Jan 7, 2012

U.S.-Mexico Relations: Mexican ambassador will seek to shield realtionship with the U.S.during the upcoming election season

An interview with Mexico's ambassador to the U.S. regarding the parallel election seasons in the two countries and the issues that will continue to be important regardless of the outcome. Translated by MexicoBlog

La Jornada: Mexico's ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan, predicted complex months ahead in Mexico and the United States with their coming elections, and announced he will seek to shield the bilateral relationship to avoid it being contaminated by the political and electoral debate.

"We are crossing our fingers that the political environment in the United States beginning in 2013 will allow an objective debate, with rational and forward thinking regarding the importance played by migration to the social and economic welfare of both nations," he said during a break of the annual meeting of Mexican ambassadors and consuls which concluded yesterday.

Faced with possible changes of the party in power in either country, he replied: "I have no crystal ball. I do not know what will happen neither here nor there, I can't get ahead of events. The only thing that I want to say is obviously one of the tasks to which we are dedicated in these complex months, in which we have two simultaneous processes of electioneering, is that we seek, first, to shield the bilateral relationship so as not to contaminate it as a result of the political-electoral discussion that is going on on both sides of the border.

As a second point, we must ensure that whatever the election results in both countries, the bilateral agenda is built on progress already made on issues ranging from trade to border infrastructure.

The ambassador also insisted that Mexico has had zero tolerance for hate crimes against Mexican communities in the U.S., and the government has been very successful in joining litigation against state laws that have been enacted in Arizona, Utah, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia.

He said that both governments have built the largest possible number of dikes to contain or bring down the most harmful of these laws, but made clear that the Mexican embassy ought to be careful (acting in the U.S.) for the same reasons that a foreign government in Mexico has natural limits to its diplomatic action.

Acting as a friend of the court to support litigation by U.S. organizations has been an effective, innovative tool and it will continue to be used to ensure the protection of Mexican communities and that their rights and immigration status are not violated.

Asked if there was any involvement by any Mexican authoritiy in the controversial operation, Fast and Furious, which allowed the illegal sale of 2,500 weapons to Mexican cartels, he said: "It has been said over and over again: there was no role, nor was anyone notified." No one in the government knows the results of investigations conducted by the Department of Justice, which will be announced at the next hearing in the U.S. Congress scheduled for February 2, he said.

He also recognized important advances by the government of Barack Obama in the fight against arms trafficking which has given organized crime in Mexico its overwhelming firepower in recent years. He mentioned that, for the first time, upon the request of the Mexican government,  the U.S. has set the requirement that arms dealers in the four border states are obligated to report to the Justice Department multiple or repeated sale of semiautomatic or automatic assault weapons.

The regulation of weapons is political issue that is difficult to deal with in the United States, especially in an election year, as there is a deep ideological divide with which the government has to struggle, he stated." Spanish original

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