This year, Cinco de Mayo in Davis will offer more than just $4 happy hour margaritas at Agave – we’ll be getting a visit from the Consul General of Mexico.
Carlos González Gutiérrez, a member of the Mexican Foreign Service since 1987, will meet with students on Wednesday from 2 to 4:30pm in the Mayhew Conference Room in 2234 Social Sciences and Humanities.
During his visit, the Consul General hopes to reach out to students of the Mexican student community at UC Davis and hear their concerns and interests.
“I want to let them know that the Consulate General of Mexico is here to help them, that they can count on us, and that I am available,” González Gutiérrez said in an e-mail interview. “All in all, I want to give a first step in a long dialogue with them.”
González Gutiérrez works out of the Mexican Consulate building in Sacramento, which offers services including legal representation, support for those in indigence, and assistance to immigrants searching for medical homes.
“[His visit is] very significant, as he represents the Mexican government’s concerns in protecting, promoting and cultivating relationships of the Mexican origin community in the U.S. with Mexico and within the U.S.,” said Dr. Adela de la Torre, director and chair of the Chicano studies department at UC Davis, in an e-mail interview.
Though he seeks a connection with the Mexican community on campus during his visit, González Gutiérrez encouraged all interested students to attend.
“Every person that wants to know more about our country is absolutely welcome,” he said.
Johnathen Duran, the Cross Cultural Center’s Chicano/Latino Community Intern, also emphasized the relevance the event may have to those outside the Mexican community.
“I would definitely invite anyone interested in migration issues to show up,” he said, noting that Wednesday’s discussion may interest those with family south of Mexico.
“There’s been a lot of conversation about how Mexico treats people crossing its borders,” Duran said. “We have to hold everybody accountable.”
Mexican President Felipe Calderón appointed González Gutiérrez to serve as Consul General in 2009. Before taking his current post, he served as the executive director of the Institute of Mexicans Abroad starting in 2003.
González Gutiérrez, who received a bachelor’s in foreign relations from El Colegio de México and later a master’s in the same field from the University of Southern California, has authored several publications discussing the relationship between the Mexican government and the Mexican community in the U.S.
In addition to increasing Consulate involvement with UC Davis students, González Gutiérrez plans to discuss current problems facing Mexico on Wednesday, including issues surrounding the recent travel warning distributed several weeks ago.
Duran also mentioned the recently passed controversial Arizona law allowing police to question individuals who they suspect might be in the country illegally as a likely discussion point.
“We want to know what’s being done internationally about the law, and what pressure Mexico might be able to put on Arizona,” Duran said, adding that similar laws are in the works in several other states.
Despite his focus on these concerns, the Consul General hopes that students will assist him in raising awareness about Mexico’s beauty and diversity.
“I want to ask for their help in order to let other people know about the wonderful things that our country has; about its brilliant colors, the exquisite tastes, the amazing landscapes, the cultural richness [and] the warmth of its people,” González Gutiérrez said.
MEGAN MURPHY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.