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Maybe the decider should have decided to stay home

13 March 2007

Outside U.S. Embassy, Mexico City (NY Times photo by Adriana Zehbrauskas

The always cautious James McKinney of the New York Times writes of Bush’s visit to Merida…

Since taking office in December, Mr. Calderón has taken several steps aimed in part at showing Washington he is a willing partner on security and immigration issues.

Mr. Bush, meanwhile, ruffled a lot of feathers when he suggested in an interview with Reforma that the state-owned oil monopoly should be opened to private investment so it could explore deeper waters for crude.

Selling off all or part of the state monopoly, or even allowing private investment in it, is a political land mine here that even the most ardent free-trade conservatives like Mr. Calderón are not willing to step near. …

Beyond help with changing United States immigration laws, Mr. Calderón is likely to bring up the possibility of tinkering with the North American Free Trade Agreement to protect farmers who produce corn and beans.

Other issues likely to come up are the steady flow of arms from the United States into Mexico as well as the skyrocketing cost of American corn because of new ethanol plants.

…some Mexican political leaders and opinion makers are now expressing the belief that Mr. Bush does not understand the depth of anti-American sentiment

To say the least.

Por Esto!, the ballsy Merida daily that’s been on a crusade against narcotraficantes, isn’t covering the event. They have their own axe to grind (they claim Calderón’s anti-narco crusade isn’t going after the “big fish” on the Yucatan). This is the start of their front page editorial (my translation):

President George Bush arrives today in Mérida, an open insult to the First Amendment of the United States, guaranteeing constitutional liberty.

His arrival in the Yucatán capital signals the violation by state and Federal authorities of Article 6 of the General Constitution of the Republic, which reads: “The expression of ideas shall not be subject to any judicial or administrative investigation, unless it offends good morals, infringes the rights of others, incites to crime, or disturbs the public order.”

It is no accident that that these serious matters occur at this critical moment. The usurper, Felipe Calderón Hijosa, personally ordered that accreditation to cover the American president’s visit be refused to reporters and photographers of POR ESTO!, undermining the confidence and credibility that surrounds the event.

They are panicky and afraid of the truth.

O.K., well Por Esto! is one local paper. The editorial went on to claim they were denied press credentials because they wanted to ask some questions about the narcotics trade, and the U.S. role in it. But, the Times says FeCal is asking the same questions. But, he’s probably gonna be very polite and apologetic about it.

The Yucatecas aren’t so quiet. Look at the opinion poll from the “respectable” Diario de Yucatan:

(screen capture at 5:30 AM, 13-March):

As it happens, I’m not Hugo Chavéz’ greatest fan (I’d prefer someone like Lopez Obradór, a former social worker and administrator, and an anti-clerical with a sense of tradition, over a religious militar any day of the week). But given the choice of George Bush over Hugo Chavez, you can see how those newspaper readers voted.

I suspect a lot of people in the U.S. would do the same, if they were asked.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 13 March 2007 10:58 pm

    George W. Bush is the worst person to suggest opening up the Mexican oil industry.

    Still, I come from Alberta, an oil-rich province derided as the Texas of Canada, where the government extracts sizable royalties for drilling on crown land. Such a scheme sees generous revenues flow into the provincial treasury and entrepreneurial activity is vibrant. It’s not perfect, but for the most part, it works.

    Why must Mexico persist with Pemex, which is seemingly beyond reforming? In the Alberta model, the government owns the resource – a consistent theme in the Mexican debate.

    Perhaps Mexico could learn from Alberta.

  2. 14 March 2007 12:16 am

    Perhaps Mexico could learn from Alberta.

    A frightening thought, but perhaps you’re right. Pemex seems to have the worst of all worlds — the effeciency of a bureaucracy and the honesty of oil company executives.

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