Ricardo Pineda has spent the last several weeks in Tucson meeting with elected officials and community leaders, learning about everything the Mexican Consulate in the city offers.
Pineda was named head of the consulate in Tucson in early June and has not wasted any time learning about the community he has come to serve.
Before coming to Arizona, the Mexico City native opened the first consulate of Mexico in Boise, Idaho, in 2008.
He has lived more than 15 years in the United States and worked with border communities in different capacities, including political adviser for border issues at the Mexican Embassy in Washington and deputy consul general in San Diego.
During his time in Tucson, he hopes to continue growing the cultural and commercial ties between the two countries.
Here's what he has to say about some issues involving the consulate:
What is your vision for the consulate in Tucson?
The priority will always be to provide a service to our Mexican communities, defending the rights of Mexicans abroad while respecting the sovereignty of the state of Arizona and promoting Mexico's image.
What aspect of the consulate would you like to develop?
An important area I would like to further develop is the exchange of ideas among businessmen. That businessmen on both sides of the border continue to exchange and identify common ground, which will lead to the creation of synergies of collaboration that will translate to new business and sources of employment, is very relevant.
In your opinion, what is the most important role that a consulate in the United States plays?
Definitely defending the rights of Mexicans abroad is a key role, given the size of the Mexican communities that live in the United States.
How do you believe your experience has prepared you to be the consul in Tucson?
I believe that my fundamental advantage comes from having worked with Mexican communities outside our country and having already done so in a border region - in San Diego. I was in charge of border issues in the embassy in Washington, where I traveled to the border once or twice a month and participated in groups focused on border development and infrastructure.
Going to Idaho and opening a consulate and starting to work with Mexican communities in a place where there hadn't been Mexican representation was also enriching in terms of knowing the situation, the needs and most important demands for service from our community.
How would you characterize the time you've spent in Tucson so far?
A very intense learning experience and of great involvement with the community and representatives. When one arrives in a new place, you have the responsibility of getting to know it perfectly, to know what's going on throughout the city and our jurisdiction. It has been very intense, and knowing me, it will continue to be so.
How do you plan to address the issue of border deaths?
The consulate has played a very important role of collaboration on both sides of the border. The most relevant activity is prevention, and we will continue to work as intensely as we have in relaying the information to our community regarding the effect that crossing has when necessary precautions are not taken.
It's summertime, it's just beginning, and it's an issue that worries us and keeps us busy. It will have us working in the upcoming months, not just in the Mexican Consulate in Tucson, but also in our embassy in Washington and the rest of the consulates nationwide.
It is definitely an issue that worries us.
About Ricardo Pineda
• Age: 52
• Family: Married with an 18-year-old son.
• Education: Bachelor's degree in international relations from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
• Previous post: Consul of Mexico in Boise, Idaho.
Contact reporter Perla Trevizo at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 573-4213. On Twitter: @Perla_Trevizo