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Mexico



Carlos Galvez gives us his view of the US image in Mexico:

"Poor Mexico!, so far away from God and so close to the United States."
Porfirio Diaz

Hate is a rather strong word to describe the feelings many Mexicans hold towards the United States, but many resent actions undertaken by the U.S. which have affected Mexican interests. The loss of half of the Mexican territory in 1848 is still fresh in the minds of many Mexicans, and if the joke that the best thing that could happen to Mexico is to become another state of the American Union, they also say that, with immigration Mexico is finally claiming back its original territory. However, Mexicans have many reasons in their minds to despise what they consider American imperialism intruding in internal Mexican politics and interfering with economic development: the Casa Blanca operation, in which FBI agents entered Mexican territory and "kidnapped" Mexican citizens to be tried in the U.S. without proper authorization from the local authorities; the ban on tuna fish exports based on allegations that Mexican fishing practices endangered dolphins, which was largely considered to be an excuse to protect American producers that directly hurt Mexican production; the ban on Mexican trucks from entering U.S. soil for security reasons, and the proposed regulations which sought to impose higher standards for Mexican trucks than for Canadian trucks.

These are only some of the more recent American actions which revive a latent distrust present in Mexicans since the loss of its northern territory, its invasion by American troops and the exploitation of Mexican oil by American companies. It is true that politicians have constantly included anti-American rhetoric in their speeches, which has fueled the animosity towards our northerly neighbor for decades. However, the PRI was not the only responsible party. Left leaning intellectuals constantly complain about U.S. policies and remind the Mexican public about these offenses to national sovereignty and pride.

Since the Salinas regime, however, Mexico has learned that it has to overcome its past grievances and try to improve its commercial and diplomatic relations with the U.S. Mexicans in general, aided by Hollywood style propaganda and America's economic dominion, have come to admire American values, included the educational, economic and political systems. Increased commercial interaction between both countries have helped to smooth the rough corners and have promoted a better understanding between the peoples, so the blind nationalism that maligned the U.S. no longer affects public opinion.

Blaming the PRI for this sentiment seems an oversimplification. Antagonism with the U.S. played an important role in Mexican nationalism as a whole, and was shared by almost all segments of society. The world has changed since the days when national states needed to defend their interests fiercely in the international arena. Globalization and the rise of a new world order after the fall of the Soviet Union have affected the way states relate to each other and has increased contact between different nations. Mexico has kept up with this changes, and economic ties now play an important role in determining the country's relationship to the U.S. This positive attitude was already present in the early 90's, and Fox's policies only continue the trend of increased cooperation established by the previous PRI administrations".

Ronald Hilton - 11/23/01


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