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I am a self proclaimed coffee addict and Executive Director of a non profit missions agency working primarily in the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Ensenada. I've been married for over 30 years to Chelle, and we have one grown son, Joseph, a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mexican President Calderon Addresses US Congress

The Speech, or at least bits of it, as it was called by the commentator on C-SPAN, from Mexican President Felipe Calderon. My comments are in the brackets [… ]

Our Congress is standing around… apparently no one told folks you don’t start a party for someone until they are in the building…

The speech starts and I switch to Univision because after yesterdays horrible translation job, I want to hear the message in Spanish. Felipe is speaking in English, and they are translating back into Spanish. I switch back to C-SPAN.

Calderon states at the top that Mexico was the first country in continental America to abolish slavery…

Mexico is confronting organized crime with determination and courage… [that line gets a standing ovation even if it is a failed effort]

Calderon states that to restore public security in Mexico will cost still more lives, but will ultimately be won…

He states that the challenge to their security has roots on both sides of he border… that the US desire for illegal drugs is part of the problem…

Here is what Mexico is doing to solve the problem. They are using the military and weakening the financial abilities of the gangs and arrested many felons, [except those from the Sinaloa Cartel… see this NPR Report].

They are moving to an open and transparent judicial system… [finally Felipe]

Mexico needs help… please stop the flow of assault weapons across the border… I’ll let the GOP work on that… He states that he admires the US Constitution and the 2nd Amendment, but, our open gun laws are helping fuel the violence in Mexico… The violence in Mexico, Calderon states, primarily started in 2004, when the assault weapon ban was lifted…

Calderon is asking for help here… half of Congress stands and applauds… the other half sits quietly…

Mexico is trying to keep their public deficit at 1% of GDP… [imagine of we did that]

Felipe is touting the investment of the gov’t in the infrastructure of Mexico… [I am still waiting to see that investment in the areas where I work]

Mexico did not bail out their banks, not one cent went for bailouts… [take that you bailout favoring socialists!]

Calderon is making his case that Mexico is determined to move forward, and because of an economic recovery, [that I am not seeing] the country is already moving forward, expecting 4% economic growth... [good luck]

And he says they are auctioning national wireless opportunities… [just give them to Slim and save yourself time, he’s gonna get them anyway. Carlos Slim owns almost 90% of the Mexican telecom market]

“We are improving the quality of all Mexicans under the principle of equal opportunity for all.” Great statement Felipe, but you didn’t say that your reported drop in poverty has done little in the indigenous south… [and all the numbers were from 2006, before the worldwide economic crisis.]

Felipe says they are providing more and better education… [Tell that to the maestros de Oaxaca]

I think Pelosi is falling asleep…

Universal health care by 2012... [Long a goal of the PAN Party, but I will wait until I see it. Again, one side of our Congress sits and another applauds, even though since a lot of our politicians say Mexicans come here for free medical care, universal care in Mexico might just keep some of them home, a fact Calderon quickly points out as he heads to the issue of the day, IMMIGRATION]

Now Nancy wakes up, and Felipe switches to Spanish to speak to his paisanos in what for many, is their native tongue, I am sure some in Congress are loving this now…

And he says… in Spanish, we are working hard for your rights in Mexico and we miss and admire you for working hard to make America great… But we are working to provide you jobs in Mexico… we are determined to assume our responsibilities for the immigration problem… we do not favor the breaking of rules… I fully respect the right of any country to enact and enforce it’s own laws… but we need to fix a broken system… we favor laws that work for everyone…

The goal of Mexico is to provide people the opportunities they are looking for… I am convinced that comprehensive immigration is crucial to securing our borders… however I strongly disagree with the law in Arizona… [no surprise there]

Now onto climate change… global warming demands the commitment of all countries and Mexico was one of the first to commit to reductions… because of your global leadership, we need your support in November in Cancun… [are you inviting me? Nancy was pretty quick on this applause line, maybe she has never been there]

Mexico is transforming… to a country of laws, security, and a place free of fear… with a future where dreams can come true…

I believe in North America as the most prosperous region in the world.

Let us work together to give our people the future they deserve…

God bless America, Viva Mexico!

President Calderon had a lot of nice things to say. He was correct in some areas, and he was putting the best foot forward on some others. Whether Mexico can become the Mexico of his dreams, remains to be seen.

Calderon is still deeply disliked by many in the country who resent his election and believe Mexican Courts illegally intervened to give him the Presidency in 2006. [Sound familiar?] This fact, and the ascendancy again of the PRI party, a group very effective at saying no, should make real progress difficult in the near future.

Time will tell.

Comments on "Mexican President Calderon Addresses US Congress"


Blogger Tim said ... (10:07 AM) : 

Here we seem to have a couragous man who is truly doing the hard work to uplift his country.
Maybe if our armed forces were not half way around the world fighting an unwinnable bul*&t war we could secure our border and help them round up these narco killers once and for all, but then again, that's not what the plutocracy wants. Not only do they want to keep the poor in bondage, they want to keep the middle class in their place and if possible undermine their security as well. A vote for Republicans is a vote against your own interests if you are not a multi-millionaire. The Democrats are only marginally better I'm affraid, but they are all we've got standing bewteen the Republicans turning us into another Mexico.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (10:13 AM) : 

Tim, I agree that we need to seal our border and that our military could be a real asset there.

It would probably be a net budget gain as well.

