Other Discussions on Mexico


Mexico, Politics and the Media


The memo on "Spain, Cuba and Mexico" had nothing to do with affection for Mexico, in which I yield to no one. It dealt with the manipulation of a U.S. ethnic group by a foreign government, which unfortunately is a common and dangerous phenomenon. One result is that Americans are afraid of saying anything that might offend an ethnic group and, in the case of politicians, lose decisive votes. Mexico also exemplifies manipulation of the media, especially T.V.,which is a worldwide phenomenon. Some years ago I spoke on Mexican television; before I appeared, I was interrogated by a very unattractive official who demanded to know exactly what I was going to say. He approved my appearance only when I assured him that I would not mention Mexican affairs.Watching Televisa daily is a game in which the viewer tries to figure what is going on. A few years ago its newscasts were excellent, but then abruptly a new team appeared and serious news declined. To offset public criticism, Televisa boss Emilio Azcarraga recently invited youths from all over Mexico to its studios and assured them that Televisa would cooperate with them. What happened to that grand design is not clear. For a short time Televisa broadcast serious news about Mexico. Then, last Saturday, we were treated to one solid hour of advertisements. Today, May I, SCOLA is not rebroadcasting the Televisa newscast. SCOLA is going worldwide over the Internet. Televisa was one of the very few stations which refused to cooperate. I would be grateful if anyone could inform me of the reason for this refusal. One result is that Spanish newscasts in the United States tell us more about Mexico than does Televisa.
Ronald Hilton - 05/01/98


The response to the memo on the Mexican media indicates resentment of their double standard. Every day Televisa runs attacks on U.S. policies, but the Mexican government says only Mexicans may comment on Mexican affairs. Regular denunciations of the U.S. treatment of Mexicans contrast with accounts of Mexican benevolence toward Guatemalan refugees. As Tim Brown writes:

"The issue, as you rightly point out, is what a given country does in terms of mobilizing its "citizens" to cultural, political or other ends, and there is no such thing as tit for tat. Until quite recently Mexican police often killed, raped, beat or tortured illegal Guatemalans and other Central Americans with impunity, while their government screamed to high heavens about human rights violations if the U.S. police did a fraction of the same to illegal Mexicans. Denying an legal Mexican social welfare payments in this country is racism. Denying illegals the same in Mexico is correct, proper and the way it should be. And on and on."

It is possible that U.S. protests are the reason why Televisa has chosen not to continue the SCOLA broadcasts of its news programs.

Ronald Hilton - 05/04/98

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