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UNITED STATES: The Border with Mexico
France promoted the idea of "Latin America," Spain, which had used "Hispanoamerica" to designate Spanish-speaking America, retorted by promoting "Ibero America" to include Brazil. The US invented the "Pan American Union" idea to implement the vision of the so-called Monroe Doctrine (really invented by Thomas Jefferson). When that imperialist vision soured, the US came up with NAFTA.
In Mexico, NAFTA is the clear winner. In a new poll, twice as many Mexicans thought relations with the US were the most important as those who thought those with Latin America were, while those favoring the European Union were a very poor third.
The main reason is the "sueno americano", the American dream, which lures masses of Mexicans to attempt to enter the US illegally. In Mexico. I met in Mexico a young man who had been deported once from the US. He said he would simply try again. Central Americans cross the Suchiate River illegally to get into Mexico on their way to the United States.
Every day there are denunciations in Mexico of US brutality toward illegal Mexican immigrants. Nothing succeeds like success in creating problems. The collapse of communism has led to the loss of that ideal throughout the world, as shown in the fate of the leftist press. The Financial Times (7/22/00) reports: "There is not a left wing newspaper in the world that does not face financial difficulties ... and that certainly includes us," says John Haylett, summing up the plight of communist and socialist publications. Haylett, editor of the UK's Communist Party's daily Morning Star, says his paper recently launched a fundraising campaign, and readership is up about 12%. But across Europe and in Eastern communist strongholds, other left wing papers are rapidly declining. Italy's L'Unita recently declared bankruptcy and will publish only until the liquidators decide what to do with the assets." I would like to have comparable reports on the decline of the Mexican leftist press. Certainly the dream of the Mexican Revolution has faded.
In all of this talk about "the American dream," there is practically no mention of a common American reaction, as voiced by John Wonder: " I fail to see why anyone would wish to argue with the common sense outlook of Diana Hull. Why should we permit such mass immigration to please those economic interests who wish to have cheap educated and uneducated labor? There are of course the bleeding hearts; but why should the United States serve as a safety valve for Mexico? They should solve their own problems of overpopulation."
It should not be assumed that people like John Wonder are simply anti-foreign. John Wonder himself is a Latin American specialist and knows Latin America well. They may like Mexicans (I certainly do), but look around the world at the problems created when a country has a major "minority". Fiji is the latest example.
Meanwhile the two major American parties continue their sordid pursuit of votes. As the Republican Convention, in the rah-rah speech supporting George W. Bysh, Condoleezza Rice said he knows Mexico better than any American president in history (well, let me think) and that he speaks Spanish (please!) His nephew, the son of the governor of Florida was trotted out; his mother is Mexican and he speaks Spanish. Throughout the convention there was no mention of the complexity of US-Mexican relations.
At least ex-President Bush was happy, and that makes me happy. I have a letter from him saying how much he appreciates my kind remarks about him. It may accurately be said of him that he knew world affairs unusually well. Perhaps we should name him a member of WAIS. All in favor, say "Aye".
Ronald Hilton - 8/03/00