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Old 02-15-09, 05:28 PM   #1
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Default Farewell Message from Tony Garza, Ambassador to Mexico

Farewell Message from Tony Garza, Ambassador to Mexico

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

January 20, 2009 – Today history turned a page as Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States amid multitudes in Washington, and viewed by millions across the globe. Our thoughts and prayers are with him on this momentous occasion as he assumes leadership of our country and charts a new course for the United States. I wish him every success. That magic moment of democratic transition means change for us all, and with change comes reflection and opportunity.

For over six years, I have had the privilege to serve as Ambassador of the United States to Mexico. It has been an incredible experience. But this morning I came to work both with a sense of achievement, and a bit of nostalgia, knowing that this is my last day at the Embassy.

Many have asked me what comes next, so let me start by saying that I am excited about moving into the private sector and will remain committed to advancing the critical bilateral interests that exist between the United States and Mexico. I’ve enjoyed a unique vantage point from which to develop a deep knowledge of how things really work between our two countries. I’ve represented American concerns and introduced key Mexican leaders – both corporate and governmental – to their U.S. counterparts. I’ve seen the great opportunities in Mexico for those who choose to pursue them, and I continue to feel strongly that the United States presents an attractive market for Mexican investment. In the future, I plan to take on a select group of projects which will allow me to continue to serve as a bridge between U.S. and Mexican interests, both North and South of our border.

It seems like just yesterday that I presented my credentials to then-President Fox, honored to represent the United States of America in this, the country of my grandparents. And less than 24 hours ago, I called on President Calderon for the last time as Ambassador. From that first day to today I have given thanks every morning for the opportunity and responsibility entrusted to me.

I am proud of many things we have accomplished during my tenure, but one achievement shines above the rest. During the time I have served in Mexico, I have watched the U.S.-Mexico dialogue evolve significantly. We have moved away from stilted exchanges of recrimination and finger-pointing. Today we conduct a relevant, responsible conversation based on shared responsibility and mutual concerns. We exchange views on how Mexico and the United States can work together to meet the challenges and opportunities of our age. We work cooperatively to confront the hard questions all nations face these days. Big questions, like how to combat poverty and inequality in our region. Urgent questions, like how to achieve security and safety for our respective populations. Human questions, like how to strengthen families and communities facing economic, security or migration strains.

The challenge for today’s leaders of the bilateral relationship is to make both Mexico and the United States safer and more prosperous for our children. As we transition to a new administration in the United States, Presidents Obama and Calderon have already met to discuss the hard questions they will face. In their initial meeting, they spoke candidly about major issues, including security, trade, energy and immigration. The initial openness between the two leaders presages a commitment to transparency and collaboration as they develop new initiatives to address the challenges ahead. Their leadership will be vital to ensure that we build upon past successes. But it will take all of us, inside government and out, doing the hard work that makes positive change possible. The challenges are great, but I leave my position confident in the commitment and capabilities of the United States and of Mexico.

As Ambassador, I have traveled to virtually every state, some of them many times. Whether I am along the border or in Chiapas, whether I am meeting governors or school teachers, I have been touched by the warmth, sincerity and, of course, hospitality of the people I've known. I have walked with presidents in the shadows of Mayan ruins, prayed with farmers in a village church, and followed the footsteps of desperate migrants heading out into the Sonora desert to find a new future.

In six years, I feel as though I have lived a lifetime in Mexico, and been touched by this country's ancient soul. And, on a more personal note, it was during these six years that I found the love of my life, my Mariasun. Because of her, I can honestly say Mexico has not only changed me, it has blessed me.

Today at noon, I will walk out the front door of the embassy, salute the flag that flies over the doorway, and end my tenure as the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. I know the embassy will be in good hands with Leslie Bassett, who has been asked to serve as Chargé d’Affaires. Leslie is an extraordinarily talented and intelligent individual. Her deep understanding of U.S.-Mexican relations will assure that the high level of mutual cooperation we have achieved will be sustained during this time of transition.

I also leave with special gratitude to the 2,000 employees who work with us across Mexico, and who have humbled me with their dedication to excellence. Serving the United States alongside them has truly been one of the most extraordinary honors of my life, and today it draws to a close.

So today, I conclude my letter to you with a prayer that I will keep in my heart wherever I am, and that is, may God continue to bless the United States and Mexico. Thank you.


Antonio O. Garza, Jr.
__________________ - Where everybody knows your name and nobody stays on topic

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