Houston leaders address trade, tourism, politics with Mexican media

MEXICO CITY – Mayor Sylvester Turner, Texans President Jamey Roots and other Houston officials met in Mexico City Tuesday morning to address Houston's trade investment mission to Mexico, a day after the Texans played a historic game at Estadio Azteca in front of a crowd of almost 90,000.

Mayor Turner explained that the purpose of his trip to Houston, beyond attending the football game, had been to try to build on Houston's relationship with Mexico City and with the country of Mexico at large.

He pointed to tourism back and forth between the two cities, commerce and trade in the energy and medical industries and the possibility of a future partnership between Houston and Mexico City as sister cities.

“This is not a one-time effort for us,” said Roots. “Indeed, this is an opportunity for us to build bridges.”

There were 130 delegates from the city of Houston and six Houston City Council members in Mexico for the weekend, according to Mayor Turner, for the purpose of meeting with Mexican officials to discuss trade and tourism ahead of Super Bowl 51, which will be held in Houston on Feb. 17.

Roots explained that he is hopeful that Mexicans will make the trip to Houston for the big game, noting NRG Stadium's connection to the Mexican National Soccer Team, known as “El Tri," which has made several trips to Houston to play at the stadium.

“NRG is home to the Super Bowl, and if you remember nothing else, welcome to Houston around Super Bowl 51,” Roots said.

Turner and others took time to address questions from the Mexican media that ranged from the presidential election in the United States to the Super Bowl to the game Monday evening.

When Roots was asked about the incident at Estadio Azteca Monday night in which a laser was pointed at Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler, he appeared unfazed.

“Sometimes there are things that come up that have to be communicated to the National Football League, but the final whistle occurs and the game is over,” Roots said. “The most important attribute if you're going to be in this business ... is to have a short memory. I'm sure whatever issue arose will be researched thoroughly.”

Several questions from the Mexican press centered around President-elect Donald Trump and his incoming administration, and how the city of Houston would respond to comments made during the campaign about immigration, and Mexicans in particular.

“We've said also repeatedly that in Houston we don't build walls, we build relationships.” Mayor Turner responded. “Even in light of the election, and a lot of the things that were said in the election ... sometimes the way you campaign is not the way you govern.”

The speakers from Houston also addressed diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Mexico in regard to the World Petroleum Conference.

Houston is competing with Vancouver for a bid on hosting the event in the year 2020, and Mayor Turner indicated that he was counting on Mexico's vote to bring the event to Houston.