Way down on her border (down Mexico Way)


Book Reviewer
meanwhile, back at the dude ranch, Sir Barrington O'Bama keeps an eye on what's occurrin in the back y-aaaard: LINKERO

A Crucial U.S.-Mexico Summit
Author: Shannon K. O'Neil, Douglas Dillon Fellow for Latin America Studies
February 28, 2011

The surprise announcement of President Felipe Calderón's trip to Washington is a chance to right a teetering relationship. On March 2-3, the Mexican president will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama, Speaker of the House John Boehner, and members of the U.S. business community. This trip could prove an important turning point in U.S.-Mexico relations. It will, assuredly, be a defining test of Calderón's statesmanship.
U.S.-Mexico relations have hit a rough patch. The February 15 attack on two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raised the stakes for the U.S. government in Mexico's drug war. Agents Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila were driving to Mexico City from Monterrey when drug cartel gunmen intercepted, then fired upon their armored SUV. Zapata died and Avila was wounded. Though the details remain unclear--whether it was a carjacking gone wrong, a case of mistaken identity, or a calculated hit--the idea that drug traffickers would target U.S. officials sent chills through the U.S. embassy and beyond. And the attack lays bare the security challenges Mexico faces in securing even the country's main thoroughfares.
As U.S. officials worked through the ramifications of Zapata's death, longer-standing simmering grievances within Mexico's government boiled over. Behind the scenes, many experts and officials recognized the serious damage done to U.S.-Mexico relations by by WikiLeaks' revelations late last year. Secret cables signed by current Ambassador Carlos Pascual on December 17, 2009, and Deputy Chief of Mission John Feeley on January 29, 2010, in particular presented unfiltered assessments of the strengths and weaknesses of the Mexican government's security efforts, pointing to a hidebound Mexican army, infighting between Mexico's various security institutions, and worries about corruption and human rights abuses. While in line with the views of numerous independent analysts--as well as many security officials in their more candid moments--the leaks have embarrassed the Calderón government, and provided fodder for rival politicians as the Mexican electoral arena heats up for 2011 Govnorship races and the 2012 presidential contest.
In a wide-ranging and sensational interview in El Universal, one of Mexico's leading newspapers, on February 22, Calderón vented his anger. He accused the U.S. diplomats of "laying it on thick," distorting and exaggerating their analyses for ulterior motives. He went further, saying the lack of coordination and rivalry was not on the Mexican but the U.S. side, between ICE, Drug Enforcement Agency, and Central Intelligence Agency. The vitriol was so strong that U.S. Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano formally responded the next day, asserting that not only did U.S. agencies work well together, they did so closely with their Mexican counterparts.
Historically, it is remarkable that the two countries have gotten along this well for so long. For decades, the bilateral relationship has had fits and starts--beginning with expansive promises from new presidents, ending with bitter divisions. Domestic politics were often behind the fracture, as Mexico's ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) painted the United States as the great imperialist to justify its excesses and heavy political hand, and U.S. administrations changed course at the first hint of domestic opposition. Just as often personal differences, and real and perceived affronts, sank once promising bilateral ties.
Calderón's upcoming visit has the potential to break this counterproductive historical cycle, principally by getting the two countries' conversation back on track. That will require strong leadership from Calderón himself. Can he rise above personal grievances and his not unjustified frustrations with the United States to become the rare Mexican president who succeeds during his term in moving the bilateral relationship forward?
This trip will test U.S. policy and commitment to Mexico. The now often repeated rhetoric of co-responsibility and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's heartfelt words of "being a fan" of Calderón are fine, but the United States has to go beyond these niceties. Calderón is right to ask for more--U.S. demand for drugs remains unchanged, illegal guns and illegal gains flow south unabated. Estimates range widely, but tens of thousands of guns and tens of billions of dollars flow south each year. Though the Obama administration recently tried to boost the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives's ability to track gun sales (specifically multiple assault rifles--AK-47s, AR-15s, and the like), it was struck down by the new Republican-dominated Congress. Boehner will have to square his vocal support for Mexico and the Merida Initiative with his reflexive heeding of the National Rifle Association's demands.
There is a real possibility that U.S.-Mexico relations could fall into a downward spiral. That would be dire for both nations. Much more than security cooperation hangs in the balance. Mexico is the second largest U.S. export market, the largest source of U.S.-bound migrants, the ancestral home of over thirty million Mexican Americans, and an important partner in multilateral negotiations ranging from world financial markets to climate change. With economies, societies, and communities indelibly intertwined, whether it likes it or not, the United States' future is tied to Mexico's.

Hmmmm......not sure the Anointed One is quite so dependent on the Hispanic vote as his predecessor.....be interesting to see how this plays out.

Popcorn and Michelob stood to ....Anyone for a side order of Schadenfreude?

If you're still interested, here's a possible reply to your question. This article points to one of the realities the media and poiticians often miss. Too often they assume Hispanic/Latino citizens of the US and recently arrived immigrants are one monolithic group who all think the same way.

Latinos: Obama's Pandering on Immigration Falls Flat

During the midtem elections IIRC, a survey came out showing that the number one concern of Hispanic/Latino voters was the economy and jobs. Immigration was number five or six on the list. If I can find a link to those results, I'll post it.

Based on what I see here in southern Arizona, Hispanic/Latino voters could be divided into at least 4 different groups:

1. The people whose ancestors have been here for several generations, going back to Spanish empire land grants or other settlements dating from the 1700s or late 1600s. Some of these folks are bilingual; some speak Spanish with an accent even worse than mine; some don’t even try. These people are not going to respond to campaigning in Spanish.
2. The second or third generation offspring of immigrants. Around here they tend to be fully bilingual. Historically they’ve been Catholics who voted Democratic because the party claimed to represent blue collar workers. That’s starting to change as more catch on to the results of Democrat policies. In the midterm election while campaigning for a candidate to unseat our open borders, bottomless deficit Democrat Hispanic congressman who called for a boycott of his own state in response to the Arizona state legislature passing an immigration bill, I encountered people who said something like, “Yeah we don’t agree with him, but we have to keep voting for him because he’s one of us.” I also found some who said, ”I’m a life-long Democrat, but I’ll never vote for that idiot again!”
3. The next group is those recently arrived from Mexico and their children. They may not be fully functional in English. They’re also the most open to pandering by politicians, including those pushing the reconquest by Mexico of the southwestern US. The first two groups above are absolutely opposed to “La Reconquista” and can get quite angry about attempts to edit history classes to justify it.
4. Not all Hispanics/Latinos in the US came from Mexico. This fourth group is irritated when politicians assume they care about Mexican issues. If they have ties to Cuba or any other country affected by experiments with communism or far left socialism, family stories guarantee they’ll be voting Republican for the foreseeable future.
5. As the article points out, not all are Catholic. A significant number are evangelical Protestants or may have no particular belief system at all. No matter their religious affiliation, most tend to be social conservatives who at least claim to support strong families and oppose abortion. It looks to me like party affiliation trumps religious background.
6. In short, I believe family history and the stories people pass down filtered through current conditions determine how people will vote (if they bother to vote). Politicians, including President Obama, would get better results by appealing to people’s experiences instead of ethnicity.

I was too lazy to write all that when you first asked.


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