One of the most satisfying aspects of my career with the Foreign Service has been being able to tell America’s story of meritocracy, diversity, and economic progress in the countries where I have served. I learned as a student in the early 80’s at the London School of Economics that understanding of American people, society, and values was lacking encouraging me to join the State Department after a brief career as an attorney in Texas. This has changed over time with technological innovations and the globalization of people, goods, and services that have shrunken distances and reduced the cost of travel which makes the US and its culture more accessible to the world. But it is still a story that needs to be told because in it lays the source of our strength and the hope for overcoming our current difficulties.
As an economic officer serving largely in Southeast Asia and South America, I have been able to tell audiences in those countries about the challenges to the US economy and the American worker of opening up to countries with less developed economies and the pain that many sectors of our economy have felt as companies transferred their operations overseas to realize the competitive advantages generated by a globalized economy. From my early days as part of the negotiating team of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Investment Chapter, to my most recent experience serving as a press spokesman in Peru, where we negotiated our newest trade promotion agreement, it has always been part of my job to explain that trade liberalization requires sacrifices from both sides. I have always felt that my Hispanic heritage has helped me to communicate that message more effectively, especially if I was able to deliver it in Spanish!
The author served most recently as a Press Spokesman at the US Embassy in Lima, with prior economic assignment in the Philippines, Venezuela, and Malaysia, in addition to his current assignment in the Office of Directives Management and prior tours to the US Mission to the OAS and in EB’s Offices of Energy and Investment Affairs.