How the U.S. Views Mexico
In a recent interview on BBC television, Thabo Mbeki, the president of South Africa, criticized U.S. foreign policy. His criticism is hard to refute: that the U.S. did not react to the genocidal conflicts in Rowanda and Somalia with the same intensity, interest and direct intervention that Bosnia and Kosovo received.
Is it racist? I think the racist card is played too often in the States and white folks, understandably react with a “here we go again” attitude. So if it isn’t racist what is it? I believe a primary cause of Euro centrism is our public education system. Most of us were “educated” to believe the lie that the birth of civilization occurred on the European continent.
It wasn’t until I traveled to the southern most state of Mexico – Chiapas, did I realize that the Olmec and Mayan cultures predated the Greeks and Romans. A civilization whose astronomers knew the world was round and understood the planetary and solar system. Architects whose buildings and pyramids, thousands of years later, still stand as testament to their quality; like the aquaducts that still carry water throughout the city. Mathmeticians, politicians, artists and musicians that predated the ones we studied in our Euro focused history books.
Hiking through the ruins of Palenque I was transfixed by what I saw and experienced. The ruins are in incredably good condition and spread out over miles of parkland. Palenque transported me back thousands of years. I felt the energy that still remains of the highly sophisticated city that once existed in this beautiful, magical, ancient jungle.
I was transformed as an American in Palenque. I began to see myself as a descendent of a great and ancient American culture and civilization. No longer was I shackled with a European bench mark of civility. I could see even more clearly the historical and cultural blinders that shapes the yankee attitude toward the rest of the world. A profound arrogance that stems from something I heard from anglos in my youth: “if you white you all right, if you brown stick around, but if you black-stay back”.
For me, U.S. foreign policy has always been and still is morally bankrupt. We cannot be proud of our international human right’s policies. If we can accept the obvious hipocracy of doing business with the Chinese while maintaining a boycott against Cuba we must reject any claims of moral objectivity.
It was U.S. foreign policy in Mexico that ignored: the ruling PRI party rigging elections, using federal police and the military to torture and intimidate citizens, imprison political dissenters and labor organizers. We wittingly assisted an autocratic government that used our aid to implement a system of corruption, so pervasive, that it will take decades to dismantle. Mexico today, suffers from U.S. aid that supported a political regime, that in all probability, would have fallen were it not for Uncle Sammy’s tolerance of tyranny in exchange for border stability. So before criticizing Mexico, think about how we supported the end result.
I believe norteamericanos are still befogged by English traditions and beliefs in “the white man’s burden”. That the man of color is less civilized than their European ancestors and somehow unworthy of the same status or concern. That is why the first U.S. made nuclear power plant was tested in Rincon, Puerto Rico and not in New York. Ironic since New York has more Puerto Ricans than the mother island. However, the Italians, English, Irish, German and French descendants in New York outnumber those in Puerto Rico.
Please do not think me Anti American or anti white, I am a U.S. citizen and of mixed anglo and latin heritage. I look more caucasian than Latin. As an American, I am proud, that no other nation has embraced and assimilated so many folks from around the world of all colors. I know too many Mexicanos, in particular, whose lives have been immensely improved by migrating to the States. Imagine if our foreign policy was based on the same noble principles we practice toward immigrants and citizens residing within the continental United States.
We, U.S. citizens, should insist on a well defined, written foreign policy. If it is U.S. policy, we should be able to read it. What we have now is no policy at all; only subjective and expedient reactions to world events; Why can’t our leadership develop a well thought out set of criteria that really stands for freedom and justice for all? A document we can refer to. That guides our decisions and can be used to measure our success. A benchmark document that citizens can use to judge our diplomatic leadership.
We can do a better job in assisting all our neighbors and especially our closest and most important trading partner MEXICO. If we were clear about our goals and expectations we could achieve greater success for both countries. If our foreign policy was really directed toward the best interests of mankind. If our foreign policy made practical sense it would reflect a dedication to improving human rights and social economic conditions. Only with a clear vision and road map will we stem the tide of so many “foreigners” trying to escape onto our shores legally or illegally.
We are the most powerful nation in the world and all nations want our assistance. Only by being unconditionally true to our values of freedom and justice will we be successful in creating a lasting peace among all people. By helping all the citizens of the world prosper, without the yoke of tyranny, we will be doing the right thing for ourselves and all our brothers and sisters irregardless of race or nationality.
Keep it real and learn to speak Spanish guero! After all you are living in the United States of America.