[BBC] – Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has named Luis Videgaray as his new foreign minister. Mr Videgaray was sacked as finance minister last year over the role he played in organising the visit of then-US presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Mr Trump had angered Mexicans, calling Mexican migrants to the US “rapists”. Mr Videgaray will now lead talks with the Trump administration, including on the wall Mr Trump has promised to build between the US and Mexico.
Announcing the appointment, President Pena Nieto said that “the instruction to minister Videgaray is to accelerate the dialogue and contacts so that, from the first day of the new [US] administration, we can establish the basis of a constructive working relationship”.Mr Videgaray was seen as the main organiser of the meeting between Mr Trump and the Mexican president in August, which was criticised by Mexicans both in the national press and on social media.
Many Mexicans saw the invitation by Mr Pena Nieto as a sign that the Mexican president was bowing to Mr Trump even though the latter had said during his campaign that he wanted to build a border wall between the US and Mexico which he insisted Mexico would pay for.
President Pena Nieto said the meeting was to convey Mexico’s interests to Mr Trump. But when Mr Trump appeared at a campaign rally in the US just hours later again promising that Mexico would pay for his planned wall “100%”, President Pena Nieto said that “we could have done things in a better way”.
Mr Videgaray stepped down from his post as finance minister just days after the visit and a spokesperson for the ministry said at the time that Mr Videgaray would not take on another public office.
But on Wednesday, President Pena Nieto named him as his new foreign minister, saying that Mr Videgaray would “promote Mexico’s interests without diminishing our sovereignty and the dignity of Mexicans”.
Mr Videgaray is replacing Claudia Ruiz Massieu who reportedly was opposed to President Pena Nieto hosting Mr Trump. Mr Trump has in the past praised Mr Videgaray as “brilliant”.