Mexico: Strange New Contempt for U.S.
Don?t piss off the lion who usually protects you
Last month the Mexican Foreign Minister said to us, "Got terrorism problems? You?re on your own! Want a new Iraq U.N. resolution? Don?t count on our vote in the Securitry Council! You don?t like Fidel Castro? That?s too bad. We like him, again; in fact, we?re rebuilding our links with him. We don't get all this human rights stuff you Yankees worry about." And the Mexican press said on October 8, "Your new California Governor, Arnold, is a racist. Pete Wilson is advising him and we?re ready to raise hell if that womanizing bodybuilder mistreats our countrymen as they keep California's economy alive!"
Published on LatinoLA: October 14, 2003
Does this sound contrived? Not in interpreting the Mexican messages. Meanwhile, the Mexican government and a lock-stepped Mexican press are aggressively pushing and cajoling the Bush Administration to sign up for legalizing the millions of illegal Mexican immigrants in the U.S. They are also working and feeding the U.S. Latino-oriented media hard and using any U.S. "immigrant rights" advocates they can get to shill for them in promoting legalization of these workers and their families. So why are the top Mexican officials suddenly kicking us in the shins as this goes on?
Another example. Friday night, October 10, a prominent Los Angeles radio talk show host encouraged his large audience to boycott Mexico as a tourist destination. His reasons, he said, "Why spend our dollars there? They don?t like us and they disrespect us." Foreign policy reasons? No. The radio host, Al Rantell of KABC, devoted more than an hour of his show to the stories around Armando Garcia, a Mexican national. Garcia allegedly shot and killed a Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff in cold blood?and escaped across the border to safety and freedom; he is not even incarcerated in Mexico.
Over the hour, Rantell had as guests L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley, the murdered Deputy Sherriff's widow, and several other surviving spouses and parents and siblings of murdered, raped and kidnapped Angelenos, all victims of presumed Mexican illegals who had fled to Mexico after committing their crimes. From Los Angeles County alone, Mr. Cooley estimated that 300 of these violent and heinous criminals are enjoying the protection of the Mexican Government from extradition back to the United States for trial!
The Mexican official response to hundreds of U.S.law enforcement and relatives? inquiries? Mexico says they have no capital punishment or life imprisonment without parole; all criminals can supposedly be rehabilitated. Thus, Mexico will not allow a Mexican-national fugitive from American justice to be returned for trial where, if convicted, he or she might face punishment of the death penalty or an indeterminate sentence for a crime, no matter its seriousness.
Consider the irony. U.S. immigrant advocates and their Mexican government prevaricators preach at us constantly at the horrible death toll of Mexicans in the northern Sonora desert or Arizona and Texas badlands as they attempt illegal border crossings. Yet it?s impossible to recall comparable stories in ours or the Mexican press about the hundreds of American residents (many Latino) who have died violently or been raped or otherwise violated by willful attacks from Mexican citizens on U.S. soil who then fled and reached safe haven in Mexico. Are Mexican desert deaths more "relevant" than American victims of Mexican killers?
Even beyond this hypocrisy is the total lack of media stories of the Mexican criminals who return home (sometimes coming back, committing more U.S. crimes, and returning to Mexico again!), knowing full well that a few dollars spread here and there assure their safety from apprehension and extradition back to the U.S. They might be cold-blooded killers but they will never serve one day in jail if they remain in Mexico. This behavior of Mexico is not a kick in the shins; it is a boot in the American gonads!
But let?s get back to the Mexican insults to Arnold Schwartzenneger, selected on October 7 by 48% of California's voters as Governor-elect of California. La Jornada, a major Mexico City newspaper covering U.S./Mexico affairs with a vengeance, on October 8 deplores the election of Arnold calling him, " ?republican actor" who is "racist, anti-Mexican, anti-Hispanic, discriminatory" and "sexual exploiter of women who work with him." Of those California Latinos (40%) who voted Republican, La Jornada says they engaged in "un acto pol?tico que raya en actitudes autodestructivas" or "a political act marked by an attitude of self-destructiveness."
