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Consular and Public Diplomacies
Consular and Public Diplomacies
BOOK REVIEW 9: “Consular diplomacy and outreach to strategic partners” (Chp. 9) of La Diplomacia Consular Mexicana en tiempos de Trump.
In this chapter of the book, Vanessa Calva Ruiz explains one of Mexico´s Public Diplomacy strategies implemented in the United States: Developing partnerships with allies and its community based on shared ideas and interactive dialogue. However, she does not use the term “Public Diplomacy” explicitly in her text.
Calva Ruiz identifies the establishment of a new model of consular care as a catalysis for the expansion of networks with non-traditional groups and organizations, such as the Jewish community and LGBT associations.[i]
She also indicates that the consular care new model derives from the Human Rights Constitutional amendment of 2011 that adopted the “pro-persona” principle. The new model is grounded on dialogue and trust between the Mexican community and the consular network.[ii]
This new consular care model has resulted in identifying additional needs of the Mexican community, thus pushing forward the development of new partnerships, including novel allies.
Calva Ruiz explains that Mexico has a reliable consular administration in the U.S. However, each of the 51 Mexican consulates operates in a unique form, considering the specific circumstances of its location and the Mexican community's characteristics.[iii] I believe this characteristic is essential due to the size and complexity of the United States' political landscape.
Additionally, she describes the trípode consular or consular tripod, which comprises of the activities and programs of the three areas of consular assistance: protection to citizens, documentary services, and community affairs. The three interact to provide better services and also empower the Mexican community.[iv]
As an example of the trípode consular, she presents the Ventanilla de Atención Integral para la Mujer or the “Initiative for the Comprehensive Care of Women” (VAIM) that interconnects all areas of the consulates to offer specialized assistant to Mexican women. Besides, it promotes training and sensibilization about their challenges and created a resources and services directory.[v]
The expansion of the VAIM in 2016 pushed the consulates to be proactive in developing alliances with new stakeholders. Traditionally, consular offices have extended collaboration with Latino organizations, civil rights groups, and Hometown Association.[vi] But in recent years, the search for new partners.
She offers as an example the activities that were developed with LGBT national associations, such as Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, and GLSEN in the United States together with Mexico´s Consejo Nacional para la Prevención de la Discriminación (CONAPRED) and Supreme Court of Justice.[vii] As a result, consulates created “safe zones”, participated in training sessions, information campaigns, Pride and Spirit days celebrations,[viii] not only in the U.S. but also in embassies and consulates worldwide.
Check out the excellent video produce by the Ministry for Spirit Day 2017 at the bottom of this post.
As part of the new consular care model, Calva Ruiz also includes the use of new technologies, and describes the creation of the Centro de Información y Atención a Mexicanos (consular protection calling center) and the MiConsulmex smartphone app.[ix]
I think that another example of specialized consular assistance to specific vulnerable groups is the development of three consular care protocols:
-Unaccompanied migrant children and adolescents, created with the support of UNICEF Mexico.[x]
-Victims of gender-based violence, with UN Women.
-Victims of human trafficking, with the International Organization for Migration.
Vanessa Calva Ruiz concludes that “the establishment of partnerships not only takes care of urgent needs of the Mexican community but also assist them in integrating to the host society by linking them with local actors that offer resources.”[xi]
In her chapter, Calva Ruiz cites an article that she wrote and was published in The Hill newspaper, highlighting Consular Diplomacy activities in favor of the Mexican LGBT communities. You can read the articles here. “Consular Diplomacy and LGBT rights, lessons from Mexico.”
This paper is worth reading because it highlights how Mexico´s Consular Diplomacy has expanded with the establishment of non-traditional allies, such as LGBT national organizations, that provide services to the Mexican community and help them integrate.
To see some of inclusive flyers visit https://www.gob.mx/cms/uploads/attachment/file/475074/Infograf_as_Incluyentes_-_INGL_S_-2019.pdf
[i] Calva Ruiz, Vanessa, “Diplomacia Consular y acercamiento con socios estratégicos” in La Diplomacia Consular Mexicana en los tiempos de Trump, 2018, p. 210.
[ii] Ibid. p. 206.
[iii] Ibid. p. 205.
[iv] Ibid. p. 208.
[v] Ibid. p. 208-209.
[vi] Hometown Associations or Clubes de Oriundos are community-based organizations that bring together persons from the same location. Normally, they support the organization of traditional festivities in their hometowns.
[vii] Ibid. p. 211.
[viii] See for example Arelis Quezada, Janet, “Consulados y embajada de México participan en #SpiritDay Mexican Consulates and Embassy participates in #SpiritDay”, GLAAD website, October 16, 2017.
[ix] Ibid. p. 213-214.
[x] For a brief description of the protocol´s origins and its benefits, see Gallo, Karla, “En el camino hacia la protección integral de la niñez migrante, UNICEF México Blog, August 21, 2019.
[xi] Ibid. p. 215.
DISCLAIMER: All views expressed on this blog are that of the author and do not represent the opinions of any other authority, agency, organization, employer or company.
Rodrigo Márquez Lartigue
Diplomat interested in the development of Consular and Public Diplomacies.