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Press Releases '03-'04

STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR GARZA IN REFERENCE TO DIPLOMATIC NOTE PROTESTING INTERRUPTION OF FUNERAL SERVICES FOR LANCE CPL. JUAN LOPEZ RANGEL

Mexico City
07-06-04

Today the U.S. Embassy in Mexico delivered a diplomatic note to the government of Mexico asking for an explanation of why the July 4th ceremony honoring fallen U.S. Marine Juan Lopez Rangel was interrupted by armed Mexican military personnel as he was being buried in his hometown of San Luis de la Paz, Guanajuato.

Referring to the diplomatic note, Ambassador Tony Garza stated, "We are protesting the inappropriate conduct of the Mexican soldiers at the funeral of this brave Marine. This should have been an opportunity not only to honor a hero, but also for Mexico to honor one of its own sons.

I have respectfully requested an explanation of why, despite our coordination and compliance with the instructions of Mexican authorities, military personnel of Mexico interrupted the ceremony and made demands that were inconsistent with diplomatic protocol. Such action is offensive to the spirit of cooperation the United States enjoys with Mexico."

The Ambassador went on to say, "The interruption of the ceremony was an affront to the dignity of the family in their grief, and the sacrifice of a Mexican citizen, and they deserve an apology from those who caused this hurtful incident.

I sincerely hope that the widow, family and friends of Lance Corporal Lopez take comfort from the honors rendered him by his fellow Marines, as well as the outpouring of support by the thousands of people of San Luis de la Paz."

The Ambassador closed by noting, "Corporal Lopez's sacrifice deserved nothing less than the fullest respect from all of us. It was in this spirit that we fulfilled the request of Corporal Lopez's widow and family that he be buried with military honors in his hometown. Let's all remember what this event was for - to honor a hero who was a credit to both our countries."

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