The Frog Story

For 28 years Mario González-Román’s business card contained the State Department logo, which included the official American Eagle. When he retired, starting on August 10, 2001, he adopted a Frog as a symbol to represent anything he embarked on, to include his current activities in the private sector. His e-mail address is also identified as This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the story behind the use of this tailless amphibian is, I believe, both fascinating and interesting. The frogs contained on this document are only two designs available in the many Websites that make reference to this smooth-skinned species that live in a damp or aquatic habitat. According to popular belief, Frogs are good omens. They are supposed to bring good luck to their owners, or so Chinese popular assertion goes.

Wood carving of U.S. seal was found bugged at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

Sometime in 1976, I received extensive training by the State Department Security Office (currently, Diplomatic Security Service-DSS) at the Mexican Presidential Military Staff’s Sporting Club (Club Deportivo del EMP) in Mexico City.

The training was tailored to meet the specific requirements of an elite group comprised of selected officers coming from various branches of the military. This program was part of a routine assistance program requested by the Government of Mexico from the United States of America to obtain the best possible security expertise in the protection of dignitaries. The officers in attendance would later form part of the Protective Detail for President-elect José López Portillo. I acted both as a Translator and one more of the students attending such a seminar. I was so active in this long, tiring and intense project that the members of the so-called U. S. Mobile Training Team expressed words of praise to my supervisors for my involvement. I was later presented with the first of 4 Meritorious Honor Awards, received in my career.

Soon after, I began providing assistance to both the Secret Service, Diplomatic Security Service and other law enforcement agencies in their numerous protective assignments when Principals under their jurisdiction visited Mexico. The first one of these high-profile dignitaries was Dr. Henry Kissinger, then Secretary of State, who came to Acapulco, as a guest of the late Mexican president Miguel Alemán. These visits entailed anticipated, detailed arrangements. Mexican police presence included the EMP, Federal Security Directorate (DFS) – an organization no longer in existence, which had same functions inintelligence information as today’s CISEN-, Federal Highway Patrol –a law enforcement agency that merged into what is today PFP- and the Acapulco City Uniformed Police Department. We would spend an average of 3 weeks ahead of each visit, making sure every detail was met and that no mistakes were made. Our Mexican police counterparts always worked closely with us.

The then Acapulco Chief of Police was impressed with the amount of work involved, to include the use of military Explosive Ordnance sniffing dog (K9) teams, armored limousines, helicopters, support by the U. S. Air Force, Navy, Army, Marines and every federal agency charged with assuring protection of the State Department Secretary, who as an exception then was protected by the Secret Service. Upon the termination of this assignment, the Chief of Police called me into his office. He said he could not believe the amount of preparation, sophisticated technology, logistics and complicated work involved in a visit of this nature in such a tranquil, peaceful resort. I wanted to let you know I have a lot of respect for what you do, the Chief said. He further said, I am a native of the State of Guerrero (where Acapulco is located) and as a token of my appreciation for your support, to my staff and me I would like to present you with a small gift.

I opened a small box and inside came this tiny frog, similar in its design to the larger one used on the first page of this document. I still treasure that old, now rusty frog, quite heavy for its size, made of silver from Taxco. It always sits right next to my computer. My boss then, Mr. William Roche, said no problem, keep it, it’s a nice gift. U. S. Government regulations forbade us to accept gifts to prevent conflict of interest. I brought this tiny frog to my office in Mexico City. I placed it in on top of my desk, where I hoped with time the promised good luck would enhance my goals in life and profession.

In all honesty, I did not pay much attention to such a small piece of decoration. One day, the office I worked for held a surprise birthday party in my honor and among other gifts, I received a cute tie with frogs of different sizes and colors. On another occasion, as a joke, a secretary gave me underwear with frogs, supposed to be worn in intimacy for increased good luck. My counterparts in the Mexican Government, office colleagues and personal friends continued to present me with these gifts. I packed my office with frogs. I had all kinds, singing, jumping, and dancing frogs. All of them, gifts from people who just wanted to wish me luck. I no longer could keep the number of frogs in a department where serious business was conducted. So, I decided to bring my Ranas (Spanish word for Frogs) to my house.

Many sad things did happen to me. I lost my home in the 1985 earthquake, ended my 20-year old marriage, underwent a 4-year divorce, my only son and I went through several horrible tragedies, accidents but we never lost faith in God and good luck was always with us. They were much less painful, thanks to these gracious animals. Also present were the good intentions of the many friends we have. The house where we live currently, located at Minatitlán 12, Colonia Roma, in Mexico City, owned by Chole, my 85-year old mother, harbors about 500 frogs. We are proud of this symbol and have adopted it in the hope that such Good Luck continues to be present in everything we do.

PS - Was told a story about a lady in the hospital who was near death when an area Chaplain came to visit her. This Chaplain was a very young female with long blond hair. She listened to the lady who was ill and left her a small gift for comfort. It was a tiny ceramic frog. The next day one of the people from the lady's church came to visit. The lady told her friend about the beautiful young Chaplain who had come to visit her. The friend was so impressed with the way the lady had improved and felt the need to talk to the young Chaplain. In her search to find the young gal, she was repeatedly reassured that the chaplains are never very young and that there was never a gal that fit the description given. Upon returning to the lady in the hospital, a visiting nurse entered the room and noticed the ceramic frog. The nurse made the comment "I see you have a guardian angel with you" as she held the little frog. We asked why she made the comment and we were informed that the frog stood for: (F) Fully (R) Rely (O) On (G) God 

Mario González-Román