At a Mexico City press conference on May 2nd, 2009, Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa was on a roll. She was going after "discriminatory and even xenophobic attitudes" and the mistreatment of Mexicans abroad.
"It's about discriminatory measures", she fulminated, and "lacking foundation…There is no justification whatsoever to violate the rights of any citizen…" She announced she had instructed Mexican diplomats to "express the unequivocal condemnation of Mexico to such actions". (My translations).
It sounds like the standard boilerplate Mexican government bashing of U.S. immigration policy, doesn't it? But this time it wasn't. This time the foreign ministry was condemning supposed anti-Mexican discrimination perpetrated not by the U.S. but by many other countries—chief among them China, but even including fellow Latin Americans.
The Mexican foreign minister's comments at the press conference were in response to the recent outbreak of "Swine Flu"—now officially designated H1N1, but, as James Fulford has pointed out, called "Mexican Flu" in the state of Israel.
Whatever you call it, the disease seems now to have stabilized in Mexico. The country is getting back to normal. Schools, for example, were closed but are set to re-open on May 6th (high schools and colleges) and May 11th (elementary and secondary schools).
Perhaps the threat from Swine Flu has been exaggerated. But in today's globalized world, it's quite understandable that governments would take quarantine-like measures to avoid the spread of an epidemic. With a disease that can spread so rapidly and affect so many people, can you really afford to take a chance?
In the U.S., of course, even a temporary closing of the Mexican border was never in the cards. The Obama/Napolitano administration wouldn't countenance that measure. But, interestingly, a few Democrats, including Senator Joseph Lieberman either called for closing the border or said it shouldn't be ruled out.
Other countries, on the other hand, were not at all squeamish about taking measures that Mexicans considered drastic and offensive. And of course, the affected Mexicans and their government are very offended indeed. As reported by the New York Times, "…Mexicans say they have been typecast as disease carriers and subjected to humiliating treatment." [Even as Fears of Flu Ebb, Mexicans Fear Stigma, by Marc Lacy and Andrew Jacobs, May 4th, 2009]
The NYT reported that the South American country of Chile refused to let two Mexican soccer teams compete in its territory. Four other Spanish-speaking countries—Argentina, Ecuador, Peru and Cuba—suspended flights from Mexico. (In Honduras, the U.S.-based Mexican reconquista band Los Tigres del Norte were subjected to a health exam before they could perform—and they complained bitterly about it).
Then there was China. There the government unceremoniously detained and confined 71 Mexicans (and 29 Canadians). Some of the Mexicans were taken from their hotels in the middle of the night to be tested, then detained. Most of those detained were not even sick. But China wasn't taking any chances. Memories of the SARS outbreak which killed hundreds in China are still fresh.
Nor did the Chinese buckle under to Mexican complaints, as American officials generally do. When a Mexican consul went to visit one group of ten Mexicans confined in a hotel, he was permitted to deliver them food—but forbidden to talk to them! [Influenza traba a México y China en un diferendo, El Universal, May 5, 2009]
Foreign Minister Espinosa went on and on about all this at her May 2 press conference. President Calderon made similar complaints. And in the United Nations General Assembly, Juan Manuel Gomez, the country's Undersecretary of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, called on the UN to stop the xenophobia.
On May 4th, the Calderon government sent a chartered plane to retrieve those Mexicans in China.
Ironically, just a few years ago during the SARS outbreak, the roles of China and Mexico were reversed. Then, it was Mexico that controlled Chinese entering Mexico, and it was even reported that there was fear of "xenophobia" in Mexico City's Chinatown. [They Fear Xenophobia In "El Barrio Chino" On Account of SARS, by Monica Archundia, Universal, May 19th, 2003.]
I can even understand why Mexico plays the victim to promote its own interests. Playing the victim is a very successful strategy in dealing with the U.S., though not very successful in dealing with China or Latin American countries.
There is a country though that's not standing up for its own interests, and that's the U.S.A.
And it's not just over Mexican/Swine Flu. Why does the U.S. continue to import millions of immigrants, many of whom are incompatible, don't assimilate, and would really be better off staying in their home countries? Why does U.S. immigration policy increase the government's budget, crime and the economic dislocation of native citizens? Why is government policy causing a drastic demographic transformation of the country—a change which was never voted on nor even properly debated?
Those are the real questions Americans should be asking their leaders and lawmakers.
American citizen Allan Wall (email him) recently moved back to the U.S.A. after many years residing in Mexico. In 2005, Allan served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his Mexidata.info articles are archived here and his website is here.