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Opinion
Ricardo Castillo
Ricardo Castillo Basañez, You’re Fired Basañez’s appointment was adding injury to insult for many of those bona fide ambassadors standing in line
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Seven months after President Enrique Peña Nieto had appointed his political mentor and personal friend Miguel Basañez as Mexico ambassador to the US, natural forces forced the President to recognize he’d been wrong in favoring Basañez with the post.

Basañez’s ousting was expected within the Foreign Relations Secretariat’s (SRE) politicking. In fact, upon announcing Basañez’s “removal” secretary Ruiz Massieu only wished the former ambassador well in whatever he will do next.

The President himself on Tuesday had to make it clear that his buddy Basañez had not been fired, to quote Donald Trump, but “removed.”

The mayor of Mexico City, Miguel Ángel Mancera (R), met Miguel Basáñez in the capital to discuss a working visit to Washington. Photo: Notimex

The mayor of Mexico City, Miguel Ángel Mancera (R), met Miguel Basáñez in the capital to discuss a working visit to Washington. Photo: Notimex

“This is not destitution per se, but a removal in order to strengthen someone coming in — mainly with their experience in the consular world — where the support network for fellow Mexicans is at and where we want to strengthen, help, back up in a better way this current scenario, or scenarios that have to be confronted.”

Not destitution, but removal.  Uh-huh.

The truth – politicians and diplomats will deny it – is that ever since the president appointed Basañez to the very important post the immediate cry of “foul” was deafening. Many ambassadors who knew Miguel Basañez did not deny he was a brilliant international law scholar – he still is, even in destitution – he had no experience within the Foreign Relations Secretariat, which is a hubbub of politicking.

Basañez was not a career diplomat and his imposition by President Peña Nieto was deeply questioned by those standing in line waiting precisely for a post the size of the Washington embassy.

Basañez’s appointment was adding injury to insult for many of those bona fide ambassadors standing in line. The President moved Eduardo Medina Mora – also not a career diplomat – from Great Britain to Washington.

But Medina Mora, who boasts fame as being a most whimsical individual, didn’t want the Washington embassy, but to be a Supreme Court judge in Mexico. President Peña Nieto fulfilled Medina Mora’s whim.

But in the pitching count the appointment of Basañez was strike two in a row for the president.

At least Medina Mora had an idea of what running an embassy means. Basañez did not.

And mind you, the Mexican Embassy in Washington is of utmost important to national affairs.

Many have interpreted that “The Trump Effect” is what brought Basañez down from the president’s favorite pal view.

True, the Trump campaign has awakened the gringo anti-Mexican demons but even at this point Trump, other than media hoopla, has no political power to do what he does.

What really proved to President Enrique Peña Nieto that he had made a mistake – Mexican presidents never make mistakes, by the way – was Basañez’s total incompetence in dealing with the more than 50 Mexican consuls operating within the U.S.

In fact, the Mexican network of consulates is the largest of any nation anywhere in the world. Those consulates are not there by error, either, but as a need to serve and protect Mexicans abroad, and that’s what they do.

Both former ambassadors Medina Mora and Miguel Basañez hit the wrong chords with the consuls forcing SRE secretary Ruiz Massieu to right the president’s wrong with the mis-appointments.

New appointee Carlos Manuel Sada Solana seems to be bringing the person with the correct profile to the post. For one, he’s moved around as consul within the consular system in Chicago, New York, San Antonio and Los Angeles, and served four years as a liaison to Congress for the Washington Embassy.

He is indeed one of those disgruntled career diplomats whom the president had shoved aside to comply with his buddies within the eternal and very damaging practice of “amiguismo” most presidents carry on diplomatic relations with.

It must also be recognized that President Peña Nieto saw in the Washington Embassy a foundering boat and paid heed to the SRE to straighten the winding path Medina Mora and Basañez took that embassy through.

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