US ambassador to Mexico officially departs

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The United States’s top diplomat to Mexico left Mexico City on Saturday for the last time in her official capacity, capping off a nearly two-year tenure in the post.

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico announced Ambassador Roberta Jacobson’s departure from the Mexican capital, saying that she was flying back to the U.S. on a commercial plane.

“I am sad to leave Mexico, but take with me a deep affection for this marvelous country and the Mexican people. I believe we have made great strides in our bilateral relationship,” Jacobson said in a statement. “I am not saying goodbye, but rather so long for now.”


In a tweet, Jacobson called serving as Washington’s ambassador to Mexico her professional highlight.

“Representing [the United States] in Mexico was the position of my life,” Jacobson tweeted in Spanish. “Thanks to this beautiful country and its people. I see a prosperous future for Mexico.”

Jacobson announced in March that she would retire from the position. She has served at the State Department for 30 years, mostly dealing with Western Hemisphere issues. 

In a memo to embassy staff in March, Jacobson said that she felt it was time to “move on to new challenges and adventures,” but expressed that her decision was made difficult by the fact that the U.S.-Mexico relationship had reached a crucial juncture.

“I have come to the difficult decision that it is the right time to move on to new challenges and adventures,” Jacobson wrote in the memo. “This decision is all the more difficult because of my profound belief in the importance of the U.S.-Mexico relationship and knowledge that it is at a crucial moment.”

Her retirement comes amid a series of diplomatic departures at the State Department, where Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has recently taken the helm following President Trump’s ouster of Rex Tillerson earlier this year.

John Feeley stepped down as the U.S. ambassador to Panama earlier this year, saying in his resignation letter that he no longer felt comfortable serving under Trump. 

In contrast, Jacobson’s memo announcing her decision to retire made no mention of the president, though her departure comes during a period of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Mexico. 

Trump has often taken an antagonistic approach toward the country, vowing to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that he has claimed Mexico will pay for. Mexican officials, however, have rejected that demand.

At the same time, negotiators from the U.S., Mexico and Canada are working to hammer out a new version of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, warned this week that if a deal isn’t reached in the coming weeks, its future could be on “thin ice.”

Tags Donald Trump Mike Pompeo Rex Tillerson Robert Lighthizer State Department US Embassy in Mexico

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