In a recent Memo from Mexico column, I reported that Mexico's ruling PAN (National Action Party) had scheduled a convention in Los Angeles, California.
Not only was the convention held as scheduled last Sunday, September 30th, but it was the scene of confrontations between PANistas and the party leadership, and between a former Mexican president and protestors.
The PAN get-together was called "Primer Encuentro Nacional del PAN en Estados Unidos"—"the First National Encounter of the PAN in the United States".
"First National Encounter" means they plan to have more.
The "encounter" was held at the conference room of La Huasteca restaurant at the Plaza Mexico, in the LA suburb of Lynwood. (For the demographic history of that locale, read here. It was a white working class town that went black around 1970 and became majority Hispanic because of immigration in the 1990s.)
According to La Opinión, nearly 300 delegates attended. They were key activists and leaders of the PAN, which began operations north of the border two years ago.
Manuel Espino, the chairman of the PAN was there. So was Juan Manuel Oliva, the governor of Guanajuato state. But the real star of the show was none other than Vicente Fox himself.
Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico? Yes, that Vicente Fox—the one who spent six years promoting open borders, illegal immigration and the jurisdiction of the Mexican government over Americans of Mexican ancestry.
Now that Fox is no longer president, he is even freer to speak out on the subject. And that's exactly what he's doing.
The former president was in classic form at the PAN convention. He said that Mexican migrants in the U.S. are like "little seeds distributed in all the U.S., with great leadership." Just as in his presidential days, Fox bashed U.S. immigration policy:
"This [the U.S.] has always been a nation of migrants and therefore I don't understand the construction of a wall. Why is xenophobia guiding the decisions of this great country? It lacks understanding and it lacks vision for not being able to appreciate the value of every migrant."[El PAN busca el apoyo de los migrantes en EU, By Eileen Truax, La Opinión, Oct. 1st, 2007]
In case there is anyone our there who hasn't got the message, this is utter hypocrisy—as I've pointed out many times, Mexico's own immigration policy is highly selective, ruthlessly and arbitrarily enforced, and absolutely not open to foreign meddling.
Still, not every Mexican in Los Angeles received Vicente Fox with open arms. Far from it.
Over 50 Mexican protestors outside the building attempted to crash the convention and express their disapproval. These protestors included members of the PAN's Mexican rival—the PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution). The two parties have brought their quarrel to the streets of LA.
"Ladron!" [thief] shouted protestors, and "Traidor a la democracia."
Mexican reporter Jaime Hernandez described the scene thusly:
"…an army of immigrants arrived to the doors of the Plaza Mexico in the city of Lynwood (considered by some as the sanctuary of mexicanidad) – to condemn the visit of former president Vicente Fox…"[Alcanzan a Fox reclamos en EU, By Jaime Hernandez, El Universal, October 1st, 2007]
Now wait a second, is this the same Vicente Fox who called illegal aliens "heroes" and who based his foreign policy around them? Yep. That same Vicente Fox is being dissed by the same people he so publicly embraced (or utilized).
One of the protestors, Amando Garcia, a PRD activist, was quoted saying this:
"It's what he deserves. He promised so much to the immigrants and it was precisely during his term when more people were expelled from Mexico for economic reasons."
Outside there were all sorts of protestors, not all on the same sheet of music, and they included local American-born Hispanics whose loyalty is not with the U.S.A. Defending the American point of view though, were the Save our State organization, kudos to them. You can read their report on the protest here.
The policemen and security guards present (whose nationality was not always clear) did an effective job of keeping protestors out or removing them if they entered.
Nevertheless, everything inside the Huasteca wasn't peace and happiness either.
Some of the American-resident PANistas are not in agreement with the chairmanship in the selection of the new leadership slate which was announced at the convention. They felt that Espino and the PAN bosses were imposing the U.S. leadership of the PAN on them.
The discontent was so open that Jaime Hernandez wrote that
"In an atmosphere of chaos, rebellion and riot, the national leader of the PAN, Manuel Espino, had to confront and convince those who denounced 'the imposition' and 'the dedazo' of the new representatives of this political party in the United States…" [Revuelta en Reunipon del PAN en California, Jaime Hernandez, Universal, Oct. 1st, 2007]
(The term dedazo, literally "the pointing of the finger" referred to the manner in each president of the former Mexican ruling party (PRI) would select his successor)
Espino of course defended the process of leadership selection. But Ramon Mejia, a PAN leader in California since 2005 did not agree and vowed that
"We are going to fight because we believe that an injustice has been committed. We were willing to participate in the selection process and in the working out of a consensus in the heart of the PAN in California and the United States. But today we have confronted appointments that we didn't know and about whom we were not consulted… Espino is badly informed and that's why we wanted to tell him that we were not in agreement. But he wouldn't let us."
Mejia's comments were not appreciated by the PAN leadership. Security guards wrestled him to the ground and handcuffed him (see video here.)
This in turn sparked protests and Chairman Espino himself came over and had Mejia released. But the damage was done, as some PANistas likened the tactics to those of the previously-ruling PRI party in Mexico.
I just think Mexican political parties ought to carry out their activities in Mexico.
Because the activities of organized Mexican political parties in the U.S. have the potential to result in serious meddling. Just listen to what PAN's Chairman Espino had to say to the delegates—and on this topic I think they would all agree:
"We are here because the PAN wants to update its position regarding the migratory phenomenon. We have come to listen to our fellow Mexicans to learn from their experience and from there to launch concrete proposals."
Espino even had a message for American political parties:
"The Democratic Party and the Republican Party don't have to worry. Our task will be to defend the rights of our countrymen and to ensure that our people get involved in political action in their segunda patria ["second fatherland"].
Is this what Americans want?
American citizen Allan Wall (email him) resides in Mexico, with a legal permit issued him by the Mexican government. Allan recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his FRONTPAGEMAG.COM articles are archived here his "Dispatches from Iraq" are archived here his website is here.