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MEXICO: The visit of President George W. Bush
Naturally, the Mexican news is dominated by preparations for the visit of President Bush. The White House has stressed that this is an informal, not an official visit. The aim is to cut out protocol and get down to business. Since the main item is Fox's request for open borders (i.e. free migration for Mexicans to the US), a plan which faces strong opposition in the US, the conversation will not be easy. It will be short. Bush will arrive in the morning and leave in the afternoon.
Even so, it is a big logistics operation. Two Air Force planes arrived at the international airport near Guanajuato with the presidential limousine, fifteen trucks and all the trimmings, including dogs and trainers to sniff out explosives. The focal point of the preparation is two pairs of specially made cowboy boots engraved with the flags of Mexico and the United States. They are a present for Bush, who presumably provided information about the size he takes. He should be able to keep them when he leaves the White House. Much admired by the public at large, the boots were the target of derision by the demonstrators gathering to demand free immmigration to the United States. This is just what Fox wants, but he can hardly encourage them. In fact, they will be kept some distance away.
Televisa this morning ran a long and interesting history of the Fox ranch, San Cristóbal del Rincón, originally a Spanish hacienda, which was broken up at under the program of land reform. Fox now owns over 400 hectares, which I suppose is within the legal limits. Some of the old hacienda fortress-like building still exists. Fox's mother lives on the ranch. The report mentioned but did not name his many brothers. Indeed, they are never mentioned. Nor is his ex-wife, or the story behind their divorce. That would damage his image as a good Catholic. The people of his little town have a great liking for him. That is a good sign.
Sorry to disappoint those coming to the conference. I do not plan to give each of you even one pair of cowboy boots.
Ronald Hilton - 2/16/01