The Mexican ambassador

edina Mora meets the requirements to be a suitable envoy for Peña Nieto in D.C.

The relationship between Mexico and the U.S. is vital for both countries, which share a lengthy and complex agenda of common and conflicting interests.

Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that the new Mexican ambassador to the U.S., Eduardo Medina Mora, is a skillful, experienced political operator in the best PRI-party style, as well as someone who from the beginning has been very close to President Enrique Peña Nieto. This relationship is essential in order to have direct communication and trust between Los Pinos and the Mexican Embassy in D.C.

Medina has a long track record linked to Salinism inside the PRI. However, he held important positions, becoming head of the National Security and Investigation Center (CISEN) during Vicente Fox’s administration and Attorney General for Felipe Calderón. Because Medina’s closeness to Peña Nieto caused mistrust during the second PAN administration, he was sent to London as ambassador—his only experience in Mexico’s foreign service.

This background has made Medina’s appointment controversial, given the role he played in actions like the “Michoacanazo” when he was Attorney General, reports of corruption on his part and Mexico’s alleged cooperation with Operation Fast and Furious.

Nevertheless, his nomination was unanimously approved by parliamentary commissions. Even the PRD, in an act of support, described its abstention during the plenary as a “vote of confidence” for Peña Nieto’s appointee.

This political coincidence is a good start for an ambassador who, despite having experience in the area of security, has the mission of prioritizing the trade relationship. The economy seems like the cornerstone of this Mexican administration and no other country is as important for Mexico in this area as the United States. Nonetheless, the bilateral agenda is much broader, with issues like security, border, immigration and the environment, among others.

The position of Mexican ambassador to the U.S. is a completely political post that can also be held by a career diplomat. But that does not mean that this person must have had the rank of ambassador in order to do the job properly.

What matters is being a skillful negotiator and an experienced operator for a complex agenda—experience in security is not such a bad thing—and having the president’s trust in order to avoid misunderstandings. Medina Mora meets those requirements.