Lunes 20 de Mayo 2024

Salazar, a key figure

The ambassador is politically active and highly visible in Mexican media, which could be seen as a campaign to connect with AMLO

Créditos: X @USAmbMex
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Ambassador Ken Salazar is a key figure in the relationship between the US and Mexico. 

Beyond being the ambassador of the United States to our country, the person holding the position has become an invaluable, reliable conduit for conveying messages from the National Palace to the ear of the occupant of the White House. 
And Salazar has Biden's ear. 

It is true that to a large extent, this has been a traditional role of ambassadors from both countries. But rarely has the work of the US ambassador been so critical in tempering and smoothing a relationship dominated by high-decibel statements sometimes coming from the Mexican Zócalo or the US Capitol. 

Or at least that's what they say in Washington, where sotto voce examples of the ambassador's influence are cited. 

First and foremost, Salazar's arrival in the US Senate in 2005 and his approach to the then influential senator and now President

Joe Biden are recalled; concurrently, his rapport with another up-and-coming senator: Barack Obama. 

When Obama won the presidency in 2008, he arrived at the White House accompanied by Biden as vice president and with Salazar as secretary of the interior. The work accentuated the closeness of Salazar and Biden, and when the latter won the presidency, he appointed Salazar as ambassador to Mexico, thanks in part to active lobbying by the now diplomatic representative. 

Salazar was appointed in August 2021 and, since then, has not only been politically very active but also very visible in Mexican media and in what could be considered a campaign to connect with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. 

Part of this has been conveying messages and, according to several sources, influencing decisions of the US government, at the expense of his own image in Washington, where some consider him "Mexico's ambassador from Mexico." 

According to one version, for example, when Biden visited Mexico in January 2023, Air Force One landed at Felipe Ángeles International Airport at the intervention of Salazar, who made known to the US president the great personal interest of AMLO in promoting that airport. 

According to that version, Salazar's political argument convinced Biden, who imposed his will on objections from the Air Force and the Secret Service to the use of an airport without certification from US aviation authorities. 

He is credited with persuading Biden to accept decisions that benefit AMLO's viewpoints, mainly due to the need for Mexican support for controlling migration flows. This consideration would have influenced Salazar's advice to refrain from criticizing the Mexican government, such as the energy reform, attacks on electoral authorities, or the publication of a journalist's phone number from The New York Times, which would normally have been criticized.