By Jorge Calvillo ( | First Posted: Feb 19, 2014 07:58 AM EST

(Photo: Archive, Reuters)

Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State of the US, was present last Saturday, Nov. 9 in Los Angeles, to receive an award from the Latino community for her "contribution to strengthening relations between Mexico and the United States".

According to news agency EFE, Clinton received the award from the Mexican American Leadership Initiative (MALI), an organization created by the U.S. Mexico Foundation.

During the ceremony, which took place at the University of California, the former Secretary of State highlighted the importance of generating a greater market openness in the Americas to face global competition.

"We have to look towards opening up markets and free trade from northern Canada to southern Argentina, because we're in a global competition and I believe that our best allies and business partners are here, close to us", said Clinton, who recently celebrated her 66th birthday.

Present at the event were the former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solís, the former Secretary of Housing Henry Cisneros, the former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutiérrez, California Senator Barbara Boxer and San Antonio, Texas Mayor Julián Castro, reported EFE.

Despite the "apolitical" tone of the event, Clinton's possible aspirations of becoming a Presidential candidate in 2016 defined the evening, assisted by 500 people, most of them Hispanic.

Hillary Clinton Supports Immigration Reform

During the award ceremony, Hillary Clinton took the opportunity to say that she's in favor of immigration reform in the United States, a measure suspended since last June by Congress.

According to newspaper La Opinión, regarding immigration, Clinton said,

"Our diversity is one of our biggest strengths. We should be celebrating [immigration] instead of fearing it".

The former Secretary of State also mentioned that U.S.-Mexico relations are key for development in the future, since, as she said, both countries are joined "by a shared responsibility" and "a shared future".

"You can't have the kind of relationship I want to see with our friends in Mexico if your role is not clear and for a long time the US has not acknowledged the role it plays in drug trafficking, and in other problems affected the lives of many Mexicans" said Clinton.

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