The White House’s annual Cinco de Mayo event rocked to a Mexican beat on Thursday.
The Guadalajara rock band, Maná, composers of such hits as Oye Mi Amor and Cuando Los Ángeles Lloran, were guests of honor at the annual White House event
Not to be confused with Mexican independence day (Sept 16) Thursday's anniversary marks the Battle of Puebla in 1862 when Mexican forces defeated French troops.
President Barack Obama is a fan of Maná and they have performed for him on several occasions, as well as backing his previous 2012 election campaign. Considered the top Latin rock band in history, Maná also performed at Obama’s inaugural ball in 2013.
The band, which is famous for addressing politically controversial topics, has been outspoken during the 2016 presidential campaign denouncing Republican front-runner Donald Trump for his comments about Mexican immigrants.
Trump offered his own Cinco de Mayo salute to Mexicans on Twitter saying his office building sells the bests tacos, adding: "I love Hispanics."
Maná has also encouraged Latino citizens to register to vote. At the Latin Grammy Awards in November, Maná performed the song “Somos Más Americanos” (“We're More American”) and held up a Spanish-language poster reading, “Latinos united. Don’t vote for racists.”
“If you had told me 25 years ago that one day the band Maná would play in the White House, I wouldn’t have believed it,” the group's frontman Fher Olvera said in a statement. “We feel proud to share our music and culture that without a doubt is an integral part of the United States.”
Also in the White House audience was Sophie Cruz, the little Mexican-American girl who hugged and kissed Pope Francis after approaching his motorcade to deliver a letter during last fall's papal visit to the United States.
Cruz was born in California but her parents could not accompany her because they are not in the country legally and so could not pass background security checks. Instead, they hugged her goodbye outside the White House gates, according to the Washington Post.
“Sophie Cruz . . . has been a champion for immigration reform,” the White House said in a statement. “We are pleased that she will have the opportunity to visit the White House.”
San Antonio chef Johnny Hernández will prepare several typical dishes of Mexican cuisine.
Hernández studied gastronomy at the Culinary Institute of America in New York and has worked in various states, such as Las Vegas, California and Texas.