Remarks by U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson at the 241st Anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America
Mexico City, June 29th, 2017 – “Welcome, all of you to the commemoration of the 241st anniversary of the Independence of the United States! I want to express my appreciation to all of you, distinguished guests for joining us in our national holiday. I would like to particularly thank Attorney General Cervantes, Governor Garcia Cabeza de Vaca, and other distinguished guests who are here with us tonight. Undersecretary Carlos Sara and many of our counterparts from federal, state and municipal agencies. I also want to thank our colleagues from the media.
“Every year we celebrate our Independence to remind ourselves of the extraordinary principles upon which our country was founded: that we all have the inalienable right to live under a democracy, in freedom and with the right to pursue whatever makes us happy. Today, more than ever, we reaffirm these key principles to guarantee prosperity and security not only of us, Americans, but also of every human being in the world.
“I had just very recently arrived when we had this celebration last year. I still had traces of my Argentinian accent, and I still did not know the difference between tequila anejo and a reposado. And what a year this has been! I have had the opportunity to visit sixteen states, in addition to Mexico City, and to get to know the leaders in government and in civil society. I have met with dozens of governors, mayors, senators and congressmen, and of course the members of the cabinet and the administration. I have also met with the families of the missing persons in Veracruz, with the law enforcement agents and military who give their lives and souls to attempt to control crime, and I want to recognize Admiral Ortega Siu who is with us tonight, and the Air Force chief Mugia, who is also with us, with the activists who are pushing for more transparency in Mexico, with leaders of the LGBT community, with representatives of political parties, with those who fight for transparency, with students, artists and with a number of U.S. and Mexican business people who have done so much to strengthen and link our economies.
“This year has also been full of surprises, tests and challenges. In the last few months we have frankly gone through difficult moments. At the same time, however, we have been witness to the maturity, fortitude and diversity of our bilateral relationship. This is a firm relationship because it stands on dozens of pillars that support it in difficult times. Our governments have also helped to maintain and strengthen our bilateral relationship. Both countries, for instance, worked along with Canada to build the North American Free Trade Agreement which has bought benefits to the three nations by expanding our trade, integrating our economies and making North America the most competitive region in the world. We welcome the willingness of the Mexican government to renegotiate and modernize this agreement in order to maintain the competitiveness of our region in the dynamic economy of the 21st century.
“In addition to the good relations at the government level, both our societies keep the relationship in constant and well-nourished flux. Our academic institutions engage in a constant dialogue. Knowledge is enriched through academic exchanges and joint research. Last October, nine UNAM students from the School of Engineering won the Hans Von Mulau award for the best teamwork in the 2016 Sample Return Robot Challenge sponsored by NASA and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute of Massachusetts. They developed a prototype rover to explore the Mars surface. They not only brought honor to Mexico’s name, but they also contributed to generate knowledge and technology. NASA benefited from the contribution of these Mexican students.
“The alliances among our universities continue to grow. We want more Mexican students in our universities and more American students here.
“Every time I go into Facebook or Twitter, and every time I meet young people, I am fascinated by the cultural influence that goes both ways, particularly along our common border. How many of you hold dual citizenship? I believe the Steelers have more fans in Mexico than among the Pittsburgh population of 305,000. And virtually everyone in Mexico is up to date with the most popular U.S. TV series. Did you know that we drink more tequila than you do? Yes! The United States is the top consumer of tequila in the world.
“It is a great honor for me to represent my country in Mexico. When I got here, I pledged to get to know as much as I could of this beautiful and fascinating country. I wanted to listen not only to the very important voices of the capital city, but also to the equally important voices of the rest of the country. Only by doing so, by listening to Mexicans from all across the spectrum—students, journalists, businessmen, politicians, indigenous people, teachers, social advocates—can I begin to understand my work and become a true mediator.
“In early 2017 I visited Merida, Morelos and Oaxaca. This was indeed a warm way to begin the new year. I met exemplary women—magistrates, attorneys general, directors of justice centers, activists and community radio representatives. All of them are great examples because of their dedication and commitment to public life and democracy.
“I have had the privilege of visiting the border in Baja California, Tamaulipas and Sonora. As a matter of fact my very first trip was to Sonora where I met Claudia Pavlovich, the only female governor in the country. I was able to meet with scholars from the “Jóvenes en Acción” program who are fighting sex violence, and are raising awareness about harassment. I have met with businesswomen and with local representatives of the maquila industry. I was overwhelmed by the dynamics of the border region which is a true dynamo for the whole region. And I also had the privilege to inaugurate the pedestrian crossing point in San Ysidro that responds to the vibrant momentum and constant flow of our citizens.
“I also participated in the inauguration of an innovative concept in Nogales, Arizona, where Customs and Border Protection and Mexico’s Servicio de Administración Tributaria carry out south-bound cargo inspections. By doing so, they expedite the cargo shipments from the U.S. to Mexico while countering arms and money smuggling. I also had the very exciting opportunity of using the Cross Border Xpress bridge between San Diego and Tijuana’s International Airport. It is the only border crossing point leading to an international airport in the world. All these projects not only promote closer ties along the border region, but are also a token of our mutual integration and trust.
“Thanks to every single trip I have gained valuable and deeper insight into the mosaic of histories and cultures that make up Mexico.
“I have said it before and I will say it again: the United States could not be more fortunate to have Mexico as a neighbor. Mexico has progressed impressively to modernize and open its economy to new investments, to innovation and technologies through the many economic reforms that it has implemented in recent years. Just to name one, the energy reform has resulted in 49 contracts with local and foreign companies that have committed $57 billion in new investments in the coming years. We are proud that many of these companies are American. These projects will increase energy production, will enhance energy competitiveness, will benefit consumers and will reinforce North America’s energy security.
“I am proud to say that Mexico has increasingly played a role of leadership in the international sphere. Not only was it just the host of the OAS General Assembly, but it has spoken forcefully to demand respect for human rights and to speak against the undermining of democracy in Venezuela. It has also not remained silent in the face of atrocities in Syria or the senseless actions by North Korea.
“I would like to end my remarks by clearly stating how proud I am to host people like you in my home – people who make it possible for the United States and Mexico to continue walking side by side, jointly with respect, and always willing to help each other, to cooperate, to share our experiences and to promote prosperity and democracy both within our countries and in our hemisphere. We could not ask for a better partner than you, Mexicans, to walk alongside us in such an important and transcendent pathway.
“Long live Mexico! And Long live the United States of America!
“Thank you so much. Please enjoy.”