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Former US envoy to Mexico calls for perspective

March 3, 2012

Concerned by media hysteria over the war on drugs, a former U.S. ambassador to Mexico has urged Americans to “be honest” and rethink their attitudes toward their southern neighbor in an online editorial this week.

“Breaking through the noise of election year rhetoric on both sides of the border is essential if we are to gain a more complete understanding of the situation on the ground in Mexico,” wrote Antonio Garza, who served as ambassador to Mexico from November 2002 until January 2009.

In spite of concern over the recent expanded travel warnings issued by the State Department for U.S. citizens in Mexico, Garza urges that “this is no time to lose faith in Mexico, or mischaracterize the situation there. I’m optimistic about our allies and partners to the south, and there’s every reason for the U.S. to remain steadfast in our support.”

Garza cited a recent report from Gary Hale of the Baker Institute in which he affirmed that “Mexico is a friend, not an enemy.” The former ambassador agreed: “no truer words could be spoken. Among the threats to our nation’s security, violence in and from Mexico is simply not a specific threat to the U.S.”

Hale’s assessment, along with recent testimony before the U.S. Senate by General James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, “brings some much needed balance and perspective to the challenges facing Mexico and its impact on the U.S. Here’s hoping our elected leaders not only take time to hear it, but act accordingly,” said Garza.

“Both note that it’s an undisputed fact that most of the violence and killings in Mexico are trafficker-on-trafficker. They roundly reject the assertion by some in the U.S. that we designate Mexico’s drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations.”

Appointed by President George W. Bush, Garza stepped down after Barack Obama named his successor, Carlos Pascual. To read Garza’s column in full visit

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