Resignation Letter of Ambassador Adolfo Aguilar Zinser


November 23, 2003

Ambassador Adolfo Aguilar Zinser
Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations
New York, NY

November 23, 2003

President of the Republic of Mexico
Vicente Fox Quesada

Dear Mr. President

In response to the announcement of my recall as Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations, I hereby tender my resignation effective 31 December, 2003. Upon hearing of your decision, I believe that it would not be right to continue as the representative of Mexico at the United Nations as this would be contrary to the interests of our country. In addition, I believe that using public funds to support my mission is no longer justified. It has been an honor to represent my country, in particular as member of the UN Security Council. I thank you for selecting me as representative of our country.

Vicente, I believe that your statements claiming that I am not a patriot and that I offended the people of Mexico are unwarranted. My statements contending that the US sees Mexico as its backyard, were in reference to a lecture given at the Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA) highlighting an historic account of Mexican foreign policy. This history offers uncontroversial and unequivocal evidence that North American elites and some other sectors of society have portrayed Mexico "as its backyard." It is this group of individuals who coined the terminology. It is this portrayal of Mexico, as well as all Latin American countries, which steers the relationship with the United States. It is possible to find reference to the "backyard" terminology in historical literature of Mexico. I have attached a transcript of the lecture presented to UIA students at Cresencio Ballasteros hall, as well as a transcript of the press conference held after my lecture. I contend that there is nothing in my lecture that would be considered offensive to you or to the people of Mexico.

Vicente, the Mexican people have long been the target of abuse; abuse aimed at our workers, at undervaluing our society and at downgrading Mexico in diplomatic and political circles. You yourself have been a target in the past and you and your predecessors have also reacted to it. I dare say that there is not a single Mexican that does not recognize this reality. As Mexico's Representative to the UN Security Council, I believe that no Member State perceives us as anyone's "backyard" and I leave this post with both by family's and my own honor intact. I also leave this post knowing that I have the respect and recognition for my work from others, including UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, from my colleagues, and with the support and affection of many friends. Only yesterday, Javier Solana, the European Union High Representative for foreign policy and security was quoted by Reforma as saying, "The presence of Mexico on the UN Security Council comes at a very difficult time where members were forced to adopt positions requiring the highest degree of coherence and courage. Mexico displayed these qualities with utmost humility." Solana later added, "Mexico undertook the Presidency of the UN Security Council with great efficacy during very complicated circumstances. Europe asserts that Mexico conducted its work during its Presidency in a skillful and constructive manner, and that Mexico made an invaluable contribution in rehabilitating a climate of consensus." German President Johannes Rau reiterated the sentiments of Javier Solana yesterday in Mexico City.

Vicente, you know very well what I was trying to say. Beside the fact that you defended my dismissal as not due to the pressure of US Secretary of State Colin Powell, but solely from my actions, adds to a smear campaign being carried out against me in the media. Of all the accusations and allegations directed at me this week, it is your personal remarks that have hurt both my family and I the most. We have always been friends, colleagues, and companions in cause. I was side by side with you in your rise to the Presidency. I supported you, Vicente. This is why I cannot comprehend why you chose to use your office to dishonor me in this way. You are committing a mistake that not only damages my image, but reflects poorly on yourself and that of Mexico.

On my part, perhaps the sentiments I expressed or the words I used in my speech at the UIA constitutes a transgression or a lack of diplomatic discretion. Many others agree, among them are those who have criticized your handling of this matter. That is why I should have been observed first hand, as I conceded to Luis Ernesto Derbez. Therefore, if you had said that my recall was because I failed to comply with diplomatic protocol, then I would have understood your decision. What is inexplicable is why you would have me sign a statement prepared by your office retracting my remarks, even retracting statements I did not make, in order to support me. Would it have been worth it to apologize in order to disgracefully keep my post? Would it have changed the US conditions and its treatment of Mexico? Would my apology have reversed the damage already done?

Without a doubt, I am a diplomat that is not very diplomatic. However, I have known many more like me at the UN. At this crucial time, when we are confronted with the events that we have been a part of, diplomacy cannot be based on the art of lying. For world peace, we cannot pretend that reality is different than what it is; not at the UN, nor in front of students in academic halls. My actions at the UN made some members uncomfortable, notably the US, who themselves exert its power and influence over Member States and its interpretation of international law. I am confident that you are aware that the "independence" of our country is at stake, our country's prestige, its credibility, its capacity to negotiate, and last but certainly not least, the possibility that Mexico is not perceived as a "backyard." I am certain therefore that by my leaving government, the US will be no less comfortable with Mexico's work at the UN than before.

Throughout this controversy, beginning with my lecture at UIA, I have decided not to respond to any founded or unfounded criticisms against me. This decision is out of respect for the institutions so as not to contribute to this scandal. Vicente, I am an independent, principled man without prejudice or confraternity. Now that I am out of the public service, I will continue to exercise my right to question the institutions, a right we fought for together during your Presidential campaign. I believe that in order to continue the advancement of democracy, Mexicans must leave behind deceitful assertions, personal attacks, insults, scandals, and work towards tackling the most urgent issues facing Mexico today in order to bring the people of Mexico together. Vicente, now that I am out of the public service, I will continue to fight for the causes that affect us all, and I will fight for those same causes that brought us together over the last ten years, and I will continue to actively participate in the evolution of our democracy that as President, you strive towards achieving.

With my affection as always,

Adolfo Aguilar Zinser

CC: Dr. Luis Ernesto Derbez, Secretary of International Relations

CC: The Senate of the Republic of Mexico

Translation by Global Policy Forum
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