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Felipe Calderón in Davos…

8 February 2007

Didn’t expect to win friends and influence people (in Latin America), but apparently, that was what he planned to do, Laura Carlson writes in Counterpunch:

Calderón… went to Davos to pick a fight. As a strategy to appeal to foreign investors, he painted a divided Latin America-with Mexico standing as a regional leader of those countries adhering to the rules set forth by the United States and the international finance organizations, and standing up to other countries that seek alternatives and modifications to the neoliberal model.

Mexico is a nation that exports half a million people a year-mostly the poor and underemployed who “vote with their feet” against an economic system that has failed them. Just days after the Davos forum, tens of thousands of Mexicans marched in the streets to protest a price rise in tortillas and declining real wages. Social protest in several states, notably Oaxaca, has refused to subside even in the face of violent repression.

A presidential crusade to position Mexico as a model of the right in Latin America is not good for Mexico, no matter what one’s ideological orientation.

By claiming obedience to globalization’s strictest rules as a virtue, Calderon publicly eliminates policy space for much-needed corrective measures. By making conservative free-market economics Mexico’s platform for competition, Calderon rejects demands for a new or modified economic model and for social programs to reduce inequality. These are policies that will inevitably inflame Mexico’s internal differences.

As foreign policy, the strategy simply defies common sense. It’s never a good idea to antagonize the neighbors. The PAN government has routinely exacerbated conflicts with heads of state in the South, made the terms for cooperation more difficult, and drawn lines of difference where there could be a common search for solutions to shared problems. It has also explicitly rejected interesting prospects for alternative forms of integration on the continent.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 9 February 2007 11:56 pm

    The PAN chickens have come home to roost. How do like that crock, everybody over here talking about how he is not a conservative.

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