In the early 1960 a small group of the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce leaders gathered to discuss a method of developing and implementing a project that would promote relations between the United States and Mexico. This method would also publicize the international way of life in the border cities of Brownsville and Matamoros. The concept of the project was to encompass a "tie-in" with Mexico and would include an extensive publicity campaign to benefit the area. The Chamber of Commerce Bienvenidos Committee was selected to serve as the liaison of the project. The knowledge of many individuals such as: Fausto Yturria, Jr., and the late Bat Corrigan, Eugene S. Hurt, Glen Herman, Dave Cooper, Chano Hinojosa, Steve Bosio and Bill Rudd, contributed significantly to the fruition of the project.
An understanding of Mexico and discussions by the leaders led to the concept of recognizing a Mexican citizen who had contributed to the friendship of the United States and Mexico. The Mexican citizen was designated as "Mr. Amigo." The Mr. Amigo Association was incorporated in early 1964. The first Mr. Amigo celebration was held on October 12, 1964 at the Fort Brown Memorial Center and honored former President of Mexico, Lic. Miguel Aleman.
The Mr. Amigo Association realized that the Charro Days Fiesta, with the various parades, costume balls and large crowds provided the proper atmosphere to promote and recognize the Mr. Amigo honoree. Lic. Jorge Perez y Bouras was the first Mr. Amigo honoree to be recognized during the Charro Days Fiesta in1969. The Mr. Amigo celebrations continue to be an integral part of the Charro Days festivities.
Mr. Raul Velasco, another Mr. Amigo honoree, has given the Mr. Amigo Association worldwide recognition over the years through the "Siempre en Domingo" television program. Similar celebrations now exist in other cities, but Brownsville can proudly claim to be the first to create and accomplish such a unique celebration. The Mr. Amigo celebration includes an extensive publicity campaign which awards the respective honoree and allows the City of Brownsville the opportunity to shine.
At the beginning of NAFTA'S negotiations in 1988-1989, Congressman Solomon Ortiz presented the Mr. Amigo Association with the Mr. Amigo Review Award for the distinction of being one of the first organizations to extend friendship and mutual understanding between the United States and Mexico. The Mr. Amigo Review Award remains on exhibit at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. as a model of International Friendship.