It seems like it was just yesterday that I first came to Boise as consul of Mexico, but my mission here has now come to an end. I have been transferred to a new position as consul in McAllen, Texas, and I am ready to serve my country there with the same passion and commitment. As a member of the foreign service of my country, I am used to moving frequently and I have always tried to avoid putting down deep roots, to prevent myself from feeling like I am leaving yet another home.
However, this was not the case in Idaho, a state that I came to know first using a map and then through its marvelous people and its beautiful landscapes. I arrived in June 2013, committed to advancing Mexico and Mexicans’ interests here, and fostering and enriching our already promising relationship.
Since the opening of the Consulate of Mexico in Boise in 2008, the government of Mexico has worked to reaffirm the role of the consulate as a trustworthy partner of regional, state, local and federal governments in addressing common challenges, since both sides benefit from fruitful interactions between Mexico and Idaho. Close to 200,000 people of Mexican origin live and work in Idaho, where they contribute to the well-being and prosperity of the state.
In addition to the traditional consular agenda, which is already very demanding, and having in mind that Mexico is the 14th largest economy in the world and the third-largest supplier of goods to the United States, we have worked to take advantage of the important opportunities brought by President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration, especially those that are the result of deep structural reforms in the oil industry, energy, telecommunications, labor, governmental accountability, economy, education, and finance. This work also had to do with showcasing my country as an attractive destination for foreign investment, considering, for example, that one out of every 10 light vehicles sold in this country is made in Mexico, and that we are the No. 1 supplier of fruits and vegetables to the United States. In that sense, Gov. Butch Otter visited Mexico this week to explore further trade and investment opportunities for companies on both sides of the border.
Idaho offered Mexico a regional platform to put the initiatives that frame the bilateral relationship with the United States into action. We emphasized the common goal of advancing a region of knowledge in North America through the Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation and Research (FOBESII). As a result, last summer Idaho State University and Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez (UACJ) signed an ambitious memorandum of understanding that fosters academic exchanges and offers ISU students in medicine the chance to develop professional skills through practice in Mexico, while students from UACJ travel to ISU to perfect their skills in English.
Today, following the same path, we are building connections between the University of Idaho and the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, and between Boise State University and the Sistema Tecnológico de Monterrey. I am sure that these kinds of initiatives will help Mexico and the United States increase their competitiveness in today’s globalized economy.
We have also been working closely with government authorities and with many people and organizations to bring the best of Mexico to Idaho. As one of the top 10 tourist destinations of the world, Mexico offers its original culture and strong identity as a way of strengthening bonds of friendship, but also in order to be better known and better understood as a responsible global player. In this vein, we had the pleasure of presenting several world-renowned Mexican artists to Idaho audiences. The same happened when a delegation from the city of Metepec, state of Mexico, headed by its mayor, came to Boise last summer to sign a declaration of friendship. This delegation brought a beautiful handcrafted “árbol de la vida” (tree of life), specially made for the city of Boise, which is now displayed in the airport as an expression of goodwill and cooperation readiness.
Many other things were done to benefit the ever-growing relationship between Mexico and Idaho. In February 2014, I had the opportunity to address the Idaho Legislature, where I spoke about the importance of our cooperation and the role of consular diplomacy as a valuable tool for strengthening the already promising bonds between the people and governments of Mexico and this state.
I am confident that in the coming years the important relationship between Idaho and Mexico will continue to grow in many areas. I am also sure that the work that has been done by the consulate in Boise, since its opening, is having a positive effect on Idahoans’ perceptions about my country, and the intensity and significance of the exchanges between Mexico and the United States.
The work that we have been doing will be continued by my successor, Celso Humberto Delgado Ramirez, to increase the opportunities of cooperation between Mexico and Idaho to benefit both of our countries. I am also sure that my successor, who has a long-standing political trajectory as former governor of the state of Nayarit, senator, consul general in Montreal and ambassador in Argentina, Cuba, Algeria and Egypt, will serve an extraordinary consul and will continue to work closely with Idaho to consolidate our interactions and deepen our ties.
Thank you, Idaho!
Guillermo Ordorica is the outgoing consul of Mexico to Idaho.