Mexican Attach Moved from Newsroom to Mission
By Michelle Collins
July 30th, 2008
As a former journalist who at one time even interviewed the ambassador for whom he now works, Alberto Lozano said he plans to develop close ties with Canada's media in his role as the Mexican Embassy's new press attach.
It is an approach Mr. Lozano brings not only from his experience as a reporter, but also as a former press attach at one of Mexico's busiest consulates in San Diego where the California media frequently, if not daily, report on issues related to the massive immigration of Mexicans into the Golden State
Mr. Lozano said he chose the consulate in San Diego over postings in Spain and Argentina for the experience the busy California posting would provide. With 80 million crossings per year, the border port of entry between California and Mexico is the busiest in the world.
As press attach, Mr. Lozano's duties included answering calls to press in the United States and Mexico and relaying important messages to Mexicans on both sides of the border where his priority was their safety. That job included trying to teach potential illegal immigrants the risks involved in being smuggled across the border, and trying to deter them from making the harrowing journey.
He admits the work involved many late-night and weekend shifts. Some of the most stressful moments were in 2005 and 2007 when forest fires forced his family to evacuate the region while he was still doing his job.
After six years at the consulate in San Diego, one of 47 across the United States, Mr. Lozano said he was keen for a new posting and arrived in Ottawa on July 1, just in time to catch the Canada Day fireworks as he travelled above them in the airplane.
Whereas his work in the U.S. often demanded a focus on specific issues and individuals, usually related to the problems and risks of illegal immigration by Mexicans, Mr. Lozano said he expects relations with Canada will demand a broader focus.
During his time in Ottawa, Mr. Lozano said it is his mission to bring a renewed view of the bilateral partnership, the benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and to prove that Mexico is still one of the most important tourist destinations worldwide. On this, Mr. Lozano proudly notes Mexico's UNESCO World Heritage Sites as examples of the history and culture Mexico has beyond the resort city of Cancun.
“If we are not able to connect with Canadian media to spread news of all the issues, there's no point to be here,” Mr. Lozano says.
“I hope to make us bigger, improving the programs that we have in our bilateral relationship that's part of my job. Sometimes the press attach is not only media, but sort of a public affairs person.”
Mr. Lozano studied Communications Sciences at Intercontinental University in his hometown of Mexico City and went on to be a journalist for 16 years. He reported for newspapers and eventually for TV, where he met his wife Karla Buenrostro, who at the time was also a television reporter and host of a radio show. The couple has two daughters, aged 10 and seven.
In 2000, Mr. Lozano stepped out of his role as a journalist when he was invited to work in the ministry of foreign affairs' press section under the newly elected president Vicente Fox. In this role, Mr. Lozano worked as national information director and then general director of social communications in charge of the press attachs throughout all of Mexico's consulates.
“It was a great experience to manage and co-ordinate, direct with the minister of foreign affairs and co-ordinate with the presidency,” Mr. Lozano says.