Today I leave Romania. After almost three years at the head of the Embassy of Mexico and 30 years of serving my country as a career diplomat, it is time to say good-bye and retire in Mexico, where I will continue to work for my country from different activities.
It is not easy to bid farewell to a nation such as Romania, with its warm and friendly people, rich cultural heritage and extraordinary capacity to overcome its difficulties and work hard to construct a better future.
Despite our turbulent past, the strength, bravery and patriotism of our people always prevailed. Now Mexico and Romania live a modern stage of progress with a strong democratic reality and economic growth, while facing challenges on the rule of law and the fight against corruption.
The relationship has a strong dialogue on political, economic and cooperation issues. In addition, since I assumed my function as Ambassador in Romania, I’ve worked on expanding the bilateral legal framework, necessary to boost the negotiations of many agreements.
In economic terms, the relationship has great potential. Both countries are open economies, with geostrategic locations and deregulated markets. Romania is a member of the European Union (EU), bridge to Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and there are significant business opportunities in the automotive, agricultural, energy and information technology sectors.
The traditional engine of the bilateral relationship has been the cultural exchange and cooperation ties in the fields of education, tourism and culture. As Ambassador of Mexico in Romania, and based on the firm conviction that cultural diplomacy is the best channel to promote Mexico’s image, I organized in 2014 and 2015 two major cultural activities:
The first was the Mexican Cultural Week dedicated to Oaxaca. With the participation of 20 artists, dancers, musicians, painters and mezcal producers which worked on 26 different activities during 8 days, and a huge altar of the dead. This event was the largest Mexican cultural festival ever done in Romania. The festival had a great impact in the media, with more than 85 articles published and the attendance of thousands of people.
The second one took place as part of the celebration of 80 years of diplomatic relations between Mexico and Romania, with the organization of two exhibitions: one based on unpublished portraits of Emil Cioran made by the Mexican photographer Rogelio Cuéllar and the other one, consisting on antique engravings of Mexico made by European artists from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. It was part of my private collection which I have gathered for 20 years. Both exhibitions were held at the National Library and visited by large public and by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Culture.
But my contacts with Romania started a long time before I was appointed Ambassador. Many years ago, when I was young, I greeted in the street Eugen Ionesco in Mexico, experience I cherish in my memory. I just said “Au revoir, Monsieur Ionesco”, as he was walking towards me. I didn’t stop since I didn’t speak French and could not have held a conversation if he had carried on with it. Nevertheless, for an instant, I felt like part of the universal culture for being able to greet the distinguished Romanian literate.
Even before that, when I was a kid, I used to pass by the residence where King Carol II lived in Mexico with Madam Lupescu. It was a gorgeous villa in Coyoacán, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Mexico City, where lots of intellectuals, both Mexican and foreigners, choose to live: from Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, to Leon Trotsky and André Breton.
When I was appointed Ambassador in Romania I remembered that villa and I started to research at the Mexican Diplomatic Archives, complemented by a later research at the Romanian Diplomatic Archives. Now I will have time to write and hope to publish it.
During my stay in Romania, Mexico had a strong presence with some remarkable events of substance and exposure, in which I tried to imprint my vision. I hope that the relations between Romania and Mexico have benefited from that experience and I am convinced that our bilateral ties will further consolidate in the years to come.
Today I leave Romania with satisfaction. The job has been done. Numerous messages of recognition were sent by high government and parliamentarian leaders, businessmen and touroperators, artists and academicians, among others. Thank you to all of them, especially to Mr. Radu Bogdan, Chairman and Publisher of Nine O’Clock, a fundamental source of information for the Diplomatic Corps and foreign entrepreneurs.
Now it is time to say good-bye Romania. Thank you Romania, I will miss you.
Photo: Ambassador Agustín Gutiérrez Canet (R) and Romania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lazar Comanescu