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MEXICO: The Presidential Elections and the United States

Until about 1940, Americans viewed Mexico with disdain as a country of revolutions and poverty. Now in 2000 they realize that Mexico is an important, progressive country, in many ways the most important for the United States, as the presidential elections show. Coverage in the American press has been voluminous; former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker are among the many Americans who have gone to observe the polls.

The importance of the elections is that they mark the end of the virtual one-party system and adoption of American-style democracy, complete with masses of balloons and hoopla. President Ernesto Zedillo must take credit for his sincere devotion to multi-party democracy. He has been scrupulously neutral and has visited the headquarters of the three principal parties.So have ex-President Carter and other American dignitaries, wishing likewise to demonstrate their neutrality.

All three candidates realize the importance of good relations with the United States, although they had to avoid appearing to have sold out to the yanquis. This was especially true of Vicente Fox, the former manager of CocaCola of Mexico. His enemies accused him of having received funds from the United States and Belgium (why Belgium?), but they were compelled to withdraw the charge. He likewise denied that he was going to sacrifice the sacred cow PEMEX, the national oil company, on the altar of the almighty dollar.

An avowed Catholic, he had to prove also that he was not the pawn of Rome. He denied that he planned to introduce religion into the schools again. The clergy supposedly supported him, but they were careful to avoid any hint of this. For the first time, "ministers of all faiths" were allowed to vote.

While the US rejoiced at the apparent triumph of democracy in Mexico, the old problems remained, notably the drug trade and illegal immigrants to the US. While Mexican Americans boasted that they belonged "La Raza" (Mexican, if corse), Mexicans denounced gringos as racists.

Mexican immigration pressure on the United States is fraught with all kinds of dangers. The National War College in Washington played a war game in which Mexico's government is taken over by drug lords. Two million Mexican refugees flood into the US. Some Americans ae injured and killed by Mexican bandits. The United States invades Mexico. !Viva Villa!

Ronald Hilton - 7/02/00