Mexico, Argentina bolster political ties to Miami
BY ANDRES OPPENHEIMER
Mexico and Argentina have taken the unusual step of appointing
ambassadors to their consulates in Miami, in what some officials of the two
countries say is a reflection of their belief that Florida will play an important
political role in the Bush administration.
Mexico's new consul general in Miami will be Manuel Rodríguez
Arriaga, a former
ambassador to Belgium, China and Norway, who was also under-secretary of
foreign affairs, senior Mexican officials told The Herald on Tuesday.
Argentina, in turn, will appoint Guillermo Jacovella, a former
ambassador to Spain,
one of Argentina's key diplomatic destinations.
Rodríguez Arriaga, 51, who did post-graduate studies in
public administration at
the University of Warwick, England, started his diplomatic career in 1979 as an
economic advisor at Mexico's mission to the United Nations in New York. His
nomination for the Miami job will have to be approved by the Mexican congress.
``We wanted a top level diplomat to cover Florida,'' Mexico's
foreign affairs Enrique Berruga said in an interview Tuesday. ``Politically, the
state's importance is bigger than in the past.''
In addition to being an entry gate for much of Latin America to
the United States,
South Florida is the headquarters of key Spanish-language media that reach the
entire region, and the state played the deciding role in the recent presidential
elections, he said.
Other Mexican and Argentine diplomats suggested that their governments
want to establish close ties with Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, brother of the incoming
president, and other Florida politicians expected to be influential in George W.
Last week, Argentina's daily La Nación quoted an Argentine
official as saying that
``the idea is to elevate the status of the [Miami] consulate to that of an embassy,
so that Ambassador Jacovella can work side by side with Ambassador [to
Washington] Guillermo González.''
Argentina's foreign minister Adalberto Rodríguez Giavarini
told The Herald in a
telephone interview from Rome that Argentina wanted to appoint a top-level
diplomat in Miami because of Florida's ``growing importance as a place to
generate business.'' Jacovella ``is a very close friend of the ambassador to
Washington,'' and the two diplomats' functions will not overlap, he added.