Mexican president Felipe Calderon has just returned
from a trip to the U.S.
Wait a minute! Didn’t Calderon visit the U.S. just two months ago?
Yes, he certainly did. I reported on his February
hobnobbing with the American ruling class in this article and this blog entry.
If you keep up with Mexican news, you also know that
it’s not like Calderon has nothing to do in Mexico.
There’s an ongoing political crisis over the desperately-needed reform of Mexico’s state oil
monopoly PEMEX. In fact, filibustering opposition politicians
have seized the podiums in both federal legislative chambers,
forcing other legislators to meet elsewhere.
But apparently Calderon felt his trip to the U.S. was
so important that he had to leave Mexico. After all, he
attended the fourth annual summit of the nation-merging SPP, the Security and Prosperity Partnership, which is not popular with everybody in Mexico either.
Allan Wall recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq. He currently resides in Mexico, where he has lived since 1991. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org [go to Wall index]
Of course, this year the SPP summit was not
officially an SPP summit. It’s been renamed the "North
American Leaders’ Summit". President Bush,
President Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper converged in
New Orleans earlier this week, Monday-Tuesday April 21-22nd.
On the agenda for Bush and Calderon: the re-opening of the New Orleans Mexican Consulate,
which had been closed in 2002 for budgetary reasons.
It’s now being re-opened due to the growth in the Mexican population there since Hurricane Katrina. i.e. because they are displacing African Americans from construction jobs.
Mexico could save a lot of money by shutting down a
lot of consulates. But that’s not in the cards.
Consulates are, after all, centers of pro-illegal agitation. Mexican diplomats are never
reprimanded by U.S. officials for their political
meddling, although it certainly doesn’t fall under the
rubric of legitimate diplomatic activity.
In his remarks at the re-opening, with President
Bush standing right there, Calderon actually said
that, with the consulate back in operation,
"…we can guarantee that
Mexicans who live and work in Louisiana and Mississippi
have the support of the government of Mexico. My
commitment is that wherever there is a Mexican, there
also is the backing of the government of Mexico.”
[Watch video—Calderon is
speaking in Spanish.]
In other words: an explicit and flagrant promise of
more Mexican meddling.
Calderon went on to claim:
"Mexican families in
the U.S. contribute with 635 billion dollars to the U.S.
economy, that is, almost 5% of the Gross Domestic
Product. … we should have a comprehensive vision in
…migration, that permits us to work together to
construct a North America more prosperous and safer."
(Hmm, an allusion to the SPP?).
Also on Monday, April 21st, Calderon met with Bush, expressing his commitment to
defend the "rights" of Mexicans in the United
States, i.e. for all practical purposes, the defense of
And the Mexican president had a bilateral meeting with Canadian PM Harper, in
which they discussed how to get more Mexican workers up
Mexican workers—going cheap! Had any heads of
government from Europe been there, Calderon would
probably have tried to pawn some Mexican workers off on
On Tuesday, April 22nd, the three amigos,
Bush, Harper and Calderon enjoyed a breakfast , a trilateral dialogue, a joint press conference, and they planted a tree together.
Then, after concluding the summit flim-flammery,
Calderon flew to Dallas, Texas. There he spoke to a
meeting of the IME (Institute
for Mexicans Abroad) a 125-member Mexican-government
sponsored group of Mexican leaders in the United
States—many of whom are dual citizens. The meeting was
also attended by the mayor of Dallas. (See photos here).
In Calderon’s speech with the IME people, he obviously
felt able to speak more freely. He said a lot of
interesting things. [Text | Audio, again, Calderon is
speaking Spanish throughout.]
The Mexican president boasted that 40% of Dallas’ population is Mexican, he said that "migration is a natural phenomenon" and that the
U.S. and Mexican economies are complementary. (My
Absurdly, Calderon went so far as to say that the
U.S. economy couldn’t make it without Mexican labor: "It is very clear, that a capital intensive economy, as
the U.S. economy, cannot move without the Mexican labor,
which explains in great measure the prosperity of this
Oh yeah? How did the US survive before the Mexodus began in the 1970s?
Nevertheless, Calderon did admit that mass emigration from Mexico has its drawbacks. He
related that in his home state of Michoacan "we see
how towns and cities are converted into communities
where there are only women, the elderly and some
Calderon said he was working to provide economic
opportunities in Mexico:
"We are working hard ,
very hard, so that opportunities are generated for our
people in Mexico. …we are working so that in Mexico
there will be the opportunities that you, your parents, your grandparents and great-grandparents maybe, came to seek here many
years ago, or even more recently."
And Calderon denied encouraging emigration:
"…contrary to what many
think in this country [the U.S.] , we do not
aspire, I as the president of Mexico do not aspire, nor
is it my dream nor my ideal to spend my life seeing how
Mexicans risk their lives to cross the river or the desert seeking an opportunity in this country [the U.S.]. It’s
not true that we aspire to make migration a permanent
Of course, that contradicts what he said earlier
about the "complementary economies".
Calderon went on:
" I know that that day
will arrive, amigas y amigos, I know that the day
will arrive in which Mexico will generate opportunities
for its own, I know that the day will arrive when a
husband will never leave his wife or his children. I
know that the day will arrive when a son will not leave
his parents to see them no more."
"….it may take a
generation, for future generations to take advantage of
My response: great, let’s start today!
In fact, I would argue that Mexico’s elite won’t get
serious about providing opportunities in Mexico until the U.S. does shut the border. If we
wait for Mexico to get its economic act together before
closing the border, it will never happen.
