MCALLEN, RGV – Mexico’s consul in McAllen, Eduardo Bernal Martínez, has announced two upcoming events involving the Rio Grande Valley’s international ports of entry and the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The Consulate’s Office will host a meeting in McAllen to discuss the state of the local international bridges in late February. In late March it will hold a one-day summit in Mission to discuss the importance of NAFTA.
“We want to have a constructive dialogue on these two important issues,” Bernal told the Rio Grande Guardian.
“At the end of February, we are going to have a meeting about our international bridges, to discuss infrastructure and how the bridges are performing. Then, at the end of March, we are going to have another bi-lateral meeting about NAFTA. We are going to bring together members of Congress from Mexico and the United States, mayors, chamber of commerce leaders, and other leaders who are interested in NAFTA. It is going to a one-day event and afterwards we are going to make a statement. We are going to call the Statement of the Valle of the Rio Grande.”
Asked to elaborate on bridge infrastructure event, Bernal said: “The relationship between Mexico and the United States is very important. These meetings can foster better economic opportunities. With regard to the bridges, the mayor of Mission, Beto Salinas, is interested in developing a bridge at Madero. We want to help with that. If our bridges are working efficiently, it helps the economies of both countries and our border region.”
Asked to elaborate on the NAFTA event, Bernal said: Nafta: “We hope President Trump understands that Texas accounts for 40 percent of the commerce that takes place between the United States and Mexico. The economy of Texas depends on good relations between the United States and Mexico. People are making statements on their own about NAFTA, this Chamber is saying something, that city is saying something. I want for all of us to make one united statement on the importance of NAFTA. We are going to have a good agreement.”
Bernal also said the Mexican Consulate’s office will also be participating in the City of Edinburg’s Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
“We are trying to get to all the local cities, we are not just the Consul of McAllen. It has to be Hidalgo, Edinburg, and Mission, all the cities. We want to have healthcare festivals, to help our community understand how to pay their taxes. As Consul, you cannot stay in your office all day dealing with passports or matriculas. You have to go out of the office to help the people.”
An attorney at law, Eduardo Guadalupe Bernal Martínez was licensed by the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM). He was appointed as Consul of Mexico in McAllen, Texas, on Aug. 31, 2017, taking office on Nov. 14, 2017. His mission as Consul is to protect and provide assistance to Mexican nationals living in the counties of Starr, Hidalgo and Brooks.
Bernal has held several positions as an elected official. In 1990 he was voted a District Representative, in 1997 a State Representative, and, from 1994 to 1996, a Mayor. He also served as Undersecretary of Secretary of State of Mexico in 2000. He worked for the Attorney General’s Justice Office for the State of México in 2001. He has also participated as coordinator for Justice System of Tijuana, Baja California. From 2009 to 2011 he was Coordinator of Cabinet Affairs in the LXI legislative term of House of Representatives.
Bernal was born on Dec. 12, 1954, in Mexico City and he graduated from Law School of the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM).
McAllen Mayor Jim Darling welcomed Bernal to the Rio Grande Valley at an RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce reception recently.
“The Consul’s office plays an integral part in making sure we reach across the River to enjoy the friendships and relationships we have. We appreciate the energy the Consul has shown since he has been here. We are looking forward to working with him. It is going to be a great relationship,” Darling said.
South Texas College
One of the first public events, Bernal participated in was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with South Texas College. STC and the Consulate of Mexico in McAllen formalized an official Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior (Institute for Mexicans Abroad) Becas MOU that officials believe will lay the foundation for a partnership seeking to increase the educational attainment level of Mexicans or persons of Mexican origin living in the US. Under the MOU, the Mexican Consulate’s Office provides $6,174 dollars to provide scholarships to qualifying students.
In attendance with Bernal were South Texas Council President Shirley A. Reed, Rita Garza, director of research operations at UT-Rio Grande Valley, and Griselda Castilla, assistant vice president for Strategic Enrollment at UTRGV.
Reed said the scholarships are being funded by the Mexican government, and the Mexican Foreign Ministry.
“I just want to say how pleased South Texas College is to have this opportunity to work with Mexico,” Reed said. “By providing modest scholarships to Mexican nationals or others who have joined us from Mexico, we make a tremendous difference in the life of a student, their families and really future generations of these students. This is an investment from Mexico, and this is a partnership with South Texas College and UTRGV to really help our neighbors get a college education and have a better life right here.”
Bernal said: “This is an investment in favor of immigrants and the education of young people, so they can learn and obtain opportunities in this country.”
Editor’s Note: The Rio Grande Guardian will have a one-hour livestream conversation on Facebook with Mexican Consul Eduardo Bernal Martínez on Wednesday, Feb. 14, starting at 11 a.m.