The Mexican presidential election is coming down to the wire with voting scheduled for July 2, 2006.
The two front-runners are Felipe Calderon of the PAN (National Action Party) and PRD candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, frequently referred to by his initials AMLO. All the most recent polls point to a Lopez Obrador victory.
This possibility has disturbed a number of American pundits who are concerned that an extreme leftist could be president of Mexico, that he might break up NAFTA, and form an axis of evil with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.
A recent Washington Post editorial predicts an increase in Mexican immigration if AMLO wins but the same article slams H.R. 4437 as being "draconian." [Stalling Immigration, June 23, 2006]
Calderon could still win, yet an AMLO victory is quite probable, so we might as well discuss it.
My opinion: We have nothing to fear from a Lopez Obrador presidency IF we get our own immigration house in order.
Don't get me wrong. I do not endorse AMLO's candidacy. As an American residing (legally) in Mexico, I don't endorse any candidate – I'm not allowed to get involved in Mexican politics.
Besides, my Mexican wife and in-laws are true-blue PANistas who plan to vote for Calderon.
But the AMLO-PHOBIA I've seen in the media is misplaced, for several reasons, and takes our mind off the important American issues.
Part of the problem is this naïve American idea that if Mexico just had the right leader, then it would function like we wish it would. This causes Americans to pick and choose Mexican leaders, puff them up, then get real disappointed when they don't cooperate.
During the Mexican Revolution, there was a great Mexican leader who was popular among Americans. We even supported him with arms. This was the leader known as Pancho Villa. You can see how well that relationship turned out.
Then there was the great privatizer Carlos Salinas (1988-1994) who turned out to be practicing crony capitalism.
Six years ago Vicente Fox was the media darling. Here at last was a man who was on our side and would turn Mexico around! [Vdare.com Note: Has it really been six years? For a "We told you so" moment from Vdare.com's early days, see More Conservative Establishment mush about Mexico, by Steve Sailer, July 12, 2000]
We need a reality check. In the first place, being "pro-American" is not part of the job description of the president of Mexico. It's really not. I'd settle for having a pro-American U.S. president!
Mexico is a foreign country with a different culture, political tradition and societal expectations. It has its own strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies.
We shouldn't be trying to annex Mexico or allowing Mexico to annex us. We shouldn't be trying to merge with Mexico, as our own president seems to want to do, under the aegis of NAFTA, Nafta Plus, and the SPP.
Getting back to Lopez Obrador, is he a "far-left" candidate? Well, yes. But by American standards, all the candidates are leftist. Calderon, the "right-wing" candidate, favors universal state-supported day care centers for Mexican children!
Mexico's political system sits farther to the left than ours does. That's why most Mexican immigrants can be expected to vote for the Democratic party. Teddy Kennedy understands that. Do Bush and McCain?
NAFTA, whatever its original merits, is being used by the Bush Administration to create a North American Union, along the lines of the European Union. Is that what we want? If a Mexican president were to break up NAFTA, wouldn't he be doing us a favor?
But in reality, Lopez Obrador has no such intention. He doesn't plan to pull Mexico out of NAFTA. AMLO wants to utilize NAFTA as a vehicle for U.S. aid to Mexico (and so does Calderon).
Also, Lopez Obrador is concerned about 2008, the year in which NAFTA forces Mexico to remove its tariffs on U.S. corn and beans. And he's right to be concerned about it. So should we. Poor Mexican farmers cannot compete with subsidized American agribusiness.
When cheaper American corn and beans invade Mexico, you can expect thousands of poor Mexican farmers to go out of business and migrate to the U.S., maybe to your town.
Arizona congressman Jim Kolbe is worried about the Hugo Chavez connection too, and even warned Mexican legislators about it.
Jim Kolbe! Look at the guy's immigration voting record! Americans for Better Immigration gives Kolbe a D in recent immigration legislation.
Kolbe is worried about Venezuelans. Does he care about Mexico invading the U.S.?
Yes , Hugo Chavez is a dangerous guy, but if you're worried about his influence don't buy your gas at Citgo. It's his company!
The Hugo Chavez-AMLO connection is way overblown and tenuous at best. The two haven't even met. Except for meddling in U.S. immigration policy, like all Mexican candidates, Lopez Obrador has little interest in politics outside of Mexico.
Instead, AMLO draws his influence from Mexican historical figures. His approach seems most similar to fiscally irresponsible presidents Echeverria (1970-1976) and Lopez Portillo (1976-1983). There are enough bad policy examples in Mexican history, there's no need for Mexican politicians to go looking for them in other countries!
Besides, no Mexican president is going to become a satellite of Hugo Chavez. Why would he? Mexico ALREADY has more influence on the United States than Hugo Chavez ever did. Mexico has a huge population of its citizens living in the U.S., it has consulates that meddle in U.S. internal affairs, and its politicians make frequent forays into U.S. territory to make things go their way. Could Hugo Chavez get away with all that? The guy must be green with envy!
Just look at what Vicente Fox, the supposed "pro-American" president, has done to us in the past five and a half years.
The Fox administration has
All this was perpetrated by a "right-wing, pro-American" Vicente Fox. Not Hugo Chavez. Nowadays, the Mexican government, under any party, is a bigger threat to our sovereignty than Hugo Chavez.
Why do we tolerate it?
As I reported in a previous Memo From Mexico, all the Mexican presidential candidates in this election, not just AMLO, support more mass emigration and meddling in U.S. internal affairs. There's no substantive difference, National Question-wise.
The worst thing about this AMLO-phobia is what it implies about our nation's future. It implies that it's more important who the president of Mexico is than what we do. It implies that foreigners, not Americans, are going to solve our problems. Do we believe that?
The solutions to our immigration problems lie in the U.S.A. and not in Mexico.
Let Mexico choose its own leaders and work out its own problems.
If we had a pro-sovereignty, pro-American government in Washington, it wouldn't matter a hill of beans what any Mexican president said or did about our immigration policy.