This has to be one of the funniest things I read about Mexico in a while. I say lets send these diplomats one of those controversial New Mexico T-shirts.

www2.eluniversal.com



Gov't course seeks to improve image abroad
BY NATALIA GÓMEZ QUINTERO AND JONATHAN ROEDER/EL UNIVERSAL/The Herald Mexico
El Universal
Domingo 24 de julio de 2005
Nuestro mundo, página 1


Diplomatic officials from nations that historically haven't had close ties with Mexico are being given a guided tour that shows off Mexico's positive qualities.


To combat negative perceptions of Mexico fueled by frequent stories of drug trafficking, corruption and violence in the global press, the federal government is giving diplomats from 21 nations a crash course in Mexican affairs, focusing on positive elements such as economic and democratic advances.
The three-week course, currently underway, was the idea of the Foreign Relations Secretariat (SRE). The Secretariat's MatÃ*as Romero Institute, created to train Mexican diplomats, is directing the activities.

Representatives from the United States, Canada and other Latin American nations were not invited due to those nations' close proximity, shared problems and greater knowledge of Mexico.

As part of the tour, the diplomats have visited the Fine Arts Palace, the Mexican Institute of Petroleum, the National Arts Center, the presidential residence of Los Pinos, the Senate, the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) and multinational Mexican firms Bimbo and Grupo Modelo.

The diplomats are also being briefed on how their countries are perceived in Mexico and participating in discussions on how stronger ties with Mexico could be beneficial for their nations.



FOX'S STRATEGY

Part of President Vicente Fox's goal since his election in 2000 has been to raise Mexico's profile internationally. He has strived to do this through numerous trips abroad and by hosting a number of international conferences, such as the U.N. development conference in Monterrey in 2002, the Cancun WTO Ministerial Conference in 2003 and the European UnionLatin America Summit in Guadalajara in 2004.

However, ongoing struggles with organized crime, poverty and illegal migration that dominate foreign coverage of Mexico has made Fox's goal of raising the nations profile an uphill battle.

"(The Mexican government) has had a lot of difficulties (because of negative news coverage)," said Ana MarÃ*a Salazar, political analyst and radio host for an English-language radio show on Mexican current affairs. "We wouldn't be talking about this course if there weren't all the negative headlines."

She added the course "is a good idea, they should probably offer it all the time."