Fox is selling Mexico to the USA

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Apr 26 11:18:04 MDT 2002

April 26, 2002

Fox's Wooing of America Brings Him Woes at Home
MEXICO CITY, April 25 — In his 18 months in office, President Vicente Fox
has tilted Mexico in a new direction: an open embrace of the United States. 

The Mexican revolution is 92 years old, and Mr. Fox has retired its war
horses. The facade of anti-Americanism, maintained for seven decades by the
old ruling party, has vanished. The flag of Latin American solidarity
against Yankee imperialism is furled.

In their place stand the pursuit of free trade, foreign investment and now,
for the first time, human rights. Mexico's unusual criticism of its old
friend Fidel Castro in recent days is the latest sign of that cultural

"The world has changed," Mr. Fox said Wednesday. "We have changed — I'd say
in a radical way — Mexico's foreign policy," and done so despite "a lot of

Now that resistance is rising right and left, as skeptics ask what Mr. Fox
has to show for his stances beyond pleasant promises from his friend
President Bush. His fiercest critics say he is making Mexico a 21st-century
banana republic, at the service of the United States. 

"It doesn't seem that he is promoting Mexico's interests," said Jorge
Chávez Presa, one of the old ruling party's leaders in Congress. "We want
to play a role in the world, but not if that means accepting orders from
the United States." 

Past presidents of Mexico pretended to keep a distance from their northern
neighbor. But they have become much closer since the 1980's. President
Carlos Salinas spent most of his six-year term fighting to win the 1994
North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States. When Mexico's
economy collapsed in 1995, President Ernesto Zedillo turned to Washington
for a huge bailout.

"Salinas got Nafta, Zedillo got $40 billion," but Mr. Fox has gotten almost
nothing from the Bush administration, said Arturo Valenzuela, President
Clinton's National Security Council officer for Latin America.

Although Mr. Fox is well regarded by his fellow Latin American leaders, and
polls suggest a majority of his countrymen support him, the younger and
better-educated Mexicans who helped elect him fear that he has won little
return for his political investment in American policies and trade practices.

"Fox is selling Mexico to the United States," said Ursula Díaz, a sociology
student at Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico City. "Previous
governments hid their relationship with the United States. Fox apparently
no longer wants to conceal it." 


Louis Proyect
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