Rhode Island Latino History | TIMELINE: The 1980s to 2000
U.S. Census reports 19,707 Hispanics in Rhode Island.
Brigadier General Oscar Humberto Mejia Victores of Guatemala overthrows existing government. He allows for a return to democracy, with elections for a constituent assembly in 1984 followed by general elections in 1985.
War breaks out throughout Central America (1985-89). Refugees flee their homes and begin arriving in large numbers to RI (1987-89)
The first Hispanic Chamber of Providence is formed.
That same year, Martínez founds the Hispanic Heritage Committee of Rhode Island and with a seed grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, organizes the first celebration of Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1991, the celebration becomes Hispanic Heritage Month, a 30-day statewide event from September 15-October.
The US Census counts 43,932 Latinos in Rhode Island.
Three Latinos run for political office unsuccessfully. (Juan Francísco and Jenny Rosario for state office and Leo Medina for Providence City Council)
In November Luis Aponte became the first Latino to win a seat on the Providence city council.
Census 2000: The Hispanic population grows to 90,820