvia amaya de hank esquelasThe death of María Elvia Amaya de Hank brought forth an esquela explosion, and 16 added pages just for esquelas in El Mexicano newspaper on Sunday, Sept. 9.

One esquela published in El Sol de Tijuana was from President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto.

Among the esquelas published in El Mexicano were two from Dr. Milne Ongley, who moved to Mexico after being banned from practicing medicine in the United States, according to a 2006 San Diego Union-Tribune story.

Esquelas in Sunday's El Mexicano (all PDF files): Page 7 (including Rosarito mayor); Page 9; Page 10; Page 11 (Grupo Calimax and Fimbres family); Page 12 (Xolos and Hank's Pueblo Amigo complex); Page 2S (Club Campestre, Urbi); Page 3S (full page, El Mexicano); Page 4S (New Alliance Party, which opposed Jorge Hank in 2007 gubernatorial election, and Cemex); Page 5S (El Trompo museum); Page 6S (PRI women's group); Page 7S (PRI national committee, more from New Alliance; state transparency institute); Page 8S; Page 9S (Barreto group); Page 10S (Cetto winery and DIF Tijuana); Page 11S (Baja California Sur Gov. Marco Covarrubias); Page 12S (Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante, Alberto Murguía family, PRI Deputy Elia Cabañas, Lucerna hotel; Page 13S (Caliente Group, Tijuana finance official Rufo Ibarra, and El Grill steakhouse; Page 14S (Telnor); Page 15S (full page from PRI Deputy Fernando Castro Trenti); Page 16S (city of Tijuana, Mayor Bustamante's family). Page 17 (Ensenada Mayor Enrique Pelayo); Page 20 (former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Ramos, defeated by Hank in 2004, and Tijuana social development official David Saúl Guakil); Page 18 (Dr. Milne Ongley, who moved to Mexico after being banned from practicing medicine in the United States, according to a 2006 San Diego Union-Tribune story); Page 19 (Gasmart); Ensenada edition, Page 6: (PRI state legislator Elí Topete); Ensenada edition, Page 9: (Mexicali city government); Ensenada edition, Page 10: (full page, PRI state legislators); Ensenada edition, Page 11: (Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán, Casas Geo); Ensenada edition, Page 12: (PRI federal legislators); Ensenada edition, Page 14: (PRI state committee, Ensenada state legislator Claudia Agatón of the Workers Party).
enrique pena nietoEl Sol de Tijuana newspaper: President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto; Mexico state PRI Gov. Eruviel Avila (Jorge Hank is from Mexico state and his family has major economic interests there); Quintana Roo PRI Gov. Roberto Borge Angulo; Alba Roja union; the Sintoled union; Sol chain owner Mario Vázquez Raña; former PRI federal deputy Humberto Lepe Lepe;
Frontera: Page 5 (Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán.) Page 6 (Applebees). Page 11: Tecate Mayor Javier Urbalejo, Tijuana business leader Mario Escobedo Carignan. Page 14: Red Cross, Grupo Farmacéutico; Page 15: Coca-Cola bottler Grupo del Fuerte; Page 16: Radio Latina 104.5 FM; Page 19: Cuauhtéc Moctezuma brewery. Page 22: Champion boxer Erik Morales; Page 23: Mexican-American businessman Jeffrey Jensen; Page 29: Grupo Uniradio. Page 35: PRI members of the Chamber of Deputies, led by Deputy Manlio Fabio Beltrones.

Monday: Esquela memorial ads in Frontera (PDF), including from former Tijuana Mayor René Treviño and Tijuana Innovadora founder José Galicot. El Mexicano Ensenada edition Page 6: (Guilebaldo Silva Cota, state workers union, Mexicali federal deputy David Pérez Tejada). Page 18: (Argentine gambling union). Page 23: (Green Party). Page 26: (Banorte, Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon Tigres soccer club, and the Mexican Congress); Page 27: Verde y Crema transport line; Page 28: Federal Deputy Gilberto Hirata.

Tuesday: Frontera Page 7: (Grupo Monex); Page 9: (Cablemás, Movimiento de Renovación Carismática Católica en el Espíritu Santo); Page 12: (the Mexico state-based Frisa construction group); Page 17: (Lázaro Cardenas high school); Page 23 (association that supports firefighters); Page 27 (Canacintra). Sol de Tijuana: Arturo and Deborah Keller; Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong and his wife, Laura Vargas — Osorio heads Peña Nieto's transition team; Tijuana businessman Salvador Kayachanian.

Wednesday: Frontera Page 13: Oxxo. Sol de Tijuana: Lion's Club of Tijuana; Tijuana's Grupo 21 breakfast club.

Thursday: Frontera Page 12: Tijuana Archbishop Rafael Romo Muñoz.

Previous mentions of Marí Elvia Amaya de Hank in MexicoPerspective:
July: Her interview with Frontera newspaper in which she said she had emerged victorious against her illness. Zeta reported, however, that she was not in as good a shape as she claimed.
June: Amaya de Hank at PRI presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto's campaign appearance in Tijuana; Jorge Hank does not appear.
March: She is named at-large federal deputy candidate for PRI.
          Hanks featured on cover of Caras magazine.
maria elvia de hank pri senate letterJanuary 2012: María Elvia Amaya de Hank publishes letter saying she declined Senate nomination to give PRI ticket more geographical balance.
                    She and Jorge Hank lead Three Kings parade.
                    Her role in Jorge Hank exotic bird case.
December 2011: María Elvia Amaya de Hank seeks Senate seat.
February 2011: María Elvia Amaya de Hank has bone-marrow transplant in Switzerland.
May 2011: María Elvia Amaya de Hank to begin charitable activities again.
               She makes appearance at Xolos game.
December 2011: Mention of her on Mexico's equivalent of April Fools Day.


Her first marriage to Hank business partner appears to be taboo subject in Tijuana

María Elvia Amaya was born to Sergio Amaya Brondo and María Elvia Araujo Montaño in Mexicali on Feb. 27, 1954. The family later moved to Tijuana.

El Mexicano reported that her children are: Alejandro, Mara, Rodrigo, Ana Guadalupe, Carlos Andrés, José Mario, María Guadalupe, Nirvana and Jorge Carlos. Her grandchildren are Jorge Marc and Charlotte María.

She was 42 with six children and two years older than Hank when they married in 1996 after a whirlwind courtship. Hank adopted her six children, and she and Hank had three more children. Hank has 10 other children through other wives and women.

She had her first six children during her first marriage to hotelier Alejandro de la Vega, a partner in the Holiday Inn with Hank. De la Vega attended one of the funeral Masses held for his former wife, according to a Sept. 10 item on El Mexicano's political page (PDF). That appeared to be the only mention of de la Vega in either of Tijuana's two major dailies, El Mexicano and Frontera, and El Mexicano did not even say de la Vega was her ex-husband. The sports website EnsaladaDeportiva did mention de la Vega as her ex-husband in the context of being the father of bullfighter Alejandro Amaya.

Daniel Salinas' book, "La Liturgia del Tigre Blanco: Una Leyenda Llamada Jorge Hank Rhon," writes that de la Vega and Hank were friends as well as partners and said an oft-repeated Tijuana legend is that during a group vacation to Paris and Venice involving Hank, his then-wife Minerva Krauss, and de la Vega and his then-wife María Elvia Amaya, Hank began courting María Elvia. But Salinas said that when he discussed the matter with Hank, Hank said both he and María Elvia were both divorced when their courtship began.

* * * * *

An earlier version of this report, using a birthdate cited by Quién, incorrectly said Amaya de Hank was 56.