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LATIN AMERICA | 23-12-2019 14:22

Mexico's ambassador to Argentina resigns after book theft allegation

Ambassador Óscar Ricardo Valero resigns post, as relatives say he may have suffered behavioural changes due to a brain tumour.

A Mexican ambassador who was called home after allegedly attempting to steal a book from a shop in Argentina has resigned, officials said, and relatives reported he may have suffered behavioural changes due to a brain tumor.

On Monday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called the case "painful"and "sad".

Officials said late Sunday that Ambassador Óscar Ricardo Valero had resigned for health health reasons, and Mexico's Foreign Relations Secretary, Marcelo Ebrard, wrote in his Twitter account that Valero "is undergoing neurological treatment".

Mexican news outlets reported that Valero allegedly also tried to take a T-shift without paying from a shop at the airport after he was called back to Mexico in early December.

At the request of relatives, Ebrard's office published a doctor's letter saying Valero had been treated for a brain tumor that may have altered his behaviour.

Ebrard described Valero, 77, a career diplomat with a long pedigree in Mexico's left, as "a great person."

A letter by Dr. Ana Luisa Sosa states that Valero was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2012 that resulted in "behavioural changes."

While the tumour was surgically removed years ago, the letter says behaviour changes in the last one-and-a-half years – including traffic tickets and "difficulties in personal relationships" – suggests the tumour or its after-effects may have returned or worsened.

Video of the bookstore incident earlier this year appears to show the diplomat tucking the book – worth about US$9.50 – into a stack of papers he is holding and being stopped by security after passing a detector gate on the way out.

The incident is especially embarrassing given López Obrador's main policy aim of promoting honesty among public servants.

– AP

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