Congressman Gonzalez Returns from Bipartisan Congressional Delegation to Guatemala and Mexico
WASHINGTON – Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) recently participated in a congressional delegation to Guatemala and Mexico with Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Congressman Ruben Kihuen (NV-04). This was a bipartisan effort to strengthen counter narcotic efforts, modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and start a dialogue about how to move the region forward.
Pictured from left to right: U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala Luis Arreaga; Congressmen Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) and Ruben Kihuen (NV-04); and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) meeting with President of Guatemala Jimmy Morales.
“This visit proves that Members of Congress can close the divide on issues critical to the well-being of this nation,” Congressman Gonzalez said. “By establishing a neighborly rapport in Washington, Mexico, and Central America, we can strengthen trade agreements, create jobs, and tackle gang violence and drug trafficking to all of our mutual benefit.”
“Mexico and Guatemala are key partners in the global fight against drug trafficking, including the deadly opioids fueling the addiction epidemic in our neighborhoods,” said Dr. Cassidy. “In our discussions I was able to stress the importance of their cooperation, and get a firsthand look at their efforts on the ground. We also talked about the impacts of illegal immigration and the need for greater security and strong borders. When it comes to trade, Louisiana sells billions of dollars’ worth of goods to Mexico, so I want to make sure that as NAFTA is renegotiated it is done so in a way that strengthens our trade relationship and provides even more benefits and opportunity to Louisiana workers.”
“Mexico and Guatemala are key allies to the United States. Strengthening our relationships with our southern neighbors is critical to our efforts to combat drug trafficking, reduce gang violence and ensure regional stability,” said Congressman Kihuen. “We also must strengthen our trade agreements to ensure free and fair trade and create jobs for Nevada workers.”
In Guatemala, Congressman Gonzalez met with President of Guatemala Jimmy Morales to discuss alleviating the push factors for irregular migration by improving American foreign policy. The members took part in a meeting hosted by the Council of the Americas, visited the Mirador Basin at the invitation of the Guatemalan government to discuss the potential for economic development to displace drug trafficking, and visited U.S. Marines stationed in Flores as a Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF).
In Mexico, the delegation met with incoming Mexican President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s Chief of Staff, Alfonso Romo;Mexican Undersecretary of Foreign Trade, Juan Carlos Baker; and Secretary of the Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal. Given the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on South Texans, the congressman is pushing the modernization of NAFTA and looks forward to strengthening bilateral trade relations.
Recently, Congressman Gonzalez extended an invitation to Ivanka Trump, First Daughter and Advisor to the President of the United States, renewing her invitation to visit the U.S.-Mexico Border and meet the children and families impacted by the administration’s zero-tolerance policy. This letter also invites Ms. Trump to work together on bipartisan solutions that address the push factors for irregular migration – years of failed American foreign policy. This spring, Congressman Gonzalez visited El Salvador and Guatemala with Sister Norma Pimentel, the Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley to promote prosperity, bring security, and create additional educational, employment, and investment opportunities.
Congressman Gonzalez is hopeful that continued engagement between each government, and private sector entities, will be beneficial to trade and economic growth in South Texas.