by Don Bain
from Denver Herald Dispatch
The Chamber of the Americas hosted a luncheon with Carlos J. Bello, Consul General of Mexico in Denver, at the Palm Restaurant in the Westin Hotel, January 29, 2014. Bello is responsible for Mexican nationals living in Colorado as well as the eastern parts of Montana and Wyoming plus portions of Utah.
He considers his most important task the support, assistance and rights of his countrymen living in the U.S. After thanking those in attendance for the support and hospitality Denver has shown his people for more than 40 years, the Consul General began his address with the following anecdote.
A mouse is running wildly through the streets of Mexico City, chased by a large cat. He ducks into the first wall crack he can find, waiting there for the cat to wander off. Some minutes later the mouse hears a dog barking nearby and thinks,
"If there is a dog out there, then the cat is gone." Emerging from his sanctuary, the mouse is immediately pounced on by the cat. Under the feline's complete control, the mouse manages to mouth a query, "Okay, you've caught me, but I heard a dog out here so why didn't you run away?" With a toothy smile, the cat replies, "Sometimes it's good to be bilingual!"
The animated and engaging consul then noted the numerous advances in Mexico over the last decade. It is now the fourth largest economy in the Western Hemisphere, following the United States, Canada and Brazil. Mexico's national debt is only 33 percent of their annual GNP and unemployment is at 5 percent, ranking the country among the top of industrialized nations. He praised Mexico's open economy, citing 12 free trade agreements, including NAFTA, encompassing 44 countries and resulting in $500 billion in trade every year. Mexico alone purchases 11 percent of all U.S. exports – in fact $17,000 in commerce occurs between the U.S. and Mexico every second of every day in the year.
Our southern neighbor has a youthful populace with a median age of 27 and graduated 106,000 engineers last year. Mexico produces 52 percent of the goods exported in Central and South America, while purchasing 48 percent of everything imported across the same region. The aerospace industry is booming in Mexico, primarily in the manufacture of components for export.
Over the last 10 years the Mexican Congress has enacted some 95 pacts to make it a stronger competitor in the global marketplace. The coming emergence of foreign investment in the Mexican Oil industry is just one example.
"We must partner with America to promote commerce for us all," asserted Consul General Bello. "We have never competed with you – we have complimented you." That remark was well received by the assembly, comprising a cross-section of business people from local universities, medical firms, translation services, and international and immigration law entities.
Bello wrapped up his presentation by pointing out that 80 percent of Mexico's exports are manufactured and that all the incentives provided by the government are aimed at supporting small business. "Remember we are neighbors and there is nothing we can do about it!" he concluded, drawing both laughter and applause.
During a short Q& A, the question of immigration reform in the U.S. came up and General Consul Bello pointed out how the reform was not about letting more Mexicans come here to work, but rather about allowing those with established jobs in the U.S. to visit Mexico and return again. Clearly, not only is a path to citizenship necessary for those who want and deserve it, but also a Long-Term Work Permit for those who have proven their value, yet wish to maintain their expatriate status.
When asked if he thought immigration reform would pass in the U.S. during the next two years, Bello replied: "I don't even know what my own Congress will do. We will continue to pursue this no matter what the result is," he added. "We have been working on this for 40 years – we won't stop. Let's make The Americas a better place to live, a better place to work for everyone!"