MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Wednesday he will nominate current Education Secretary Esteban Moctezuma as Mexico’s next ambassador to the United States.
The choice of Moctezuma was seen as another sign of strong ties between López Obrador and business magnate Ricardo Salinas Pliego, Moctezuma’s former boss. Moctezuma once ran Salinas Pliego’s charitable foundation.
Local media reported that Salinas Pliego was the main beneficiary of a bill submitted recently by López Obrador’s Morena party to make the central bank buy up U.S. dollars that private banks can’t get rid of. Salinas Pliego’s bank reportedly has the biggest problem with U.S. cash it cannot get rid of due to heightened sensitivity about money-laundering.
López Obrador said Wednesday that Moctezuma would take over from current Ambassador Martha Bárcena, who is retiring. Moctezuma’s nomination goes to the Senate for confirmation.
The Cambridge-educated Moctezuma has held a number of government posts but has little diplomatic experience, and thus was not the most obvious choice for what is by far the country’s most important ambassadorship.