Monday, January 21, 2013



Note: Locals will get the chuckle out of the "allegations" line.

Lawmakers: Ambassador signals new era for Mexico, U.S.
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013 1:15 pm
Julián Aguilar | The Texas Tribune

Texas lawmakers and the United States' former top diplomat in Mexico
are praising the recent appointment of Eduardo Medina Mora as
Mexico's new ambassador to the U.S.
Despite Medina Mora's being the former director of agencies mired in
controversy, Republicans and Democrats say his appointment affords
them an opportunity to forge a new relationship with Mexico as it
continues to grapple with drug cartel violence following the
inauguration last month of President Enrique Peña Nieto.
An attorney and adviser to the Mexican government during its
negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement, Medina Mora
also served as the director of Mexico's national security agency, the
Secretaria de Seguridad Publica (SSP), under former President Vicente
Fox and served as attorney general from 2006 to 2009 under President
Felipe Calderón. Both Fox and Calderón were members of the
conservative National Action Party, or PAN, which lost power when the
Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, took over in December as
Peña Nieto took his oath of office. The SSP was dismantled shortly
afterward as a part of the president's new strategy to fight crime in
that country.
Medina Mora officially presented his credentials to the White House
and President Obama on Monday after the Mexican Congress approved his
"Our future economic growth and prosperity will increasingly hinge in
our ability to work together to enhance trade, strengthen our
competitiveness and effectively manage our border," Obama said in a
statement released by the Mexican Embassy in Washington.
The Mexican government has long been accused of corruption, even at
its highest levels. But U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, who
chairs the powerful House Committee on Homeland Security, said he
thought the appointment is ideal and sends a resounding message that
Mexico is willing to cooperate with its neighbor.
"I know there have been controversies regarding the SSP and some of
the corruption there, but I don't attribute that to Mora's watch," he
said. "I think that personally, this is an excellent pick."
Before the July 1 election, McCaul openly questioned whether the PRI
would return to the ways of the last century, when its 71-year rule
was tarred with allegations of deal-making, corruption and cronyism.
He said Medina Mora's appointment signals a new PRI that recognizes
the assets the government had during the opposing party's 12-year rule.
"I was a bit of a skeptic in the beginning," he said. "Our ambassador
told us, 'Wait and see who they appoint to see what directions this
administration is going to take,' and I have to tell you, I have been
pleasantly surprised."
He said that under Calderón, Mexico extradited a record number of
alleged criminals and he is hopeful the trend would continue under
Peña Nieto.
Antonio "Tony" Garza, a South Texas native and the former U.S.
ambassador to Mexico under President George W. Bush, characterized
Medina Mora as a friend. He said his work in the private sector would
only serve to boost this country's trade relationship with Mexico.
Through the first 11 months of 2012, the countries traded more than
$457 billion in goods, with the ports of Laredo and El Paso being the
No. 1 and No. 2 trading destinations, respectively.
"Having served both as Mexico's director of intelligence and later,
attorney general, he's got a keen understanding of the security
issues, and his business background will be invaluable on the trade
and commerce side," Garza said. "That, and given his grandmother's
from Waco, I like to tell him he's practically a Texan."
U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, made funding for land ports a
major part of his campaign to unseat veteran lawmaker Silvestre
Reyes. He said Medina Mora's recent comments about infrastructure
improvements bodes well for border communities.
"I think that is good for both Mexico and the U.S. at large,"
O'Rourke said. "I am optimistic that he'll be a great partner for us,
and I look forward to working with him."
Asked about Mexico's reputation worldwide as a country that
investigates few crimes and prosecutes even fewer criminals — and
whether that blame should be placed with the attorney general —
O'Rourke said it was time to move on.
"There's not much I can do about that, I just have to look forward
and not back," he said. "In his current role, we have a potential
partner and ally in strengthening the institutions on the border and
helping communities like the one I represent."

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