In an exclusive interview with The Yucatan Times, new U.S. Consul General in Merida David Micó promised that during his three-year tenure here he will promote educational, economic and tourism links between the U.S. and the Yucatan Peninsula.
Micó, who assumed the Merida post in August after U.S. consular stints in far-flung countries including Ukraine, Hungary, Uzbekistan, Spain and El Salvador, said he is committed to bringing U.S. universities to recruit exchange students from the Yucatan. By the same token, Micó said he will promote U.S. students coming to Yucatan institutions.
On the economic front, the new consul said stimulating U.S. investment in the Peninsula will be a priority. “I will be focusing on requests I hear and see, associating needs with opportunities,” he said. “As I learn more about the region, I will help make connections. My duty is to help anyone (interested in investing here). I will serve as a point of connection.”
Micó, who speaks Russian, Hungarian and Ucranian in addition to English and Spanish, is the son of a Spanish father and American mother who came from monolingual families. As a result of his multicultural upbringing, he said he has always relished cultural diversity and bridging differences between people and countries.
“My family background is why I chose to study international relations and pursue a career in the foreign service,” he said.
In an effort to reach out to U.S. citizens in the Yucatan Peninsula, the consul plans to hold meetings with Americans living in the Progreso area, Valladolid and other places to get to know them better. The Progreso meeting will be held 2:00 p.m. Oct. 7 at Los Flamingos restaurant on the malecon.
Consul Micó has already participated in this type of meeting in Merida on Sept. 18 co-sponsored by The Yucatan Times at Hennessy’s Irish Pub, a popular meeting place for the Expat Community, located right on Paseo de Montejo, the most iconic street on Merida’s downtown.
For the growing American expat community in the Yucatan Peninsula, the consulate offers several important services for both emergency and routine situations, Micó said.
Emergency services are those provided when American citizens have accidents or run into problems with local authorities. In these situations, the consulate tries to facilitate communication and help resolve issues, but doesn´t provide legal counsel, Micó said.
When requested, the consulate also helps to locate Americans in the Yucatan Peninsula who have lost touch with family members in the U.S. who are concerned about their loved ones’ welfare.
“We will help find a person and get a message to them, trying to put folks back in touch with each other,” Micó said. But he added that privacy restrictions don’t allow the consulate to do more than act as an intermediary.
Micó said that the Quintana Roo consular agencies in Playa del Carmen and Cancun receive frequent requests for these “special” services due to the large number of U.S. citizens transiting this area.
Routine consulate services include U.S. passport renewals, notary services for U.S. transactions requiring notarized documents, registration of births and certification of deaths.
The consulate also maintains a list of local medical and legal providers who speak English, but does not recommend specific providers. The lists are available on the consulate’s website.
The Merida consulate works with the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and the other eight consulates throughout Mexico to try to advance American interests in Mexico, Micó said.
After completing his three-year tenure in Merida, Micó said he plans to continue his career with the U.S. Foreign Service, wherever that may take him.
by Alejandro Azcárate and Robert Adams for The Yucatan Times
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