Tuesday, May 16, 2006

How Mexico Sees It

I've tried to give a little bit of the US immigration debate from the Mexican side. For those new here, this is because I lived in Mexico City for a while. In the past for example, I've noted the importance of this debate to Mexico's July Presidential election, and talked about why we should care. With that in mind, I wanted to take a quick look at the headlines this morning three major Mexican dailies.

El Universal gives us "Six Thousand US soldiers will guard the border," "Minutemen call Bush's speech a farce," "Mexico worries about military guard on the border," and "CNN announcer wants an electric fence."

That last one is interesting, and something I missed. According to El Universal, Jack Cafferty asked whether the US should construct its own version of the Iron Curtain, with electric fences and minefields, along the Mexican border. They have Cafferty saying something like "The President's proposal is a political cure. Instead of that, how about a pair of paralell 20 foot walls with land mines on both sides and between. If memory serves, the Iron Curtain was a pretty effective way of preventing people from crossing borders that, I suppose, they weren't supposed to cross."

Well, at least the rhetoric isn't getting too heated.

The focus of the central article is of course, on the 6,000 National Guardsmen. The official Mexican response was apparently an expression of concern that 'these actions may not be accompanied by sufficient advances in the ongoing US legislative process."

Another Mexico City daily, Reforma, offers little about the speech on the front page, apparently. The lead article is 'Derbez denies border militarization.' Derbez is the foreign minister. I can't translate the article because it's subscription only.

Mexico's farthest-left daily, La Jornada ("The Workday"), leads with 'Bush Will Send 6,000 Soliders to the Border." The subheads are 'Mild Reaction from Fox Government,' 'President gives in to hard-liners and asks for more resources to guard the line,' 'Insists on his immigration reform proposal with a plan for temporary employment,' 'Consulates 'redouble efforts' to guarantee rights of expatriates,' and 'US measure is 'indignant and offensive' say Senators and the parties.'

That last article in La Jornada contains a barrage of criticism from Mexican legislators for the Fox government for failing to generate enough new jobs in Mexico. They say that it shows the failure of Fox's foreign policy, which has featured unilateral concessions to the US, in violation of campaign promises. They say the President's steps will cost human lives.

The head of AMLO's party says that the US efforts are akin to what the Nazis did to the Jews and what whites did in South Africa (don't look at me - I'm only translating). He's angry that the only thing to protect the rights of Mexicans in the US is 'Bush's word.' And he adds that if they continue with the Fox foreign policy, the only that will happen is more failure and more confrontation with the US.

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