New US Ambassador to Mexico Arrives to Take up Post

5/26/16 ABC News

Roberta_S_JacobsonRoberta Jacobson arrived to assume her new role as the United States ambassador to Mexico on Thursday, coming at a time when immigration and Mexican trade have been heated themes in the U.S. presidential campaign.

Considered among the U.S. diplomats most knowledgeable about the region, Jacobson said in briefs remarks in Spanish upon her arrival that she was excited and confident there would be “excellent communication” between the U.S. and Mexico.

“I have the intention to travel far and wide in Mexico to get to know the unique attributes of each region and to be able to listen to Mexicans in person,” she said.

Antonio Garza, U.S. ambassador to Mexico in 2002-2009, called Jacobson “an extraordinarily able diplomat” and “the best of a generation when it comes to Latin America.”

In terms of the binational themes getting traction in the U.S. election campaign, Garza said, “I think her position is largely going to be somewhat neutral but to comment as factually as possible on the assertions that the candidates might make.”

Donald Trump, who on Thursday reached the number of delegates necessary to clinch the Republican presidential nomination, has infuriated many in Mexico by accusing Mexican migrants of being “rapists” and by promising to make Mexico pay for a larger border wall.

In an effort to emphasize the contributions that Mexican immigrants make in the U.S., Mexico’s government recently named a new ambassador to Washington.

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Will tensions over security spoil the Obama-Peña Nieto Summit?

obama_nieto_featureAULA Blog, 4/16/13

The meeting in December between recently re-elected President Barack Obama and President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto was marked by cordiality and a desire to talk about anything but the often grisly drug-related violence in Mexico during the previous six years.  Since then, Peña Nieto has continued the changed emphasis, aided by headlines pivoting to positive stories.  Mexico has been recently hailed for its economic growth, particularly in export-oriented manufacturing, and for a series of political compromises that The Washington Post favorably compared with the U.S. Congressional stalemate.

Despite optimistic claims from the government, Mexican media reports indicate that drug-related violence continues at nearly the same pace as last year.  (Click here for a summary and analysis by our colleagues at InSight Crime.)  Moreover, pressure is growing on questions of human rights violations committed in the name of the war on drugs.  When Presidents Peña Nieto and Obama meet again in early May, holding back a renewed focus on security is likely to be a challenge.

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Obama plans to visit Mexico and Costa Rica

Barack ObamaLos Angeles Times, 3/27/13

President Obama is scheduled to travel to Mexico and Costa Rica in early May to push for stronger economic ties, the White House announced Wednesday.In trip scheduled for May 2-4, Obama will meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who was elected last year and took office in December. He last met with Obama at the White House in November.

From there, Obama will head to Costa Rica, where President Laura Chinchilla will host a meeting of several Central American leaders. The White House did not release a list of the participating countries or a detailed description of the agenda. The visit will come as Congress is expected to begin debate on immigration legislation. Obama said he hoped the visit would strengthen cooperation on a variety of issues.

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