US Ambassador to Mexico to Resign, Amid Strained Relations

The U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Roberta Jacobson, is resigning from her post this spring, amid strained relations between the two countries and on the heels of other notable departures from the State Department.

In a note sent to embassy staff Thursday, Jacobson wrote that after more than 31 years in government service, she has submitted her resignation and it takes effect May 5, two years to the day after she was sworn in as ambassador.

“I have come to the difficult decision that it is the right time to move on to new challenges and adventures. … This decision is all the more difficult because of my profound belief in the importance of the U.S.-Mexico relationship and knowledge that it is at a crucial moment,” Jacobson said.

She did not say why she made the decision, but tweeted later Thursday that she is leaving “in search of other opportunities.”

Diplomatic ties between Washington and Mexico city have been strained under the Trump administration amid the president’s tough stance and sharp rhetoric on migration and trade, and repeated vows to build a border wall and force Mexico to pay for it.

The countries are currently in a seventh round of talks in Mexico City on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, along with Canada.

A career diplomat, Jacobson previously served as assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs and is seen having a deep understanding of the region and the Mexico-U.S. relationship.

After the December 2014 shock announcement that the United States and Cuba would re-establish diplomatic relations after decades of enmity, Jacobson spearheaded negotiations with Havana — something that irked Cuban-American lawmakers and led to a long delay in her Senate confirmation as ambassador to Mexico.

Jacobson is the United States’ first female ambassador to Mexico. During her tenure in the country, she has taken special interest in and spoken frequently about issues such as the violence against women, human rights and the killings of journalists in the country.

She tweeted that she will leave “with Mexico in my soul and in my heart.”

In early February, Tom Shannon, the State Department’s top career diplomat and another official with extensive experience in the Americas, announced that he would retire as soon as a successor for his post was chosen and ready to fill the job.

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