HELENA – Celso Humberto Delgado-Ramirez, consul of Mexico, said on Tuesday he is visiting Montana to meet with the chambers of commerce, schools, news media and the Mexican and Hispanic people in Montana.
He is here, he said, to improve relations between Montana and Mexico and to support his countrymen.
The consul was to meet with Gov. Steve Bullock and Helena Mayor Jim Smith later in the day.
His visit follows one nearly a year ago by then Consul Guillermo Ordorica, who met with Bullock and Carroll College president Tom Evans among other local leaders to discuss ways to increase cultural and economic ties.
Delgado-Ramirez arrived in Boise two months ago and has served his country through diplomatic service in Montreal before coming to the United States. He’s also represented Mexico in countries that include Egypt, Argentina and Cuba.
“This is my first time in Montana,” he said, adding he arrived in Helena Monday and would be in the state three or four days.
He plans to visit Montana three times a year, with each visit lasting between one and two weeks, to meet with authorities and “be near my Mexican brothers.”
“In Mexico we don’t forget that Montana is very important for us,” he said. “Montana exports to Mexico very important goods and some services.”
He placed Montana’s importance to Mexico next to that of China, Canada, Japan and the United States.
“The trade between us is very, very important. And I’d like to improve the quantities and the qualities.”
Increasing tourism between the two countries is a possibility, he said of what the future could hold for Mexico and Montana.
Mexico is also working with Montana to establish an exchange program between universities, said Victor Constantino, who is traveling with the consul.
A university in Mexico has not yet been selected for participation in an exchange program, Constantino added.
It is important for students from Mexico to have the opportunity to study engineering and science, and those who go to Mexico would have the opportunity to study languages, history and architecture, Delgado-Ramirez explained.
Montana is important to Mexico because of history, agricultural production and policies and because of the Mexicans and Hispanics who work here, Delgado-Ramiriz said.
“And it’s important for us because of the future,” he said. “Our countries are growing together.”
After the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement among Canada, Mexico and the United States, relations between the United States and Mexico improved, he continued, and explained, “This is the time to put more emphasis on a new era to make it happen between us.”
The importance spans from agricultural fields to technology, Delgado-Ramirez noted.
He and Constantino said they are providing Mexican nationals with a consular identification card to provide proof of Mexican nationality.
This identification would also aid with questions by United States immigration officials, Constantino said.