Sunday, July 6th was a dark and solemn day for Mexico.
No, no, no… I'm not referring to the humiliating snub Mexico's transparent Johnny One Note president Vicente Fox suffered from the Mexican people in the mid-term elections.
(Here, in case you missed it, is the grim recap: only 41% of the electorate voted. Fox's PAN party lost 54 seats while the establishment PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) gained 15 seats and the PDR (Democratic Revolutionary Party), 95.)
I'm talking about the 2-1 victory the El Salvador soccer team hung on the outplayed and listless Mexicans at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles. Mexicans care about soccer. They don't give a hoot about Fox.
The Mexican coach, Ricardo Valope, was so embarrassed that he bolted for LAX moments after the game. Assistant Coach Jesus Bracamonte was left with the nasty task of fielding angry questions from the irate Mexican media.
Concluded Bracamonte, "Sometimes in soccer, as in life, you take a punch. We took a heavy punch today. But we will learn from this."
Mexican soccer fans are delighted to see that the team has subsequently rallied to reach the semi-finals of the Gold Cup. But for Fox, who took it in the chops big time, it's lights out.
Mexicans denied Fox a vote of confidence for the best possible reason: he didn't earn one. Add Fox's name to the long list of ineffective and/or corrupt Mexican leaders who promised the moon but delivered nada.
In a televised interview the day after his stinging defeat, Fox said that he would "redouble" his efforts with his Congressional opponents promising that "Now begins the era of consensus, of accords."
Uh, oh—there's that dreaded word: "accords." Here's what Fox should ask himself in light of the licking he just took: "Could I have made more progress domestically if I had spent as much time worrying about Mexico's economy as I did on 'migratory accords' and 'matricula consular cards' in the U.S?"
Fox has been a nuisance to Americans since before he took office. And he's been a hypocrite from the get-go, too.
Immediately after his election, erroneously hailed by the U.S. press as the beginning of a brand-new Mexico, Fox leaned on his soul mate, George W. Bush, for amnesty and for improved "human rights" for Mexicans working in the U.S.
While U.S. newspapers were hailing the two cowboys for forging a new era and leading the U.S. and Mexico to greater levels of cooperation, a much less reported event caught my eye.
Fox, in violation of the Mexican constitution, turned out to be employing at least 30 minors on his family ranch in San Cristobal.
The children—some as young as 11-years-old—were planting onions and potatoes.
A spokesman for the children, "Mario," told the Mexico City daily Reforma that the $7 a day the children receive "barely pays for food and they don't pay you for every day you work."
Back-pedaling immediately followed. Fox claimed that he was no longer a co-owner of the ranch. "This is not an issue for me," said Fox. "It is an issue for others whose names are Fox."
In any case, the family argued, the wages paid at San Cristobal were twice the going rate! So really, you see, you should have thanked the la familia Fox for paying the minors so handsomely.
The incident was quickly buried. Before long Bush, never one to let the facts get in his way, praised Fox for his willingness to fight for tougher enforcement of child labor laws.
In the meantime, Bush gave Fox free rein to come to the U.S., praise illegal aliens as "heroes" and demand, according to a July 18, 2001 Milwaukee Journal story titled "Fox Promotes Greater Rights for Mexican Immigrants" that 100% of them be given "the most rights possible as soon as possible."
Yeah, sure, Fox pitched for plenty of rights and benefits for Mexicans—especially agricultural workers— in the U.S. But Fox didn't have one thing to say about the pathetic conditions farm workers in Mexico endure.
In her May 6, 2001 story "At Home, Mexico Mistreats Its Migrant Farmhands," New York Times reporter Ginger Thompson wrote:
President Vicente Fox has been an outspoken advocate of Mexican laborers in the United States, pressing Washington to improve their working conditions. But in his five months in office, he has not devoted a speech to the cares of migrant workers at home.
(Nor has Fox spoken out about this since Thompson's story.)
Thompson further noted that Fox created a Cabinet level office to oversee issues regarding Mexicans living abroad and pushed Bush to open the border to greater numbers of Mexican migrants.
However, wrote Thompson,
"Mr. Fox, the son of ranchers, has not devoted any significant political capital to the abuses against migrants who labor on Mexican soil."
Entire families—including children— work from dawn to dusk for as little as $1,500 for the three-month harvest season. They live in squalid shantytowns and cope with disease, filth and exhaustion.
Mexican sociologist Hubert C. de Grammont, who has studied the plight of the Mexican agricultural worker for 20 years, told Thompson that
"It is difficult to try to defend the human rights of migrants in the United States when migrants are ignored and disrespected in our own country."
That's the two-faced Fox for you. On the one hand, he presses for more, more, more from the U.S. so that his nationals can keep sending remittances back home. But in Mexico, Fox is unwilling to lift a finger to help the poorest of the poor.
VDARE.COM takes heat for its accurate articles about Mexico. But Mexico has no harsher critics than Mexicans. And little wonder, since the country has been the most corrupt in the western world for 75 years.
Right after Fox was elected and in the midst of the media swooning, Anna Quinones, one of my E.S.L. students from Guanajuato (where Fox had been Governor) said, "I don't know what this is all about. What makes anyone think Fox will be different than any of the rest?"
She was right. George Bush, Karl Rove, and all the other assorted geniuses in the Republican Establishment were wrong. America gets to pay the cost.
Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.