The ambassador of Mexico to Serbia, His Excellency Marco Antonio García Blanco believes that the relations between Serbia and his home country are built on our similar spirits, culture, and political aspirations throughout our long and exciting histories
What are your impressions on Belgrade as a place for living and city with long history?
Belgrade is a city with great history and it has all the comforts of modern life to enjoy it fully. It offers broad and beautiful natural areas, walkways, modern shopping centers and multiple sites of historic value. It has a broad and rich cultural and artistic agenda, as well as museums, art galleries and antique shops. Its gastronomic offer is diverse, as are its vineyards, of great quality by the way. The meeting of the Danube and Sava rivers give it additional attractiveness, as does the Kalemegdan fortress, Saint Sava´s temple and the multiple orthodox monasteries, just to mention some of its features.
How many people in this area are familiar with the culture, tradition and way of life in Mexico?
In Serbia there is broad interest for Mexico. Not just because of the similarities of our history and desires for the future, but as well because music, dance, visual arts and literature. Let me share a piece of information that proves the reaches of this interest: just during the last year and a half eight books from renowned mexican authors have been translated into serbian. This wouldn’t be possible without a public truly interested on them. I won’t speak in depth of the impact of mexican soap operas, but a lot of people tell me that they started learning spanish because of them. Both countries are of tradition and there is a natural empathy between our peoples which eases mutual understanding and comprehension.
How would you describe economic and political relations between Mexico and Serbia?
Mexico and Serbia have a good level of political dialogue expressed by the natural sympathy professed by both people and government given the similarity of historical challenges and aspirations for peace and development; because the high level exchange registered trough the length of the bilateral relation; because of the multiple coincidences and cooperation of both countries in the multilateral sphere; because of the institutionalization of political dialogue trough the establishment of a Mechanism of Political Consultations on Matters of Mutual Interest which meets periodically, because of the relations on the topic of parliamentary diplomacy and because Mexico supports Serbia´s territorial integrity.
On matters of investment, it stands out the presence of the mexican company America Movil through VIP a subsidiary of Telekom Austria, of which the Mexican company holds 51% of stock. With a net investment in Serbia of 980 million euros (1,137.50 million dollars), VIP is the biggest “greenfield” investor in Serbia, the third biggest provider of mobile telephony and internet in the country with a market share of 24.1% and 2,182,800 active lines, generating 1,200 direct jobs.
Do you miss something from the country you are visiting during your stay in capital of Serbia?
One always misses the country where one was born, grew and where one was impregnated with its sounds, smells, flavors, colors, customs and habits. As well there is nostalgia for family and friends, who are no longer as far away thanks to the technology revolution we are living. Nevertheless, I believe that the diplomatic vocation incites us to always be curious about other latitudes. Each country has its own personality and identity that makes them unique and for my family as well as myself it is a great privilege to have the opportunity of representing Mexico in this beautiful, nice and gentle country, where we feel like at home.
Mexico is known as the country of extraordinary beauty. From nature and coastline to its cities. Do you think that Serbia is interesting from a touristic point of view?
With 130 million inhabitants, Mexico is the tenth most populated country and the 15th biggest economy in the world. Currently, Mexico is the sixth most visited country in the world, having registered 39.3 million international tourists in 2017. Serbia is a country of great beauty and with a lot to offer to international travelers. Touristic activity is growing in Serbia and the development of the sector is encouraging. As Mexico´s Ambassador, I have brought to the attention of authorities in the sector and to tour operators and travel agencies that 19 million mexicans traveled abroad in 2017, reason why both countries should continue coordinating actions in order that more mexicans come and visit, enjoy and learn of this wonderful country of Serbia.
Which projects will you emphasize in the upcoming period in terms of cooperation between two geographically distant countries?
In the coming years Mexico will continue investing in Serbia´s mobile telephony and internet, providing more and better services at a competitive price and generating more direct employment. We will promote bilateral trade and actions of cooperation in education and culture. Tourism has a great potential for both parties. Thanks to the advances in communication and transport, we are not so far away anymore. We only need a phone call, a text message or an email to have real time communications. As well we have more and varied air connections that allow travel from one country to the other in practically the same day. In summary paraphrasing a mexican saying, we want “More Mexico in Serbia and more Serbia in Mexico”.
Do you find Serbian culture interesting and to what extent?
Of course. Serbia is a country with a rich and interesting culture. Suffice to remember that in its territory you´ve had the presence of the roman, ottoman and austro-hungarian empires. Although I was aware of Emperor Constantine’s origin, I was surprised to learn that 17 roman emperors were born in today’s Serbian territory. The Belgrade Academy of Arts has a deserved reputation, as does Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, the Belgrade National Theater Opera and the Choir of the Serbian Radio and Television. This space is not enough to account for some many personalities from Serbian culture.