First ladies Michelle Obama and Margarita Zavala carried out a number of enthusiastically-attended public events during the 2-day visit. After a round table with several of Mexico’s most prominent women in public life, political scientist Denise Dresser said, “The fact that [Michelle Obama] came to Mexico seems to me a testimony of friendship and solidarity and a recognition of Mexico’s importance. It was a praiseworthy gesture.” (Reforma 4/15)
Michelle Obama will fly to Mexico City for meetings with First Lady Margarita Zavala, primarily to discuss social programs. President and Mrs. Calderón will host a private dinner at Los Pinos for Mrs. Obama; the other guests will be Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan, his wife, and U.S. Ambassador Carlos Pascual. (Universal 4/9)
The White House said today that First Lady Michelle Obama will visit Mexico City from the 13-15th of April, her first solo trip abroad. According to the press statement:
Mrs. Obama’s international agenda will amplify the President’s commitment to advancing mutual interests, mutual respect and mutual responsibility between nations and peoples around the world. During this visit, Mrs. Obama will have the opportunity to engage the citizens of Mexico, particularly young people, and build on her recent conversation with Mexican First Lady Margarita Zavala de Calderon on the issues of education and economic advancement in both countries .
(Excelsior 3/12, White House 3/12)
President Calderón travelled to Juárez to unveil a new security initiative for the troubled city. His speech outlined a four point program: reinforce the security presence in the city (including reversing plans announced last month to redeploy the military from the city to rural areas of Chihuahua); cleaning up the local police and municipal authorities; new social programs to fight poverty, provide better local medical care (including addiction services), and more schools and athletic facilities; and increasing citizen participation. He was accompanied by first lady Margarita Zavala, Gómez Mont, Chihuahua governor José Reyes Baeza, Juarez mayor José Reyes Ferriz, and six other cabinet secretaries. Subsequently, the President announced he would return this week to followup on the initiatives. (Reforma 2/11)
Margarita Zavala, the wife of President Calderón, and family members welcomed with great fanfare the 74 Mexican tourists returning on a special AeroMexico flight from China. The Boeing 777 left Mexico Monday and made stops in Beijing, Shanghai, Canton, and Hong Kong to rescue the Mexicans who had been held in a quarantine decreed by the Chinese government on April 30th. According to El Universal:
At a press conference, five of the Mexicans told of their experiences and most agreed [in their descriptions of] the extreme measures enacted by Chinese authorities, for the mere fact of being Mexican. [Returnee] Mirna Berlanga said they were the object of discrimination and maltreatement, humiliations, even though they showed no symptoms of the illness. They were held in rooms in poor conditions.
The Foreign Ministry has protested the treatment of Mexicans by Chinese authorities. However, as the Templo Mayor column noted:
The traditional prudence of Chancellor Patricia Espinosa is causing annoyance in Los Pinos. It’s known that inside the President’s team there is disagreement with her, since they think she lacked firmness in her posture towards governments that are discriminating against Mexicans, as in the case of China.
(also: Reforma 5/6)