"The doors of the Mexican embassy in Cuba are open to all the citizens of Cuba, just as México herself is." Thus spoke Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda on February 26th, at the inauguration of a Mexican Cultural Center in Miami.
Many Cubans took Castañeda at his word, showing up in front of the Mexican Embassy in Havana the very next day, toting their luggage (!) – these people really believed they were about to leave Cuba! A particularly resourceful group of young Cubans actually hijacked a bus and crashed into the Mexican embassy. And then for thirty hours, from February 27th to March 1st, these gate-crashers and some others who had climbed fences to get in, were holed up in the embassy.
The Mexican government immediately began to backpedal on Castañeda's extravagant promise. He hadn't really meant a change in Mexican immigration policy, he meant the embassy would be open to all "currents of opinion" asserted Andres Ordoñez, the embassy official in charge of negotiation. On February 28th, Vicente Fox put in a call to his amigo Fidel.
In the early morning hours of March 1st, Mexico's ambassador to Cuba formally requested that Cuba remove the would-be-immigrants from the embassy, and at 4:30 a.m., Cuban police removed them. (For good measure, another 150 Cubans who had been in front of the embassy were also detained.)
The Mexican government declined to press charges against the embassy-crashers, but not to worry, surely the Cuban state security apparatus can take care of that. Castro has declared that about 130 detainees from the incident are to be prosecuted.
The position of the Mexican government is that anybody in Cuba who desires to emigrate to Mexico had best do so legally. Ricardo Pascoe, Mexico's ambassador to Cuba, put it this way:
"The government of Mexico is not going to provide preferential treatment simply because they have invaded the embassy".
The same government, however, demands preferential treatment for Mexicans who have invaded the United States.
Gustavo Iruegas, the Mexican Exterior official who had actually been sent to Cuba to deal with the situation, pointed out the danger that giving amnesty to the Cuban illegal aliens
"would have been counterproductive, it would have been an encouragement [to illegal emigration]. (The Siglo, March 2nd, 2001.)
Jorge Castañeda, who provoked the whole incident, blamed it on "radical elements" in Miami, who he said had distorted his comments. So he hadn't actually meant that the embassy's doors were open? "Mi casa no es su casa" is Castañeda's message to ordinary Cubans.
Funny, this same guy is demanding that the U.S. grant an amnesty to millions (!) of illegal aliens in the United States.
Legislators from Mexican opposition parties, however, did not accept Castañeda's excuse. They blamed him for provoking the incident and called upon the foreign minister to resign.
El Universal, in an editorial of March 1st, pointed out to its readers that it would be difficult for Mexico to grant the Cubans asylum anyway, "because their motivations are economic, not political." Gloria Abella, spokeswoman for the Mexican Foreign Ministry, agreed—"These are young people facing a difficult economic situation, like many in Latin America." (According to the Mexican media, however, poor Mexicans are "obliged" to enter the United States illegally.)
El Universal gleefully declared in a headline that the failure of the embassy-crashers was "a slap in the face for the anti-Castro Cuban exiles of Florida." The Mexican elite displays a strong antipathy toward Cuban-Americans, believing they wield too much influence on U.S. politics - influence they believe should be exercised by Mexico. Antonio Garza, writing in the Excelsior, even dusted off an old Castro epithet for the Cuban exiles, calling them "worms."
What do we make of all this? Certainly, embassies should be respected. You can't have people crashing into them on a daily basis. Besides the sovereignty issue you have questions of public safety. So, we can sympathize with the Mexican government and its desire to maintain order and control of its own embassy.
But when you think about it, the sovereignty of the United States of America is being violated on a daily basis by illegal aliens from Mexico. The Mexican government refused to amnesty 21 Cubans who entered their embassy without permission. OK, that's understandable. The Mexican embassy also refused entry to other Cubans who were waiting outside with their luggage packed, hoping to leave Cuba. OK, the Mexican government does have the right to handle its own immigration policy and can admit or refuse prospective immigrants based on Mexico's own criteria.
But why then is the same Mexican government working overtime to ensure that the U.S. grant amnesty to millions (!) of Mexicans who have crashed into U.S. territory?
The Mexican government has no qualms about disappointing Cubans fleeing a totalitarian regime, but demands that millions of its own citizens who have illegally entered our territory receive amnesty and preferential treatment.
Allan Wall is an American citizen who has lived and worked in Mexico since 1991. Presently employed as an English instructor, Allan has legal permission from the Mexican government to live and work in Mexico under the rubric of an FM-2 migration document. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his Frontpage.com articles are archived here. Allan Wall welcomes questions or comments (pro or con) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 02, 2002