SAN DIEGO -- Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne is a career diplomat who has been stationed in Morocco, Afghanistan, China, Argentina, and France.
With more than 30 years of experience in combating the financing of terrorism, international energy policy, trade, and conflict resolution, Wayne was considered a natural fit for the position.
During a recent press conference in Mexico, Wayne said his focus for U.S.-Mexico relations will be "about much more than security."
However, the issue will stay on top of his agenda, as the Drug War violence in Mexico continues to escalate and the country prepares for its next presidential election in 2012.
As part of the Merida Initiative, the U.S. has spent almost $2 billion since 2007 paying for military equipment, judicial reform and training in Mexico and Central America.
"One of the most important things that I have on my list of priority objectives is making sure that we do successfully accelerate the implementation of all of our Merida Initiative programs," said Wayne to a full auditorium at UCSD's Institute of the Americas. "I would like to achieve the objectives that we laid out to support as effectively as possible our Mexican colleagues."
Ambassador Wayne said that conditions in Mexico have a direct impact on American security and prosperity, and he called for shared responsibility when it comes to the drug-related violence that has claimed more than 40,000 lives.
Ambassador Wayne's appointment follows the departure of Carlos Pascual, who stepped down last March after leaked documents published by Wikileaks revealed his criticism of Mexican military efforts to fight the drug cartels.