Calderon also admitted one of the reasons that the
Mexican government likes having Mexican emigrants in the
"Today we see the
generosity of our fellow Mexicans, sending dollars as they are able, to their people."
Getting more dollars into Mexico, that is.
Are Americans concerned
about bad effects of illegal immigration? Calderon claimed
they shouldn’t be:
also want to say , loud and clear, amigas y amigos, that it is not true that migration is hurting this country [the U.S.]."
And he reverted to the "Economic Necessity" argument:
"There are enormous sectors of the U.S. economy, such as
agriculture, services, commerce and transport that
depend greatly on Mexican labor. And what’s more, in the
measure that they continue with these hostile and
inhumane raids that the Mexican community [n.b. no
distinction between legal and illegal immigrants] in
the United States is suffering, in the same measure they
are beginning to suffer and key economic sectors in the
U.S. economy are shrinking."
And Calderon again promised
his undying support to Mexicans in the U.S.:
government…maintains firm its duty, it is its
responsibility to protect and defend the rights of the
Mexicans abroad. This generates criticisms and questioning of the Mexican
government. We insist, it is our duty and responsibility
to be near the Mexicans in the U.S.. When there is a
mother of a family who is on the verge of being separated from her child here, regardless of her migratory status, she has the right to
count on assistance from a Mexican consulate which avoids her unjust separation
from her children. "
Once again, the old family
unification argument. But why can’t the family stay unified in Mexico?
But don’t get the
impression that Calderon is meddling:
government …respects the sovereignty of the United
States, as it demands that the sovereignty of Mexico be
respected. It respects the U.S. electoral process and
that’s why we will not interfere with it, as we demand
that the Mexican processes be respected."
Wonderful. When will
Calderon discipline Jorge Bustamante, the Mexican UN official who has
publicly called for a Republican defeat in the 2008
Calderon also endorsed the
general Mexican view that children of Mexicans born in
the United States are essentially Mexicans with added
U.S. citizenship. Near the end of his speech, he said:
"There are Mexicans who are now Americans because they
were born here, because they acquired the citizenship
and they are rendering a great service to this country.
It is from this great community that emerge people daily
who give themselves to the well-being of others, in
public causes. They do not forget their Mexican roots, but they deeply
love the United States".
At that point in the
speech, Calderon introduced just such a person–Dallas
Country Sheriff Lupe Valdez. She's an interesting
character. According to Wikipedia , she's an "openly
lesbian" former Army officer, who has been accused of "Targeting Hispanics in DWI busts" and who
failed her first routine peace officer licensing test.
Moving into his conclusion,
Calderon gave his exhortation:
"Therefore, amigas y amigos, we are with you.
Wherever you are there the government of Mexico shall be because you
know that is my conviction.
"Because in each one of you I know that in each of you our country [my emphasis—he means Mexico] vibrates and throbs—every Mexican song, each Mexican flag takes you again, precisely, to the
place from which you have come , which you left one day,
but to which you will always belong."
In other words, Calderon considers that Mexicans in
the U.S. will always be Mexicans, regardless of whether
they take up U.S. citizenship or not.
Finally, Calderon describes
place which awaits you with open arms and with longing,
a place that misses you."
S-u-r-e! If Mexicans really
missed these people that much, they’d urge them to come home immediately.
"From here, from Dallas , from Mexico, from whatever
part of our country, we will continue working side by
side…to build the Mexico of which we dream, where there
is room for all, and where nobody must leave again for necessity or for hunger. "
Well President Calderon,
why don’t you concentrate more on building that Mexico
you dream about, and let Americans run their own
Interestingly, in Dallas
Calderon also claimed, as he has in the past, to have
relatives working illegally in the U.S.
That may or may not be
true. Some of Calderon’s relatives in Mexico have said
they don’t know of any kin in the U.S. [Mexican
Ties Fade with Immigration, Mark Stevenson, AP,
March 22nd, 2007]. It sounds suspiciously like Calderon
is just trying to establish his street cred with the
millions of ordinary Mexicans who do have relatives stateside.
Or possibly he does have
relatives in the U.S. but doesn’t have much contact with
The bottom line, though:
Calderon’s talk about illegal relatives—real or
imaginary—raises serious questions for those who claim that he is going to be our partner in securing the border (which is already quite hard enough to swallow.)
Indeed, in Dallas this week
Calderon took his "illegal kin" shtick one step
"In my case, as in the
majority, I think , of Michoacanos , we all have someone on this side [in the U.S.] : first cousins, brothers-in-law,
friends, uncles, some of whom we know that we will never
see again while the law is not changed here. They cannot
move from where they are. "
Calderon is blaming the U.S. for family divisions in Mexico. As I’ve pointed out,
nobody is preventing family unification in Mexico.
But Calderon went on:
"Many times the press
asks me, well, where are you cousins, your
friends?...and I tell them, the day in which there is a
migratory reform [a.k.a. amnesty in the U.S.], I am going to tell them where my cousins and friends are."
Think about how arrogant this is. Calderon 1) boasts
about relatives who are breaking U.S. law, 2) blames the
U.S. for the separation of families, and 3) boasts that when
Uncle Sam legalizes all the illegal aliens, then he will
mockingly reveal the whereabouts of said illegal
Is that any way for a head of state to talk on U.S. territory?
Calderon’s attitude is typical of Mexico’s elite. They really think they are going to
win this thing. They think that, with the help of their
many American allies (Bush,
McCain, Hillary, Obama, etc.) they are going to get a mass
And they don’t care what ordinary Americans think
Ordinary Americans, however, may have a few surprises
up their sleeves.
Just wait and see, President Calderon. CRO
first appeared at Vdare
2008 Allan Wall