- REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Mexico’s government on Tuesday unexpectedly changed two of its top officials responsible for US relations, citing concerns about an increasingly anti-Mexican climate across the border.
“We have been warning that our citizens have begun to feel a more hostile climate,” Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu told local radio after the announcement.
“This (anti-Mexican) rhetoric has made it clear that we have to act in a different way so that this tendency being generated doesn’t damage the bilateral relationship,” she added.
Carlos Sada, previously the consul in Los Angeles, was named ambassador to the US, while Paulo Carreno, one of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s communications chiefs, was appointed the deputy foreign minister for North America.
Sada, who has held diplomatic posts in New York, Chicago, San Antonio, and Toronto, has “broad experience in consular work and in the protection of the rights of Mexicans in North America,” the Mexican Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The new ambassador must still be approved by the Mexican Senate.
Mexican government officials have expressed concern about the rise of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump because of his repeated verbal attacks on Mexico and his insistence that Mexico should be made to pay for a border wall.
- REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
In late February, Ruiz, Mexico’s top diplomat, issued a stern rebuke of Trump’s criticism of Mexico.
“It sounds ignorant and racist, because it is,” Ruiz said. “We are pretty sure that’s not the way most Americans feel.”
She also called Trump’s wall plan “not an intelligent thing to do.”
Trump on Tuesday threatened to block remittances from undocumented Mexican migrants if elected president unless the country pays billions for his planned wall.
Trump also called Ford’s announcement that it would build more cars in Mexico “an absolute disgrace.”
- REUTERS/Daniel Becerril
Sada, who was also mayor of the southern Mexican city of Oaxaca, replaces Miguel Basañez Ebergenyi, who has held the ambassador post only for seven months. Basañez emphasized US-Mexico diplomatic and trade ties, working to lessen the effect of Trump’s rhetoric.
Carreno, who will take over as deputy foreign minister for North America, has broad experience in public relations, both in the government sector and in the finance industry, where he worked for Citigroup and other firms, according to Politico.
Carreno’s and Sada’s appointments “are part of an comprehensive strategy the Mexican government will deploy in order to strengthen the relations, the promotion, and the image of [Mexico] in Canada and the United States,” the Mexican Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
(Reporting by Anahi Rama and Adriana Barrera; Editing by Sandra Maler)