Mexico pulls ambassador from Buenos Aires over ‘book store shoplifting’

MEXICO CITY – This week Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard ordered the prompt return of Ambassador Oscar Ricardo Valero Recio Becerra from his Argentina commission after surveillance footage caught the diplomat red-handed trying to shoplift a nine-US-dollar book from an iconic Buenos Aires bookstore.

“If it is verified that the video is true, [Valero] will be separated from his position immediately. Zero tolerance for dishonesty,” Ebrard posted on Twitter.

The incident took place on October 26 at around 1.30 pm and it became publicly known this Sunday past after the videos were released.

Valero is now to appear before the Foreign Ministry’s Ethics Committee and faces dismissal. But President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) called for the career diplomat not to be “lynched,” adding that “we all make mistakes.”

AMLO also pointed out that it will be up to the Foreign Ministry to decide on the future if the 76-year-old Valero, who is said to belong to the President’s closest circle.

The El Ateneo store, formerly a theatre, claims to be the largest bookstore in the world, where it became notorious on November 28 last year when France’s President Emmanuel Macron chose it for one of his stops during his tour of Buenos Aires as he attended the 2018 G20 Summit. In 2019, it was named the “world’s most beautiful bookstore” by the National Geographic.

Valero allegedly “tried to steal” the biography of Giacomo Casanova, where Guy Chaussinand-Nogaret narrates “in detail his adventurous life of seducer, secret agent, con artist, traveler, magician and player.”–MercoPress