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On May 5, 1862, the Mexican Army, under the command of General Ignacio Zaragoza, confronted the French military forces advancing towards the capital of the country to consummate the conquest of Mexico. EFE / Francisco Guasco
On May 5, 1862, the Mexican Army, under the command of General Ignacio Zaragoza, confronted the French military forces advancing towards the capital of the country to consummate the conquest of Mexico. EFE / Francisco Guasco

Mexico and the United States: a diplomatic crossroads

"We have much more that unites us, than what divides us", Roberta Jacobson, former US ambassador to Mexico.

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During the past week, many "celebrated" May 5 as if it were the independence of Mexico, without noting that it’s actually a date that represents the intimate nexus between American and Mexican society.

Although May 5 has been transformed into the commemoration of the Battle of Puebla (1862) - victory of the Mexican army against the military forces sent from France by Napoleon III with the intention of establishing a monarchy "favorable to Europe" - its celebration was gradually established by those Latinos living in the United States (precisely in California, Nevada and Oregon) who received the news of the victory with a joy and pomposity that has been perpetuated over time.

It was those Latinos - who became part of the United States after the new power took over the northern part of Mexico in 1848, participated in the Civil War and sought opportunities in the mining industry early on - who made the “Cinco de Mayo” a US celebration.

Today, more than 150 years later, relations between both countries have deteriorated due to a historical omission and the resurgence of racist positions by the US government under Donald Trump.

Walls, deportations, persecutions and nationalist verbiage, have been the first indications of an imminent break in relations.

But there are those who insist that a balanced diplomacy is essential, especially because of the interest that each nation must have in the stability of its neighbor.

Through the negotiations of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), the United States and Mexico have tried to make clear their economic positions, undermined by the constant attacks of Trump on the Mexican community.

The Mexican ambassador, Gerónimo Gutiérrez, assured during the celebration of Cinco de Mayo at the White House that "the relationship between Mexico and the United States is going through a difficult crossroads".

During the ceremony, which didn’t have the presence of either President Trump or Vice President Mike Pence, Gutierrez recalled that "there is a lot at stake in the relationship between the two neighbors," EFE reported.

"As I said before, our relationship is going through a difficult time and is at a crossroads," said the diplomat, insisting that both nations should seize the opportunity to build a "more mature and mutually beneficial" relationship.

"A (relationship) that respects our differences, recognizes our common challenges, but above all that is guided by the notion that we have a shared future," he said.

In this way, Gutiérrez recalled the importance of NAFTA during the last 25 years, the benefits that both nations have obtained and the importance of following that work path.

"A strong and successful Mexico is in the interest of the United States, as much as a strong and successful United States is the interest of Mexico," he said.

Proof of this has been the recognition of Roberta Jacobson, former US ambassador to Mexico, who for 30 years has worked for the strengthening of bilateral relations.

During a one-hour meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, the diplomat said goodbye last Friday of her position as ambassador, and uploaded a video on YouTube in which she stated that "living in Mexico only reinforced what I learned after 30 years of working in the region: in the region we have much more that unites us - food, family, culture, and history - than what divides us".

Through the account Mexico City, Embassy Embassy E.U. on the platform, Jacobson noted that "our nations have supported each other to deal with the consequences of great tragedies, whether it be the flood in Texas or the September earthquake in Mexico. It was clear our commitment to help each other when we needed it," reported the Mexican daily El Sol del Centro.

Now it's just a matter of seeing whether the disposition and the will remain the same from the White House point of view.

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