Entrepreneurs Latinamericanos
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BELIZE

PEDRO SALAZAR SR

The diversity of its people, land and attractions is a description you read quite often in books, magazines and brochures on Belize. What is unique to this island though, is the spirit of the leaders who are responsible for making it the number one tourism destination. Much hard work and creativity are needed to survive the changing times in any community and this is certainly the case of one entrepreneur in San Pedro - Mr. Pedro Salazar Sr.

Pedro was born just a short distance away in the Mexican fishing village of Xcalac on June 2nd, 1945 to Dalinda Guerrero Salazar, originally from San Pedro and Marciano Salazar (deceased) whose parents were originally from Caye Caulker. When "Pete" was only four years old his family moved to San Pedro where he was raised among three brothers and a sister. After completing primary school at San Pedro Roman Catholic School, Pedro moved to Belize City to further his education because there was no high school on the island at the time. Aware of the great sacrifice his family was making to send him to school, Pedro gave his best effort to his schoolwork and graduated from St. John's College in 1964. He then attended Teacher's Intermediate School in Belize City and dedicated the following one and a half years of his life to teaching at San Pedro Roman Catholic School. Pete then completed two courses in accounting from the International Correspondence School.

The Caribeña Fishing Cooperative was established in 1963, and in 1966 Pedro was offered a job as office clerk, a position he gladly accepted. His diligence and dedication earned him promotions such as pay master and accountant and he served the last seven of his fifteen years of service to Caribeña Co-op as general manager. On March 25th, 1967 Pedro married Isabel Nuñez. Their marriage was graced with two children and they now enjoy the company of three grandchildren.

Thinking he had a good eye for business, Pedro then took a leap which many considered a huge risk. Big investments were very rare among the locals, but nevertheless, Mr. Salazar went forward with his strong instincts. In 1975, he invested his savings into a movie theatre, establishing himself as the proud owner of Teatro Arenas which became a major source of entertainment for San Pedro.
   

Throughout this time, Mr. Salazar also acted as a private accountant for three growing hotels on the island: Victoria House, Aqua Lodge and Ambergris Lodge. The movie business continued to prosper as there was no television yet in the small fishing village. As San Pedro started to develop, and TVs started to pop up in the homes of the residents, Mr. Salazar realized the future of the movie theatre was bleak. Although the closure of this particular business was eventually necessary, it sprouted the seeds of a new business venture for Mr. Salazar, Coral Cable Vision. With the aid of a technician from Spain, and the recruitment of his older son, the cable business proved to be a very successful move which continues to prosper to this day.
   

Acknowledging that his investment skills were working to his advantage, Pedro Salazar Sr. took another chance and started Pete's Enterprises - a wholesale distribution center supplying local stores with a variety of merchandise. Soon after, Mr. Salazar branched out again with the lease/rental of the fuel station at Caribeña Fishing Cooperative. Eventually he accepted an offer to buy the business and then expanded it to include another fuel station at the front of the island, creating Caribeña Enterprises.
   

Mr. Salazar's most recent project has been Jaguar's Temple Night Club. Although this specific type of business is different from what he is accustomed to, he has managed to create another wonderful entertainment spot for the young and the young at heart.
   

Business is but one side of this ambitious individual. Pedro Salazar Sr. is highly appreciated in this community for his leadership skills and his commitment. A member of the San Pedro Village Council since 1979, he was instrumental in lobbying for San Pedro's town status. He fondly remembers his time as a village councilor when the island depended on its residents' help during "fajinas" (work-a-thons) since there was no budget for the village. Mr. Salazar told the San Pedro Sun, "There was a great sense of pride and cooperation then but I strongly felt that we needed financial support from government and that is why I advocated for town status." After San Pedro was finally declared a town in 1984, he served three years as mayor, six years as deputy mayor and three years as a town councilor.
   

After dedicating twelve years of his heart and soul to the community, Mr. Salazar decided he was neglecting his business and chose to retire from the political scene in order to tend to his growing enterprises. Nevertheless, before he departed he worked for three years with a group of local and foreign consultants to create the Ambergris Caye Master Plan. "I enjoy being a civic-minded person. I feel that I served with dignity and with pride for the betterment of my town. Unfortunately, between my business and health I had to limit my tasks. I certainly hope to once again become very active in public service. Nevertheless, I assure you, that my heart and sentiments are always for the good of San Pedro," stated Mr. Salazar. In speaking of the things he would like to see happen on our island Mr. Salazar commented, "It would give me great joy to see the people of San Pedro, especially the younger generation, become more involved in cultural and sporting activities. The older generation needs to realize that they are instrumental in instilling good moral values and passing on their individual cultures to their children. They need to spend the necessary time with them to ensure that this generation grows up to be exemplary citizens in our community. There is a lot that needs to be done in this respect."
   

Another of Mr. Salazar's contributions to his community is through his affiliation with the San Pedro Lions Club. His "Lion Spirit" has always been and continues to be strong.  In 1974, Pedro Salazar Sr. joined the Belize City Lions Club along with two other residents of San Pedro. One year later on October 25th, 1975 they were able to give birth to the San Pedro Lions Club. Twenty-six years later, Lion Pedro Salazar continues to follow the Lion Code of Ethics. Throughout this time he has held the most distinguished positions in the club, including being the first president of the San Pedro Lions Club. He has also served as governor for Belize Lions District 59 and worked tirelessly for the growth of the club through his assistance on numerous committees and sub-committees. Most recently, he was awarded a certificate from Belize Lions Zone 59 for being a Charter member who also remains an active member.
   

From his very beginnings, every business established by Mr. Pedro Salazar has succeeded due to his fine administration and professional skills. Even more redeeming are his noble heart and dedication to his community. The combination of his success as an entrepreneur and his dedication as a community leader is what has made Pedro Salazar Sr. a true example of the enterprising nature that makes "Our Community" number one.

 

 
 


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