Did President Barack Obama come into contact with a future victim of Swine a.k.a. Mexican Flu on his April 16-17th visit to Mexico? Barack Obama 'met man who died of suspected flu' in Mexico, by Tom Leonard, Daily Telegraph, April 28, 2009.)
Well, at least that would be news. The meeting has been hailed (by its participants) as "a new era" in U.S.-Mexican relations. But it's not.
Barack Obama himself said that it's a new era: "I see this visit…as an opportunity to launch a new era of cooperation and partnership between our two nations…."
Obama's host, Mexican president Felipe Calderon proclaimed that
"This is an historic event that will inaugurate a new era, a new relationship between our two countries…President Obama's visit is just an initial step, the beginning of a relationship between two countries that are friends, neighbors, and must also be partners and allies."
That all sounds impressive. But remember back eight years, during the first year of the George W. Bush (George II) administration. Weren't we hearing similar rhetoric?
Yes, we certainly were.
If you want to go back even further, to 1990, President George H. W. Bush (George I) visited Mexico. And there he proclaimed, guess what, that
"It is an honor to stand with you…at such a promising moment in our shared history. For I believe that our two peoples are now on the eve of an era more cooperative and more prosperous than ever we have known before."
Maybe every U.S. president gets to start a "new era" with Mexico. It's just part of the job.
Perhaps Taft also talked about a "new era" in U.S.-Mexican relations.
Obama was only in Mexico for 20 hours, however, making it essentially a stopover. From there he flew to the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago for a big hemispheric summit meeting.
(For a short video of Barack Obama's official reception in Mexico City, along with footage of Marine One and helicopter gunships, click here .)
The U.S. president and his entourage were hosted at a banquet at the patio of the world-class Anthropology museum.
For our purposes, the most critical part of the visit is the April 16th joint press conference of Obama and Mexican president Felipe Calderon, held at Los Pinos, the Mexican White House.
Calderon had this to say about U.S. immigration policy:
"…. we have also agreed that both governments should produce propositions—proposals for our cooperation so that we can eventually have reform in the United States with full respect to the sovereign decisions of both congresses—of both nations, that is. Our governments will work in this sense to make migration an orderly, respectful process of human rights, a process in which human rights will be respected."
Notice that Calderon says both governments will make proposals for U.S. immigration policy.
Outrageous—but no big surprise. The Mexican government has been meddling in U.S, internal affairs for years.
Obama waxed eloquent over the U.S.-Mexican relationship:
"It's difficult to overstate the depth of the ties between our two nations or the extraordinary importance of our relationship. It's obviously a simple fact of geography that we share a border, and we've always been bound together because of that geography. But it's not just that shared border that links us together. It's not only geography, but it's also culture, it's also migration patterns that have taken place that have become so important."
And check out this from Obama:
"Our deep economic ties mean that whenever—whatever steps that we're going to take moving forward have to be taken together. And that's why we worked hard, hand in hand at the G20 summit. And that's what we will continue to do at the Summit of the Americas and beyond, so that we can jumpstart job creation, promote free and fair trade, and develop a coordinated response to this economic crisis."
More globalism, in other words. Whatever happened to just letting each country solve its own domestic problems?
Of course Obama had to talk about immigration:
"We also discussed our shared interest in meeting an immigration challenge that has serious implications for both the United States and for Mexico. My country has been greatly enriched by migration from Mexico. Mexican Americans form a critical and enduring link between our nations. And I am committed to fixing our broken immigration system in a way that upholds our traditions as a nation of laws but also as a nation of immigrants."
Another old chestnut—which George II also talked about, back in his day—was helping Mexico advance economically:
"And I'm committed to working with President Calderón to promote the kind of bottom-up economic growth here in Mexico that will allow people to live out their dreams here, and as a consequence will relieve some of the pressures that we've seen along the borders."
I've got a better idea. How about closing the border? That, more than anything, would help Mexico's economy by forcing its leaders to look for real reform rather than using the U.S. as their safety valve.
Obama also talked about the drug war in Mexico:
"But I will not pretend that this is Mexico's responsibility alone. A demand for these drugs in the United States is what is helping to keep these cartels in business."
Absolutely! I have to agree with President Obama here. He's absolutely right about that, and we ought to seriously consider our own drug prohibition.
But then Obama has to get into the gun issue:
"This war is being waged with guns purchased not here, but in the United States. More than 90 percent of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States, many from gun shops that line our shared border."
