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Mexican consul faces ‘delicate’ border problem

Citizen Staff Writer

Carlos Flores Vizcarra says discussion is needed on both sides of the border, for ‘this is a matter of life or death.’


Citizen Staff Writer

The newly appointed Mexican consul in Tucson says he faces a challenge with the “delicate” situation on the Arizona-Sonora border and the mounting summer death toll.

Carlos Flores Vizcarra, who was appointed in mid-June by Mexican President Vicente Fox, is in charge of the consulate for one of the busiest and deadliest crossing areas in the nation.

Flores said Fox, who broke 71 years of one-party rule in Mexico when he was elected last year, is taking a special interest in immigration.

“The Mexican government has given this problem a new consideration, a new importance,” Flores said.

Flores replaced Carlos Torres Garcia, who served as consul in Tucson for four years.

The consulate’s duties range from issuing Mexican passports to promoting trade and economic development, although the primary objective is to enforce the human and legal rights of Mexicans living abroad.

Flores, a native of Mazatlan, Sinaloa, said he is optimistic that a September meeting between Fox and Bush could eventually signal progress toward a compromise on the immigration issue.

The new consulate advocates measures by humanitarian groups and the U.S. and Mexican governments to save lives along the Arizona-Sonora border, where 51 migrants are known to have died since March, apparently of heat exposure.

Last weekend, a 19-year-old pregnant woman died after crossing the border near the small town of Why. She was the second known fatality of a pregnant migrant this month in the western corner of the state.

Within his first week of arriving on the job in July, Flores was working with the medical examiner to identify bodies and notify family in Mexico of deaths along the border.

“There has to be a more open discussion on both sides (of the border),” Flores said. “People have to realize this is a matter of life and death.”

Flores, 48, his wife, Esther Lopez-Negrete Coppel, and 7-year-old twin sons moved to Tucson from Mexico City, where Flores worked in the federal government.

Educated in Mexico and Europe, Flores received a doctorate from the University of Paris in 1982.

The foreign policy and economics expert served in the House of Representatives in Mexico City from 1993 to 1997. He was appointed to his first government post in 1984.

Other Mexican consulates in Arizona also are reporting staff changes. Carlos Gonzalez Magallon replaced former Nogales consul Roberto Rodriguez Hernandez, named deputy director of protection and consular affairs in the Mexican Foreign Ministry in Mexico City.


Carlos Flores Vizcarra is in charge of the Tucson consulate.

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