Washington, D.C. Sep 15, 2016

Distinguished guests, dear friends of Mexico,

Thank you for joining us here to celebrate the 206th Anniversary of Mexico’s Independence.

Our National Day is a moment when Mexicans take pride in the splendid historical and cultural heritage of our country: the ancient civilizations that flourished in our territory, the magnificent architectural jewels from colonial times, and the richness of our contemporary creativity.

September 15th is the most important day for Mexicans. Today, we take a moment to think of the struggles that gave birth to our country and recognize the constant efforts of all Mexicans to fulfill the potential of our great Nation.

This year, Mexico’s vibrant democracy celebrates its full conversion to a new oral criminal justice system. This, together with the 11 Constitutional reforms passed by Congress in the last few years, as well as a new anticorruption system, will help modernize the country, making it more just, transparent and competitive.

Reforms to education, telecommunications, finance, labor, and energy, among others, reinforce the legal framework that will open more opportunities for growth and investment. These reforms are also strengthening the rule of law and allowing us to better face our challenges in terms of social justice, human rights, peace and security.

As a NAFTA partner for the past 22 years, Mexico has without a doubt achieved impressive growth of its exports economy, developing new sectors and more efficient infrastructure.  Our economies now share integrated supply and production chains, and we are capitalizing on our complementarity.

 As we all know, the three leaders of North America met in Canada a couple months ago and reaffirmed their willingness to do everything it takes to ensure we maintain our position as the most important and competitive trade bloc in the world. Our future is linked. Together we are stronger.

Mexico is the United States’ second-largest export market and its third-largest trading partner, with more than 500 billion dollars of bilateral trade per year. Six million jobs in this country depend on trade with Mexico. Our bilateral relations are strong, based on mature and constant dialogue and cooperation, resulting from the efforts that of all of you and the institutions you represent make every day. We must continue working together to face our many common challenges.

The Mexican Community; 11 million Mexican-born immigrants living in the US along with 25 million Mexican-Americans, contribute to the well-being of this great nation every day through their hard work, entrepreneurial skills and family values.

The Government of Mexico reiterates its commitment to work with them, along with American institutions and citizens, in order to protect their rights and interests. We will help empower them in their quest to reach and fully live the American dream. It offends us when they are vilified, and we will continue raising our voices to defend their dignity. These immigrants are not the problem. They are part of the solution, and an integral part of what makes this country great.

We are here to commemorate the day in 1810 when the father of Mexico´s Independence, the priest Miguel Hidalgo, gave the “cry of independence” from his church´s balcony in his town of Dolores, in Guanajuato, inviting his fellow citizens to rebel against their Spanish rulers.

Every year, on the eve of September 15th, the President, the Governors of the 32 states, the Mayors of all cities and towns, as well as Mexican Ambassadors and Consuls throughout the world, re-enact Father Hidalgo´s cry, remembering the heroes of the Mexican War of Independence. The Cry, or “Grito”, is followed by the Mexican National anthem.

It is Mexico’s most important popular festivity and civic ritual, and one which we are now about to begin.

Thank you for joining us on this important day for all Mexicans.