Skip to comments.Critics: Fox Cancellation Hurts Ties
Posted on 08/15/2002 2:16:30 PM PDT by Dog Gone
MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Under pressure from critics who say his close friendship with President Bush has not paid off, President Vicente Fox's cancelation of his trip to the U.S. leader's Texas ranch has cooled relations with Washington but enhanced his power to get things done at home.
Fox has struggled with a hostile Congress that has blocked his proposals or modified them beyond recognition and, in one case, prevented him from traveling to the United States, arguing that he needed to focus more on Mexico.
Late Wednesday, hours after Texas ignored his pleas and put a Mexican-American drug smuggler to death for killing a Dallas police officer, Fox canceled his Aug. 26-28 trip to four Texas cities and to visit Bush at his ranch in Crawford, where he had planned to push the U.S. president for an immigration accord.
Some Mexican politicians have felt that Bush has increasingly abandoned this country after the Sept. 11 attacks shifted the focus of U.S. foreign policy from immigration reform to fighting terrorism. Some argue that Fox's cozy ties with the U.S. president have accomplished little south of the border.
``It seems there is much giving, and we get nothing but smiles in return,'' said Mexican lawmaker Eddie Varon, a member of the former ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party. ``Things are going to be taken seriously now.''
That sentiment is a far cry from the optimism on both sides of the border in February 2001, when Fox and Bush -- both newly elected -- walked like old friends around the pond at Fox's ranch and talked about ways to ease illegal immigration.
Yet even then, some Mexicans complained the meeting was overshadowed by U.S. and British airstrikes against Iraq, which took place hours before Fox and Bush emerged for a joint news conference in Fox's front yard.
Fox's decision on Wednesday ``is an unequivocal signal of rejection of the execution,'' said his spokesman Rodolfo Elizondo. ``It would be inappropriate, in these lamentable circumstances, to go ahead with the visit to Texas.''
Mexico, which has no death penalty, had argued that Javier Suarez Medina was a Mexican citizen who was denied his right to legal help from the Mexican consulate. Texas authorities said it wasn't clear if Suarez, who spent the majority of his life in the United States, was born in Mexico.
White House spokesman Jimmy Orr said Bush, a former Texas governor, ``respects President Fox and the two have an excellent professional relationship and a strong friendship.'' He had no comment about Fox's decision or on when the meeting would be rescheduled.
Fox spokeswoman Alicia Buenrostro, in a visit to The Associated Press' Mexico City bureau on Thursday, said the two leaders have ``excellent communication,'' adding: ``Bush understands the situation perfectly.'' She also had no date for their next meeting.
But many analysts said there was no question that Fox's decision hurt the relationship.
George Grayson, a Mexico expert at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., compared it to ``shooting yourself in the foot with a machine gun.''
``Mexico has never had a president in the White House more pro-Mexico than George Bush, so why gratuitously offend him?'' Grayson asked.
But while the decision hurt his close ties with Bush, it boosted Fox's position at home, where critics say Fox spends too much time cozying up to the United States and too little working on domestic policy.
His U.S. focus has hurt Fox in Congress and been a factor in his failure to pass much of his agenda to change Mexico after 71 years of single-party rule. The cancelation of the trip was a clear signal to a Congress that has blocked him at every step.
``This favors the day-to-day internal work environment with Congress,'' Buenrostro conceded.
Varon, the congressman, applauded Fox's decision, saying it would help the president in his troubled relationship with lawmakers at a time when Fox is desperately trying to push through reforms that would allow more private investment in the energy sector and relax labor laws.
``I think the president showed great statesmanship, because he listened to the voice of the people and to the voice of Congress,'' Varon said. ``When we have U.S. congressmen coming here complaining, the first thing I'm going to do is to say, `Respect our laws.'''
At least four other Mexican nationals have been executed in Texas, and 18 Mexican inmates are on death row there. But no execution prompted a response from a Mexican president as strong as Fox's on Wednesday.
Some Mexicans believed the reaction was too strong.
Waiting outside the U.S. Embassy while his wife applied for a tourist visa to shop at a U.S. mall, Gregorio Cabrera said Mexico had to respect the U.S. justice system. He said Fox's decision to cancel his trip ``could be misinterpreted'' by the United States.
``This really could be bad,'' Cabrera said.
I would like to personally thank this gentleman for 'giving' us so much. /sarcasm
This is Bush's cue to make some drastic changes!
The only thing Mexico give us is millions illegal aliens and a higher crime rate. They can have them back.
RESPECT OUR LAWS? RESPECT OUR LAWS?
My head is gonna just totally explode. Where's the duct tape?
Look closer, nobody is smiling.
We should have granted that murderer citizenship 5 minutes before the sentence was carried out,then everyone would be happy.
Absolutely, maybe Mexicans will understand now that if you kill people in America, you're dead period.
I believe that he was an illegal, or at least not an American citizen, otherwise Mexico would have no reason to try and interfere.
"Some Mexican politicians have felt that Bush has increasingly abandoned this country after the Sept. 11 attacks shifted the focus of U.S. foreign policy from immigration reform to fighting terrorism."
How dare he focus on his own country.
"where critics say Fox spends too much time cozying up to the United States and too little working on domestic policy."
Fox's domestic policy and foreign policy are the same....pack off as many of his poor countrymen as possible to America where they can take over without firing a shot. Mexicans who become citizens can retain their Mexican citizenship. Talk about conflicts of interest.
President Bush needs to cool it with the amnesty talk; it isn't playing well at all and this snub by Fox gives the President an opportunity to back away from the love-fest with a country that gives us nothing but problems; illegals, drugs and pleas for financial aid.
Enough is enough. If President Fox needs to focus on Mexico then President Bush needs to be concentrating on America, the war and the economy.
Agreed. Any smiling being done is through gritting teeth...
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