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Excelsior, Mexico

Candidates won’t Answer Mexicans; Perhaps they will Respond to Mr. Biden


“You might want to ask each of the candidates what their vision is for the future of our two nations in terms of cooperation and mutual support. The border we share is both a link and a source of a new, dynamic culture. How will they dispel myths of the supposed danger of the border, the fear of which leads your countrymen to build absurd fences? Please ask them, Mr. Biden. You they may answer; to us they only show campaign spots.”


By Víctor Beltri*


Translated By Halszka Czarnocka


March 6, 2012


Mexico – Excelsior – Original Article (Spanish)

It is common practice among the diplomatic corps to prepare “talking points” for upcoming meetings between officials and famous politicians. It makes perfect sense: the visits are often so short that the time must be spent in the most efficient manner possible, with a focus on the issues most relevant to the relationship, be it bilateral or multilateral.


Thus, it is more than likely that U.S. diplomats have prepared in advance - and conscientiously - the subjects that Joe Biden will address at his meetings today with our presidential primary candidates López Obrador, Peña Nieto and Vázquez Mota. It is, nevertheless, interesting to consider some of the points that may have escaped their attention and offer a suggestion: question them, Mr. Biden.


Ask, first of all, if they are aware of the need to guarantee the governability of the county, both during the campaign period and in its immediate aftermath. In the situation we are living through today, in which one of the candidates has such a big advantage, the temptation to close the margin separating them at all costs is enormous. Smear campaigns in the form of rumors, the introduction of trending topics and through the politicization of the judicial process may lead society to a truly alarming state of tension. Will they be ready to give up the mudslinging in the name of the nation’s stability?


Ask them, please, if they are committed to respecting the outcome of the election, especially if it doesn’t favor them. Uncertainty is creating anxiety among the public; the rancor between supporters of particular candidates is growing and trust in our economy could be lost in an instant. In the game of democracy there are no absolute winners and losers, but the candidates don’t seem to understand that. Ask them, too, if they would be disposed to governing with the opposition, and if they would integrate into their governing agenda some of the positive policies of their opponents.


Ask what they’ll do to develop the economy, how they will end our dependence on oil and how to diminish our dependence on remittances. How will they create jobs and lend new life to our small towns which little by little are becoming deserted or fall in the hands of organized crime. Ask how they hope to overcome the crisis in Europe and how they want to transform Mexico to ensure its future viability. The answers they give us are oversimplified and full of wishful thinking; for the sake of successful commercial relations between the two countries it is imperative that their proposals be realistic and concrete.


Ask how they would confront organized crime, despite the refusal of your administration to halt the sale of high-caliber firearms. What is their position on the drug problem and how would they go about reducing violence? These are two things that up to now we have tried to resolve with force alone. Will they attack the chain of supply - the way the criminals finance themselves?; or the businesses that reintegrate the illicit funds into the formal economy? Ask how they plan to restore calm to a society that needs to believe in itself again and up to now has received nothing but evasive answers.


Poll ratings for presidential candidates in Mexico as of Feb. 29.

To dispel concern that the U.S. favors PRI candidate Peña Nieto,

Vice President Biden was careful to meet them all.


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Ask if they are committed to the law – and if they are disposed to applying the law strictly but with a sense of justice. See if they are aware that the only way to strengthen institutions is respect for the law without anyone receiving special treatment; because in Mexico, Mr. Biden, mocking the law is unfortunately the norm rather than the exception.



Ask the candidates if they’re willing to be living examples and demand the same from their supporters. Mexican politics today is becoming increasingly detached from the citizens, and seems to consist of small groups of people who share the spoils of government rather than a genuine willingness to serve. Transparency and accountability are nothing but wishful thinking in a country where thorny issues are buried for twelve years and corrupt officials are rewarded with new posts. Ask, at the same time, how those who wish to lead the country can support so many candidates that, to say the least, are of questionable reputation. Let them tell you who each future legislator they back is, and what the origins are of their fortunes. Slip in the words “rubber,” “cheese” or “dinosaurs” - and observe their faces.


[Editor's Note: We have been unable to explain the reference to "rubber." The "twelve years" refers to the two, six-year terms that the ruling PAN has held the presidency. "Dinosaurs" refers to the former ruling PRI Party, which held power for over 70 years, and "cheese" is reference to a corruption case. It seems that the brother of a Nuevo Leon official, caught on video receiving a large amount of cash before a hotel/casino fire, claimed that the money was for cheese he sold the hotel].


And ask them, please, if they are prepared to reform the state and its political institutions. See if they are disposed to ending the monopoly of trade unions that hamper the prospects and education of our children. Ask if they plan to reform the administration of law enforcement, labor or the tax system. And if they say yes, ask again why they didn’t do so when they had the chance before.


Thanks mostly to the efforts of our discreet but efficient chancellery, relations between Mexico and the United States are experiencing a period of warmth and understanding. You might want to ask each of the candidates what their vision is for the future of our two nations in terms of cooperation and mutual support. The border we share is both a link and a source of a new, dynamic culture. How will they dispel the myths of the supposed danger of the border, the fear of which leads your countrymen to build absurd fences? How would they improve bilateral ties?


So please ask them, Mr. Biden. You they may answer; to us they only show campaign spots.


*Víctor Beltri is a political analyst




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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US March 17, 5:19pm]


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