As I watch FOX News on the speech, there is not a lot of talk about Calderon saying his country needs to take responsibility for immigration.

It is all on his criticism of the Ariz. law, which politically he had to do for Mexico...


Blogger Beth said ... (7:42 PM) : 

Do you realize that Mexico has laws regarding illegal immigrants who are in Mexico? (hint - they are considered criminals)



Blogger Dave Miller said ... (8:37 PM) : 

Yes beth I am indeed aware of the laws of Mexico and have in fact stared down the barrel of a few automatic weapons in feds hands over the years.

It is why I believe we need to have a frank, private discussion with Felipe and let him know he needs to get his house in order, or we are going to shine a light internationally on his southern border.

This post however, was just about his speech today and my thoughts on it...


Blogger dmarks said ... (6:25 AM) : 

Tim: The war against the terrorists is quite winnable. Unless, of course, we retreat from it.

However, it would not take a large number of troops at all to secure the border. We can get these from posts in Europe, which is not a hot spot.

"A vote for Republicans is a vote against your own interests if you are not a multi-millionaire."

I vote for them most of the time. Not all the time. IT is because it is in my interest, and I am not a millionaire of any kind.


Blogger dmarks said ... (4:21 PM) : 

Back closer to topic. Tim said: "Here we seem to have a couragous man who is truly doing the hard work to uplift his country."

True. When's the last time a US administration really went after organized crime like Calderon is in Mexico? Bobby Kennedy comes to mind, and that was a LOMG time ago.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (5:55 PM) : 

Many years ago Dmarks...

It is interesting to note that within Mexico, they are not very happy with Calderon...


Blogger dmarks said ... (9:14 AM) : 

Do you mean he is polling low? Or something else?


Blogger dmarks said ... (9:43 AM) : 

(By the way, Tim's comment "The Democrats are only marginally better I'm affraid, but they are all we've got standing bewteen the Republicans turning us into another Mexico." seems odd, since it is the Republicans who are more hardline at keeping Mexicans out, and opposed to their culture, wanting "English only' etc.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (1:05 PM) : 

Dmarks, they do not do a lot of "official" polling Mexico. Suffice to say that those that supported Obrador for President, do not consider him their guy.

Here is the supreme irony of his address to our Congress, his leadership is so contested in Mexico, that he is literally unable to address his own gov't in their capital.

For his SOTU, he has to just deliver his speech as a paper, and then someone else reads it. But here, he can speak...

Brace yourself for a comeback of the PRI this year in the statehouses and soon on a national level...


Blogger Tim said ... (10:10 AM) : 

DM- GWOT is lost the moment we leave, IMHO. Whether that be tomorrow or in 20 years. Also, do you really want to spend another trillion that we don't have to rebuild Afghanistan into a stable first world country while our own is falling apart? You are from Michigan, look around. It used to be just Detroit and Flint, now it's Grand Rapids, Lansing and Traverse city that are feeling the pain as well.
And by turning us into another Mexico I do not mean culturally, but economically. Elimination of the middle class and a society of very rich and very poor.


Blogger dmarks said ... (10:41 AM) : 

"Elimination of the middle class and a society of very rich and very poor."

The middle class is a long way from being eliminated. The last time I checked (a couple of years ago) the actual number of middle-class Americans had increased.

"You are from Michigan, look around. It used to be just Detroit and Flint, now it's Grand Rapids, Lansing and Traverse city that are feeling the pain as well."

A top Democratic state leader recently proposed reforming the government employee pension system. It would still give out fair pensions, and the savings would take care of the state's debt problem. Then you get more money for infrastructure and services for the poor and police.

But even such modest reform is opposed by those who want to continue to make out like bandits from the overly-generous public "servant" pensions, no matter what it does to the critical missions of government.


Blogger dmarks said ... (10:42 AM) : 

(As for the GWOT, Japan and Germany were defeated in WW2. Despite the loud calls from those who said it was not possible).


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:41 PM) : 

When Calderon attacks and defeats the Mexican oligarchy that steals the bread from the mouths of the poor while keeping the economy in the toilet, I'll applaud.

Blaming our lifting the "assault Weapons ban" is disingenuous, to put it politely. You could have a chain of people doing straw purchases 24/7 and moving guns to Mexico and it wouldn't keep the militarized gangs armed.

Also, last time I checked, you couldn't buy rocket launchers and grenades here either.

Sounds satisfying to blame Mexico's problems on us righwing gun nuts, but the facts currently available just don't support that contention.


Blogger Tim said ... (5:37 AM) : 

Dmarks- Public pensions? Yeah, cutting that (which I agree with) is really going to bring the MI economy roaring back (NOT!). Let's not forget the blood and treasure it cost to win WW2. Not to mention 2 Atom bombs. Besides, the GWOT and WW2 is like comparing apples to cynderblocks.


Blogger dmarks said ... (5:13 PM) : 

Tim: It would quickly and easily solve the budget problem. Then the state wouldn't be over a barrel any more, and reforms can take place. Like of the single business tax.

A friend of mine is an accountant, and he recently told me of a business that moved to Florida, because there they pay 1/20th of the small business tax that they pay in Michigan.

"Besides, the GWOT and WW2 is like comparing apples to cynderblocks."

Both involve fighting back against aggressive overseas fascistic threats. The ideology of the enemies is even similar at times (the rabid mad-dog antisemitism, for example).

And remember, Germany was defeated without one single atam bomb.


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