A Celebration of US-Mexico Relations
By Humberto Galvan
December 4, 2013
San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro and former president of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo spoke on Monday, December 2nd at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington during a private dinner with the Inter-American Dialogue’s Board of Directors.
The dinner welcomed President Zedillo as the Dialogue’s Latin American co-chair. Held only days after the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement’s approval by the US Congress, the dinner also recognized the many strides made in US-Mexico relations over the past two decades and marked the first year of the Peña Nieto administration.
Mayor Castro, a rising star in the Democratic Party and a Dialogue member since July 2011, recognized the rich cultural, political, and geographic ties between the United States and Mexico. He also called for greater bilateral cooperation between the two countries and comprehensive immigration reform.
“Immigration reform will unleash the intelligence and potential of millions of people, Latino and non-Latino, alike. We live in a world in which brain power is the new currency of success. Cities that cultivate it will thrive,” said Mayor Castro.
Acknowledging the many advances made toward improved relations between the United States and the countries of Latin America, President Zedillo called on the hemisphere’s leaders to work together to find common solutions to the shared problems that face the region.
“We have overcome much but these are still trying times for Latin America, the United States, and Canada. There are many big questions about the future. We have to find answers. That is what the Inter-American Dialogue does,” said President Zedillo, who joined the Dialogue’s Board in 2008.
For the occasion, Pati Jinich, host of PBS’ Pati’s Mexican Table, created a special menu celebrating Mexico’s rich cuisine. “I believe in the power of food to connect cultures and countries. Through food, we can build bridges,” said Jinich.
Mexico’s Ambassador to the United States Eduardo Medina-Mora, Dialogue co-chair and former US trade representative Ambassador Carla A. Hills, Dialogue co-vice chair and former US special envoy to Latin America Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty, and Dialogue president Michael Shifter delivered opening remarks.
In addition to the Dialogue’s distinguished Board, a select group of high-level public and private leaders from the Americas joined the dinner.
The following morning, the Dialogue’s Board of Directors met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos moments before his White House meeting with US President Barack Obama. Santos, who had served as co-vice chair of the Dialogue’s Board, remains a member on leave. MORE
The Dialogue is thankful to Fundación Vidanta, Robert J. Abernethy, Coca-Cola de México, Hipódromo de las Américas, Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas), AMLA Consulting, Thomas F. McLarty III, and Brian O'Neil for their sponsorship of the dinner.