Once more I welcome all of you to the Mexican Cultural Institute, this little piece of Mexico in Washington D.C. and the center of our cultural diplomacy in this nation’s capital.
I’ve had the honor and the privilege of serving as Mexico’s Ambassador to the United States for the past two years.
I assumed this appointment fully aware of the responsibility that it entails, and convinced that our nations can and should maintain a positive and respectful relationship, one that works for both sides.
I want to thank President Enrique Peña Nieto and Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray Caso for the opportunity to serve my country and for placing their trust on me.
My tenure has been guided by the conviction that Mexico and the United States should always endeavor to find common ground as we meet shared challenges and work to solve differences between us.
I am also convinced that, as Mexico pursues these objectives, it should do so as a sovereign nation, with common sense and never under any circumstance, against our national interest or dignity.
Perhaps some of you heard me referred to the difficult crossroads our bilateral relationship faced at the beginning of 2017, one that could derail it, or that could help us establish the foundations for a new and more mature relationship.
I sincerely believe that because of the efforts of many people –on both sides– the latter scenario is today more likely than not.
In a very difficult context, we have successfully concluded negotiations of the United States, Mexico Canada Agreement or USMCA, which brings certainty to our trade and investment relations.
This agreement is positive for Mexico, the United States and the North American region.
It is difficult to imagine a new relationship without the certainty of a new agreement.
We also continued, and, in some areas improved, our cooperation on security, law enforcement and immigration. Here, there are many issues pending and surely neither side can be satisfied with the present status quo.
This is why we should value the fact that, during this time, we have opened space to recognize and work on our differences –some of them quite important– while not loosing sight of our long-term strategic objectives. I this sense, I believe, we are indeed constructing a more mature bilateral relationship.
One very positive recent change is that many individuals in the United States from civil society, the private sector, state and local governments, Congress and President’s Trump Administration, that understand the value of the relationship, have gone out of their way to advocate in its favor. I am grateful to all of them.
We can never do enough to inform the general public on both countries what is at stake, what this relationship is about and what is not; and to convince that a strong and successful Mexico is in the interest of the United States as much as a successful United States is in the interest of Mexico.
Many people deserve recognition for what has been achieved, too many to named them all. But I do want the time to thank all the extraordinary team at the Mexican Embassy for their work, support, guidance and friendship.
The Embassy will remain in good hands with Ambassador Zabalgoitia. Thank you, Jose Antonio.
My recognition to Mexico’s foreign career service. Our country is fortunate to have you.
I want to express my gratitude to my counterparts in the United States government for engaging in frank, respectful and constructive dialogue.
It has also been a true pleasure to work with other Embassies in areas of mutual interest, especially with our good friends from the Latin America and Canada.
Last but not least, I am grateful to my wife, Irasema, the boys Geronimo and Rodrigo and to my dear Ximena. Thank you for being here, for caring and for making many of the Embassy’s tasks your own. You make it worth it.
During the past five months, a very constructive transition has taken place with the incoming government. This can only benefit Mexico and the bilateral relationship.
As you all know, President Elect Lopez Obrador has decided to designate Martha Barcena, as Mexico ‘s new ambassador. I have known Ambassador Barcena for many years, her work, dedication and professionalism.
Allow me to welcome her on behalf of all the Embassy. I have no doubt she will serve as an excellent representative for our country.
An ambassador must naturally seek to promote his country’s interests, but must also strive to truly understand those of the country in which he serves. It is only in this way that we can find the common ground, the shared interests and the joint future.
One of the greatest satisfactions I’ve had during this past 15 years, has been working –with many people like you– to strengthen the ties between Mexico and the United States. I am really grateful for this opportunity.
As a new government takes office in Mexico starting December 1st, I will close this professional cycle, but continue advocating in favor a strong relationship between our countries.
Allow me to close, with the words of Matias Romero, first Mexican Ambassador to the United States:
“Nature has placed both of our countries in the same continent, one next to the other, with a large territorial extension, with wide coastlines washed by the same seas, and has given to each one the productions needed by the other. This shows, in my opinion, that both nations, despite being populated by different races, are destined to foster friendly relations, to develop great commerce between them, and to contribute together and as an example to the progress and civilization of the American Continent”.
Than you very much.