Open Letter: A Sustainable Economic Arizona-Mexico Relationship

Maryanne Weiss

Why can I speak on this topic? 

My company, Gustare Ltd., is 25 years old this year and over the course of our history as a company, I have been involved with Mexico on many levels.  Culturally, Mexico has always been my travel choice to relax and, as an art collector, it has been a unique place for finding unusual and talented artists.  In the ’80s, since my company is mainly a community developer, we were deeply involved in waterfront development in Baja.  In the ’90s, my jewelry subsidiary was a regular shipper to Mexico through the Port of Laredo.  And in the 2000s, I was a consultant to FUMEC, a non-governmental organization created to promote and assist collaboration in science and technology between the United States and Mexico. Today, my community development work keeps me engaged with Mexico through cultural, economic, and educational interchanges that are beneficial to both our Arizona communities and Mexico.  On another level, as CEO of VerdeXchange Arizona, my significant involvement with Mexico comes from directly offering the platform opportunity for Arizona, Mexico, and regional and global players to come together and create fruitful, sustainable economic growth.

It is time for us to come to a reconceptualization of what our relationship is with Mexico.  Why should we do so and why now?  Our governor is making an historic trip to Mexico this week.  Now is the time for us to reflect on this and decide where we stand and why.

Arizona and Mexico share the same border, which has been a negative.  This border is meaningful and important.  This is our region—this is where we live—not someplace in another part of the world. It behooves us to put together our stellar people to produce the clear thinking, tools, and solutions to create a change from negative to positive.  The present operating system, while working at its best, just isn’t good enough.  We are seemingly ignorant on both sides of the border about what we can produce by working together.  Yes, there are problems.  But problems are meant to be solved, not boxed.  We all know that we can do it.  As Americans and free-thinking people, we do not see walls as answers.  We see free-flowing commerce, law-abiding people, family-oriented people with good work-ethics, honest business dealings, and peace as our foundation. 

Mexico, a G20 country, has one of the greatest economies in the world and has overtaken Russia as an economic power.  How many other countries can say that they share their land border with a G20 power besides the US and Mexico?  Together we will soon exceed over 500 million people and will be in control of enough energy, natural resources, and human capital to be able to solve the majority of our problems by ourselves. Issue? We have to learn to work together.

As Americans, as Arizonans, as Mexicans, we all come from the same place—we are pioneers and immigrant populations that came from some other place in the world.  Our backgrounds are no different.  We are family-oriented people with hearty work-ethics and love of our children, our country, education, and respect for each other. We are peace-loving people.  As for the criminal element that abides among us—that we must control.  But as society has always learned, it is when we band together that these things all change.

So change is what this is all about.  Change in our attitudes toward each other and toward the realization that this relationship is a win-win that needs to be worked on now.  We live together, so let’s make it worthwhile to do so for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren—not to mention the growth of our state and our region. 

Maryanne Weiss
President, Gustare Ltd.
CEO, VerdeXchange Arizona LLC
Partner, Amstar llc