A few decades ago, it would have been unthinkable for dozens of Americans to be murdered in Mexico (648 between 2002 and 2012) without so much as a word from the powerful neighbor to the north. These days, however, that situation is a reality that comes from violence the U.S. is partly responsible for.

"Other than these negative images, there are other positive images of Mexico ... Mexico has these images of innovation, creation of a new Mexico with young graduates who are ready to compete in the world. That is another view of Mexico," said U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Anthony Wayne in an interview with this newspaper today.

The bilateral relationship has transformed radically. The interventions and threats of the past century are over and we now see cooperation and sensitivity in diplomatic matters. Ambassador Wayne's interview reflects this.

It's not a sudden change, but rather an evolution that has reflected the diminishing power of the United States. While it still has the world's largest economy and military, the U.S. can no longer take liberties in upsetting its neighbors; it has enough problems in dealing with other growing powers fighting for land.

In the context of global competition, it's crucial to not only be at peace with one's neighbors but to have them as allies. North America has the potential to compete with the spheres of commercial alliances that already exist in Europe and Asia. The prosperity of the region depends on it and the best proof of this is undocumented immigration: Without it there wouldn't be anyone in the U.S. willing to work the hard jobs that serve as the base of the country's economy, such as agriculture.

That the United States’ bilateral agenda is no longer monothematic is the greatest step the current government has taken so far. At the beginning of the century it focused on the legalization of undocumented workers; then it concentrated excessively on drug-trafficking issues (not on the security of citizens). But now, the words of Ambassador Wayne speak to real possibilities of development in Mexico.

There is still plenty of reticence, from history and from prejudices, which keeps Americans and Mexicans from seeing themselves as part of the same community. What's best for both sides is to move smoothly into that community, which, in fact, already exists.