MCALLEN, RGV – U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez have spoken about their attendance of the inauguration of Mexico’s new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
The two South Texas congressmen were part of a large delegation of U.S. dignitaries, headed by Vice President Mike Pence, to attend the event, which took place on Saturday, Dec. 1.
Also making the trip were U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Mike Lee, U.S. Reps. Michael McCaul and Sheila Jackson-Lee, and Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez.
Congressman Cuellar, D-Laredo, issued the following statement regarding the AMLO’s inauguration:
“It was an honor for me to have attended the inauguration of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. I am looking forward to working with President López Obrador and his administration on a variety of matters important to both countries.
“Mexico is one of our most important allies and we deeply value our relationship. For this reason, we must work with the President’s administration on issues that are essential to both countries including trade, security, drug trafficking, crime, legal immigration, and border infrastructure. I hope the new administration will continue addressing these issues in collaboration with the U.S. as it has in the past.
“During my visit to Mexico City, I had the opportunity of meeting with President López Obrador’s new cabinet, and high-level officials, including senators, congressman and the President of the House of Representatives Mario Delgado to discuss these collaborative efforts and we are looking forward to continue working closely with the Mexican government during this transition. I will continue working with my colleagues in Congress towards this goal by introducing bipartisan legislation that supports this partnership, such as the U.S.-Mexico Economic Partnership Act I introduced with Representative McCaul, which would foster educational and economic development opportunities with our friends from the southern border.
“I also hope that we continue working with the new president on security initiatives that promote the safety and well-being of our citizens in border towns and throughout our communities. Bilateral initiatives by Mexico and the U.S. are essential tools that enable both nations to address issues such as organized crime and drug trafficking.If we want to ensure both sides continue to thrive economically, we must work together.”
Congressman Gonzalez, D-McAllen, not only issued a statement but sent the new Mexican president a letter.
“This was a new day, and a new beginning, for Mexico and the entire Western Hemisphere,” Gonzalez said. “I congratulate President López Obrador and look forward to working with him to chart a new path forward in U.S. – Mexico relations.
“Central and South Texans can expect both governments to take concrete steps to increase border security, stabilize Central America, shorten wait times at our international bridges, raise food safety standards, reduce non-tariff trade barriers, improve supply chain security, and lower costs for consumers while ensuring trade that is equitable and just for all North Americans.”
In August, Gonzalez met with President López Obrador’s Chief of Staff, Mr. Alfonso Romo, with U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Congressman Ruben Kihuen of Nevada as part of a bipartisan delegation to discuss trade, border security, and methods to strengthen bilateral U.S.-Mexico relations.
With the transition from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Gonzalez said he is looking forward to discussing how the new Mexican Administration can “bolster local economies and open doors for communities in Central and South Texas.” The congressman plans to review the agreement as it makes its way toward approval in Congress.
Congressman Gonzalez also invited President López Obrador to visit the U.S. and the 15th District of Texas to continue discussions on matters that affect the U.S.-Mexico Border.
Gonzalez letter to AMLO
Here is Congressman Gonzalez’s letter:
December 1, 2018
Dear President Andrés Manuel López Obrador,
First and foremost, please accept my sincerest congratulations on the occasion of your inauguration. My colleagues, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, U.S. Congressman Ruben Kihuen, and I enjoyed meeting with your Chief of Staff, Mr. Alfonso Romo, this past August in Mexico City. It is clear that we have a mutual interest in seeing our countries thrive and in making the investments necessary to do so. As such, I would like to extend an invitation for you to visit the Rio Grande Valley now that you have been sworn in as President of Mexico.
As you know, NAFTA has transformed the Rio Grande Valley and northern Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Coahuila and Chihuahua, as well as many other states throughout Mexico. Trade between our great countries has tripled since the agreement came into effect in the mid-90s. Imports from NAFTA partners have increased 307% to $614 billion, and exports have increased 271% to $525 billion.
That aside, there are outstanding issues that remain unresolved, even in the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. While the trade pact does include important updates regarding rules of origin and labor standards, it fails to address insecurity along the border and throughout major highway corridors in Mexico that lead to the United States. This insecurity raises the cost of doing business and serves as barrier to free and fair trade. If we partner to stabilize the region, we can bring greater certainty to businesses, attract investment, and expand opportunity in South Texas and Northern Mexico. This is one of several areas in which I believe we can cooperate for the betterment of both countries and their people.
Having spent many summers of my young life in Monterrey, Nuevo León, with my mother’s family, and now living and representing the border, I am committed to strengthening the relationship between our two nations and opening doors for future generations on both sides of the border. I am confident that by working together we can achieve real results.
I look forward to welcoming you to the Rio Grande Valley and working together to advance collaboration between Mexico and the United States. I wish you a seamless transition in your first days as the 58th president of the United States of Mexico. Should you have any questions, or need more information about the visit, please contact my Chief of Staff, Jose Borjon.
Member of Congress
Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above story shows Andrés Manuel López Obrador and attendees raising their arms at Mexico’s 58th presidential inauguration.(Photo: Bloomberg)