During the ceremony, as a tribute to Mexican diplomat Gilberto Bosques Saldívar, they both unveiled the plaque announcing that the Regional Council Square is to be named after him.
During the event, held at the Town Hall, the president declared that, “The actions of Gilberto Bosques serve as an example and an inspiration to Mexico and the world, which France has recognized today.”
He said that, “Today my country assumes its global responsibility in keeping with the principles promoted and defended by Bosques. By this I mean the self-determination of peoples, non-intervention, the peaceful settlement of disputes and the respect, protection and promotion of human rights.”
He explained that, “With these values, we will continue writing new pages of friendship and cooperation with the world, with France and Marseille. We will continue advancing together with firm republican determination and profound democratic conviction.”
President Peña Nieto added that, “His work on behalf of refugees has endured to this day, because his humanitarian work inspired the development of new standards of protection for human rights, which are now enshrined in various international treaties. His legacy and example constitute an indissoluble historic link that will forever link Marseille and Mexico.”
He said that in total, thanks to its courageous diplomacy and solidarity, “Mexico saved an estimated 30 to 40 thousand people from extermination. In response to the destructive capacity of totalitarianism, intolerance and hatred, Gilberto Bosques proposed the constructive capacity of humane treatment, justice and reason.”
The Mexican president said that, “During the Second World War, Marseille was an example of courage and a bastion of resistance. Here, at times of great adversity, the supreme principles of the French people were expressed: liberty, equality and fraternity. At that time, a universal Mexican, Gilberto Bosques Saldívar, wrote one of the most memorable and honorable chapters in my country’s foreign policy in this port.”
The president explained that, as Mexican Consul General in France, he settled in Marseille in 1940, 75 years ago, after being forced to leave Paris due to the German occupation, and "with a deep sense of solidarity, understood the gravity of the historical moment it had fallen to him to live, and determinedly, without hesitation, placed Mexican diplomacy at the service of the most vulnerable.”
The president said that under the leadership of Gilberto Bosques, the Mexican Consulate received and protected thousands of men and women, regardless of their social or economic status, ideology or religion, nationality or race. “Bosques gave them food, shelter and hope,” he said.
He said that thousands of people, including intellectuals, artists and political opposition leaders, approached the Consulate to apply for Mexican visas to save their lives.
In a separate ceremony at the Museum of the Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean (MUCEM), President Peña Nieto and his French counterpart François Hollande issued the Gilberto Bosques 2015 postage stamp.
THE PRESENCE OF THE PRESIDENT OF MEXICO SYMBOLIZES A VERY STRONG AND PROMISING RELATIONSHIP OF TRUST: JEAN-CLAUDE GAUDIN
Mayor of Marseille and Vice President of the Senate Jean-Claude Gaudin said that Gilberto Bosques “has enabled freedom and tolerance to triumph; freedom against totalitarianism and barbarity,” meaning that the event in his honor was organized around a hero, “a just man within the just.”
Marseille is now experiencing a historic moment, he told the Mexican president, “Your presence symbolizes a very promising relationship of great trust,” and thanked him for his visit to Marseille, France’s second most important city, while expressing, “All our consideration and we hope to see you in the future and further strengthen the bonds of friendship.”
He explained that Gilberto Bosques is an outstanding figure in French history, since he engaged in “a significant act of resistance, which was a light for thousands of refugees and oppressed people fleeing the Fascist and Nazi regimes”.
The plaque unveiled in his memory is a great testament to the “triumph of humanism and freedom in any form to triumph over totalitarianism. Nowadays, this message of peace is very important at a time when the barbarity of terrorism continues to exist,” he said.
Among other activities in Marseille, President Enrique Peña Nieto paid a visit to the Airbus Helicopters company. On his arrival at the factory, he was received by his French counterpart François Hollande, together with Faury Guillaume, CEO of Airbus Helicopters; Denis Ranque, CEO of Airbus Group, and Ricardo Chapel, Corporate Secretary of Airbus Helicopters, commissioned to provide an explanation during a tour of the “Super Puma” chain.
After the tour, the Mexican President and the President of France flew over Calanques National Park by helicopter.
Subsequently, the two leaders were driven to the port, opposite the esplanade of the Mediterranean Villa, for a visit to the training ship Cuauhtémoc, currently conducting his training route for the cadets that crew it through some of the world’s ports.
Lastly, before returning to Paris to continue his state visit to France, President Peña Nieto attended a dinner hosted in his honor by French president François Hollande.