Groundbreaking for New U.S. Consulate in Tijuana, Mexico

Published 19 April 08 01:15 PM

Media 040708 Garza-Tijuana

Monday, April 7, 2008



Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Antonio Garza


Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico – Ron, thank you for that introduction, and for inviting me to be part of an event that shows just how important the border is to our two countries.


I especially want to express thanks for the support of Governor Jose Guadalupe Osuna Millan, whom I first met shortly after he was elected. Since then, it was clear to me that he had a great vision for this region.


I also want to thank Jorge Ramos Hernandez, Mayor of Tijuana, for being here. I’d also like to welcome all the mayors who are with us today.


And I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude to all law enforcement agents who put their lives on the line each day, especially to Municipal Public Security Secretary Alberto Capella.


As some of you may know, I am from the border myself, and although my home is well over a thousand miles east of here, I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that I know what it is like to live in this land.


And I’ll tell you the truth, I believe that one of the biggest challenges of my job – and sometimes one of the most frustrating aspects of it - has been to try to bring the reality and the message of the border to Mexico City and to Washington, D.C.


The good news is, at last they are listening to us.


While the big policy themes are formulated and hammered out in Washington and Mexico, it is on the border where policies face reality and where they often have their biggest impact. Whether the issue is immigration, water, commerce, law enforcement or border security, if you really want to understand, you have to come to Tijuana….


It is impossible to stand in this spot, where a new Consulate building will soon begin to rise, and not be struck by the importance of this area for our economies and ways of life.


I could speak of millions of dollars of commercial trade, of all of vehicles that cross the border, and the jobs they create … but this is where the statistics – impressive as they are – fall short.


Numbers alone will never be able to show just how intricately linked we are in border communities. People have family members on both sides of the border. Some work in one country and live in the other. You turn on the television here and see a Spanish language program broadcast from San Diego or listen to your favorite English-language radio show…coming from Tijuana. People and families flow back and forth; something which has been positive throughout our history….


But that doesn’t mean we are not aware of a reality that concerns us….


Like so many of you, I have seen violence related to narco-trafficking spread. I have also seen law enforcement officers who protect us become victims of the drug cartels that operate in both our countries.


Like so many of you, I have heard the concerns of everyday Mexicans from all across the country, concerns about their security, their communities, and the safety of their children.


But I've also seen both the Mexican and the U.S. governments, steadfast and courageous in their commitments to fighting those who threaten our societies. They have set new records in the volume of seizures, both cash and cocaine, and more drug kingpins have been extradited than ever before.


And we know that the commitment is not only at the federal level. Ron tells me that these first months have made it clear that Governor Osuna’s administration is committed to restoring order and battling organized crime.


State and local level law enforcement agencies along the border have forged important binational relationships. Because, if we do not share the responsibility and blame each other, only the criminals win.


The construction of this new Consulate is a sign of just how important the bilateral relationship is. We are constructing this building for the future, a common future, that we share each day more, something we have done for centuries and will continue doing forever.


I would like to end this speech as I always do, by simply asking that God bless both the United States and Mexico, and today particularly, this region that unites us.



Speech (as prepared) by U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Antonio O. Garza, Jr.; United States Embassy, Mexico, April 3, 2008.


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