Saturday, March 19, 2011

US Mission Mexico: Ambassador Carlos Pascual Resigns

An Evening With U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carl...Image by archivesnews via Flickr

This past Thursday, Mark Toner, the Acting Deputy Department Spokesman said that "we have full confidence in our Ambassador." He was referring to our ambassador to Mexico, Carlos Pascual. About 48 hours later, the Secretary of State has announced her acceptance of his resignation.

Not sure there was another outcome to this very public rift, albeit a one sided one by the looks of it. But that side happened to be the president of a country who has declared publicly that he does not trust President Obama's personal representative. 

Ambassador Pascual has been asked to stay in Mexico to help organize an orderly transition. I'm not sure if that means, he will stay in the country until a new nominee is vetted, announced, and confirmed by Congress, which could take months, or if that means, until they identify and send in a chargé d’affaires, possibly a retired ambassador recalled to fill in at post until Ambassador Pascual successor gets there.

HRC's statement:
It is with great regret that I announce that Ambassador Pascual has asked President Obama and me to accept his resignation as our ambassador to Mexico

For the past year and a half, Ambassador Pascual has been an architect and advocate for the U.S.-Mexico relationship, effectively advancing the policies of the United States on behalf of the President and this Administration. He has collaborated tirelessly with his Mexican counterparts to lay the foundation for a cross-border renewable energy market, to open negotiations on the management of oil and gas reserves that span U.S. and Mexican territory, and to build a new border strategy to advance trade while staunching illicit flows. Carlos has also engaged U.S. and Mexican business to build markets that have helped make Mexico the number two destination of U.S. exports.

Ambassador Pascual worked with the Mexican government to integrate human rights into our respective policies and engagement; he also partnered to enhance the human and cultural connections that underpin the friendship between the people of Mexico and the United States. Carlos partnered with his counterparts to reach beyond the Merida Initiative’s initial focus on disrupting cartels to building institutions for the rule of law in Mexico and engaging Mexican civil society in advancing their security. These ties, grown and strengthened throughout his tenure, will serve both our nations for decades.

Within the U.S. Government, Carlos embraced a “whole of government” approach to addressing one of our most important bilateral relationships, winning the respect and cooperation of our foreign service, military and law enforcement agencies. The President and I are particularly grateful to Carlos for his efforts to sustain the morale and security of American personnel after tragic shootings in Mexico that killed four people from our extended family in the past year.

Carlos has relayed his decision to return to Washington based upon his personal desire to ensure the strong relationship between our two countries and to avert issues raised by President Calderon that could distract from the important business of advancing our bilateral interests. It is with great reluctance that President Obama and I have acceded to Carlos’s request. Prior to returning to assuming his new responsibilities at the State Department, the President and I have asked Carlos to stay in Mexico to help us organize an orderly transition.
Brief bio of Ambassador Pascual from

Ambassador Pascual has had a 23 year career in the United States Department of State, National Security Council (NSC) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). He served as coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization at the U.S. Department of State, where he led and organized U.S. government planning to help stabilize and reconstruct societies in transition from conflict or civil strife.

Ambassador Pascual was Coordinator for U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia (2003), where he oversaw regional and country assistance strategies to promote market-oriented and democratic states. From October 2000 until August 2003, Ambassador Pascual served as U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. From July 1998 to January 2000, Ambassador Pascual served as Special Assistant to the President and NSC Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, and from 1995 to 1998 as Director for the same region. From 1983 to 1985, Ambassador Pascual worked for USAID in Sudan, South Africa and Mozambique, and as Deputy Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia.

Prior to moving back to the State Department, Ambassador Pascual was Vice President and Director of the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution.  

Whoever is Ambassador Pascual's successor, he/she may still irk the palace if he/she travels to Juarez more times than the president of the host country. Because hey, that looks bad on the guy.  Another irksome matter for the president of Mexico?  Ambassador Pascual was reportedly romantically linked to the daughter of a legislative chief belonging to an opposition party.  Well, I'm not sure what kind of romantic advice you can give a future US ambassador to Mexico on that matter. Don't date? Get married prior to deploying to Mexico?  Make sure your romantic interest is from the same party as the president? What? And even if State sends somebody who is retired and older, the retiree is just that, old -- not dead.  The heart finds a way. Write that down.           

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