Supporters of longtime Santa Ana Mexican consulate employees who say they were fired without cause last month by a newly politicized consular team which some have accused of favoritism and elitism, protested in front of the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores) in Mexico City late last week. The group demanded the reinstatement of the longtime Santa Ana consular employees and the intervention of Mexican president Felipe Calderón.
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The tricky thing for the group, however, is that Calderón hand picked current consul Carlos Rodríguez y Quezada to replace his popular predecessor, Luis Miguel Ortiz Haro last February. The group of protesters, which included former local consulate employees Silvia Jimenez and Socorro Sarmiento (both of whom quit before last month's firings), also published an op-ed in the huge, popular, left-leaning daily, La Jornada on Thursday, the same day of the protests. The op-ed was signed by MALDEF, LULAC, Friends of Orange County, the National Alliance for Human Rights and the Mexican American Political Association and Labor Unions.
In it, the group writes: "It would take too long to enumerate the various political changes at this consulate, the changes in service and outreach to our communities, and the ongoing organizing of elitist social events."
Silvia Jimenez, who was among those in the group seeking an interview with government heads, says the interview wasn't immediately granted, but that the group will continue to appeal for the government's intervention. Jimenez is among other former employees who say the consulate and community outreach programs have suffered since Rodriguez y Quezada set up shop in Santa Ana last year.