Hispanic Heritage Month: Hector Barreto
Continuing with our observation of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we are honored to feature Hector Barreto, Sr., a Kansas City entrepreneur and one of the founders of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, Hector V. Barreto, Sr. immigrated to the United States when he was in his early 20s and landed in Kansas City, Mo.
Barreto and his wife, Mary Louise Tejeda, opened Mexico Lindo Restaurant in 1966 at the northwest corner of 23rd and Scott streets in Independence, Missouri. He eventually owned three restaurants: Casa Blanca, La Fiesta, and Chico’s, plus a tile company and a construction firm in Kansas City.
Barreto was an imaginative businessman. He took notice of the disadvantages that Hispanic business owners faced in Kansas City. With other Latino businessmen, he founded the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 1979. Originally based in Kansas City, the organization is now headquartered in Washington, D.C. The goal of the organization is to bring the issues and concerns of the nation’s Latino-owned businesses to the forefront of the national economic agenda.
Barreto’s advocacy took him to a national stage where he gave advice on Latino perspectives to the Carter, Reagan and first Bush administrations. In the 1980s, Barreto became involved in Republican Party politics and worked for President Reagan’s transition team.
- Hispanic Heritage Month