The Mexican media clips with the above quotes and those below are provided by the "Institute of Mexicans Abroad," (IME) an official mechanism of the SRE, Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores, the Mexican foreign ministry. The IME has 100 U.S. Mexican residents (presumably legal) as advisors. The opinions and sentiments expressed in the Mexican press quoted here are therefore obviously considered proper for U.S. interests to recognize and understand as reflecting Mexican government support! Conflicting clips are never provided in the SRE newsletter.
In Mexico City, El Financiero, the respected financial paper, reported that the Secretary of the Interior, Santiago Creel Miranda and Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez, assured their nation publicly on October 8 that because of the Schwartznegger victory, "the Mexican Government will be particularly vigilant to denounce any violation of human rights or workers' rights of their compatriots in California." Even the Governor of Baja California, Eugenio Elordoy, predicted "difficult times" because of Pete Wilson being on Arnold?s team since he represented a past "administration characterized by anti-immigrant policies." So much for the immediate possible success of cross-border harmony in the Californias.
Before the California Recall exercise ended, in late September, El Universal, a more moderate Mexico paper than La Jornada, reported that Foreign Secretary Derbez had announced a new "security doctrine" for Mexico. It clashed with what Washington had expected would be a dependable partnership with Mexico and other nations in the war on terror. Never using the word "terrorism," Derbez said that the concept of "one for all and all for one" was an "outdated, World War II concept."
"No state can impose on another its own security agenda, nor the order of its priorities," Derbez added as he opened a conference on regional security. He went on, "Security "should be understood as a reality for each country - not as hemispheric, because there is no military, strategic or ideological enemy outside the region which is attacking it as a whole," Huh?
This weird posture is not just a kick in the shins directed at the U.S. It flies in the face of Mexico?s assurances of cooperation with us on terrorism prior to this announcement and comes as we seek United Nations help for our work in what we see as the prime current theater for the war on terror, Iraq.
One must assume that Secretary Derbez checked in with President Vicente Fox before this strange positioning. Or is this really internal posturing, while Colin Powell and President Bush are otherwise being reassured? If so, the Mexicans forgot to tell the Dallas Morning News and a few other alert American papers who are still puzzled by these events and are reflecting American pique with these regrettable and irritating Mexican games.
And the reversal on Cuba? A Derbez deputy has said that Mexico was "starting to improve relations with Cuba," and to build a "new agenda" for cooperation. Undersecretary Miguel Hakin?s remarks followed a meeting in New York between Derbez and Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque. On October 10, President Bush announced a new "get tough" policy with Cuba, saying the previously un-sayable, in effect, "Castro is bad. Castro has to go!"
How about that, Mssrs. Fox and Derbez? Maybe Mr. Bush should have played back Secretary Derbez? own words, Security "should be understood as a reality for each country - not as hemispheric, because there is no military, strategic or ideological enemy outside the region which is attacking it as a whole."
Summing up, the new Mexican attitude and policies go beyond the mysterious. They seem illogical and certainly disturbing to ordinary Americans who are normally favorably disposed to Mexico. They already dumped us on Iraq last year; a repeat this year is almost expected. But the threat of non-cooperation on terrorism? Weird; especially within the reality of NAFTA and immigration policy changes they want from us, including their need for U.S. dollars. The flaunting of a new Mexico-Fidel Castro buddy-buddy arrangement? Weirder!
And the unwarranted and stupid personal attacks on the Governor-elect of their neighboring state with the fifth largest economy in the world? Incomprehensible.
The only sensible reaction from Americans is to remind Mexico that the "yanqui" has limits to his patience. Maybe we have to look harder at the billions of dollars that are shipped annually out of the U.S. by illegal "residents" back to Mexico. Maybe no immigration issues deserve addressing or meriting our support unless Mexico changes its inhuman and reprehensible policy of harboring perpetrators of violent, murderous crimes on Americans in their own homeland. On foreign policy, options abound. And common American citizens are not without a listened-to voice or controlled by their government as in other nations. Our press is free.
Just remember, Mexican friends. We are all walking through a dangerous jungle of new international hazards. Unless you are carrying a very large gun or are prepared to hide or run like hell, don?t piss off the lion who usually protects you!
Oaxaca can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.