Not only is the 90% argument false, it is being used to browbeat Americans with their Second Amendment rights. The argument seems to imply, quite ridiculously, that murderous Mexican drug barons really want to obey Mexico's stricter gun laws, but are prevented from doing so by that Second Amendment north of the border!
Of course, Obama wasn't alone when he visited Mexico. In the press conference, he mentioned some of his entourage and what they were up to:
"My National Homeland Security Advisor, who is here, General Jim Jones, as well as my Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, and my top advisor on homeland security and counterterrorism, John Brennan, are all meeting with their Mexican counterparts to develop new ways to cooperate and coordinate their efforts more effectively."
Hmm, Janet Napolitano. Isn't she the one whose Homeland Security Department recently sent out a profile of potential terrorists—returning war veterans, Second Amendment supporters, opponents of illegal immigration, etc.
Aren't you encouraged to see her hobnobbing with Mexican officials?
Also in the press conference, Calderon actually blamed the lifting of the ban on assault weapons for the increase of cartel violence in Mexico:
"From the moment that the prohibition on the sale of assault weapons [expired] a few years ago, we have seen an increase in the power of organized crime in Mexico."
Calderon actually got into talking about the Second Amendment:
"We know that it is a politically delicate topic because Americans truly appreciate their constitutional rights, and particularly those that are part of the Second Amendment. I personally believe that as long as we are able to explain clearly what our problems in Mexico are, then we might also be able to seek a solution respecting the constitutional rights of the Americans, at the same time will prevent—or rather avoid that organized crime becomes better armed in our country."
Wow, did you get that—Calderon says he might actually allow our constitutional rights to be respected! But wait, has he cleared that with Janet yet?
One of the reporters asked about immigration, pointing out that Senator Obama voted for the border fence in 2006. Obama responded that "I also voted twice for comprehensive immigration reform that would have provided a pathway for legalization [amnesty]…"
Obama did say that the U.S. did have a "legitimate concern" in regulating immigration. However, he also made it clear that he wants illegal aliens to be fined but still, in the end, get amnesty:
"What I've also said is that for those immigrants [illegals] who are already in the United States -for those immigrants who have put down roots, may have come there illegally, I think they need to pay a penalty for having broken the law. They need to come out of the shadows, and then we have to put them through a process where, if they want to stay in the United States, they have an opportunity over time to earn that opportunity, for a legal status in the United States."
Obama talked about how amnesty was attempted several years ago but "became politicized". What he wants is "a secure and safe border so you don't have people who are dying in the deserts as a consequence of a disorderly and illegal migration process. I think that's a goal that President Calderón and I share and one that we discussed during our bilateral meeting."
In response to the same reporter, Calderon said that
"…as a Mexican, as President of Mexico, it doesn't make me particularly happy to see our people risk their lives going across a border, because I know that with every migrant that leaves we have the best of our people leaving—the youngest, the most courageous, the strongest, the hardest-working—they are the ones that are leaving. Because I have seen in many communities here in Mexico, and particularly the state I come from, where there are phantom towns now, where there are only the elderly, children, women, and no one else is left there. So I am working hard to create in Mexico the conditions, the opportunities of work, of employment for our people here in Mexico. That is really the only way out that can put a stop to migration. I think that is the best way out, to create opportunities and employment in our country."
It's very noble for Calderon to say such things. So why doesn't he just tell Mexicans to stop emigrating?
Because, he claims, there is a "meantime":
"But in the meantime, President Obama is very clear on what the problem consists of, and it's very important to establish those instruments that will enable people to come out of the shadows, as he himself has said, and that our region can gradually become more orderly, more legal and better migration flows."
The Same Old Same Old, in other words.
Calderon also wants customs cooperation, going so far as to suggest that the U.S. and Mexico have a "single customs form", and he also wants "concrete measures" in the "harmonization of standards" of products.
Recall that under the SPP (Security and Prosperity Partnership) between the U.S., Mexico and Canada, the harmonization of law and regulation in the three countries are called for.
More globalism, in other words.
Are there any of the Obama statements I've quoted that Bush wouldn't have said in a visit to Mexico?
Nevertheless, not everybody in Mexico was satisfied with Obama's visit. An article in El Universal, Mexico's paper of record was entitled "Obama Abre Los Brazos Pero Compremete Poco" |Obama Opens His Arms but Commits Little. [By Sergio Javier Jiménez, April 17, 2009]
It began thusly "The president of the United States, Barack Obama, affirmed that the relationship with Mexico can be even stronger, but in his discourse he lacked concrete commitments."
It will be interesting to see, at the end of the next four (or eight) years, if Barack Obama is still as popular as he is today in Mexico.
My guess: no.
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.