Thursday, September 6, 2007

El Presidente

I just read the State of the Union address—from Mexico. It was delivered on Sunday, September 2nd, by Felipe Calderon.

First some background. Calderon was elected last year to replace Vicente Fox. The transfer of power includes passing on the presidential sash and a speech in the Congressional Chambers.

Except there was trouble in Congress. We send lawyers to Florida to count votes when the election results are questioned; in Mexico the Senators show up for a lucha libre! (See the photo at the top of this post.)

This is hardly the venue for a solemn ceremony, especially when George “41” Bush and Gov. Aaanold are invited. But Calderon pulled it off. The Senators had been at each other’s throats for three days before the ceremony. At 9:45 am they quickly called a quorum, they snuck him into the chambers through the back door, he took the oath, Calderon gave a short speech, and he was outta there.

Well, here we are nine months later, and El Presidente still has trouble going up to Congress. It is customary to deliver the State of the Union before Congress. Instead, Felipe surrounded himself with supporters at the palace and gave his speech.

Here are some tidbits from the official Mexican website:

“The Rule of Law and Public Security.
When I took office as President, I found public security in a tenuous state. Therefore, during the period covered by this Report, we have launched a frontal assault on violence and organized crime.
The fundamental objective of this effort has been to ensure the Rule of Law throughout our national territory. To refuse to allow crime to take what is ours. We are fighting so that our families, our children, women, and every Mexican are able to travel Mexico’s streets and roads, through our villages, towns and cities without fear.
The problem was not only the presence of organized crime, but also the violence and impunity with which several criminal organizations had taken territorial control of various regions of the country.
Let us not forget that what the criminals intended was, and still is, to take the future of Mexico captive. Although there is no higher law than that emanating from Congress, organized crime seeks to impose its own law. If, by definition, the State has a monopoly on the use of force, these groups seek to impose their own force, to dominate citizens and paralyze the government.
In short, they had defied the State and sought to replace its authority.
The situation had gone beyond the capabilities of local authorities, and as a result the federal government was obliged to take subsidiary and solidary action.
The seriousness of the problem, and the risk of it continuing to multiply, did not allow indecision or delay. That is why we decided to act with all the force of the State, to reestablish order and authority.
My Administration’s response has been equal to the magnitude of the problem. Thus, during the first days of my administration, we deployed several operations that have had the decisive and determined support of our Armed Forces, as well as the coordinated participation of the General Attorney’s Office and the Ministry of Public Security.
The main objective was, and is, to restore to the State the power that cannot be delegated or renounced.”

(My comment)
It sounds like what we often hear from people who are opposed to illegal aliens…”We are a nation of laws.”

But now, El Presidente goes south with these remarks, remarks that brought down the house with approval:
“Finally, I have said that Mexico does not end at the border, that wherever there is a Mexican, Mexico is there; this is why the actions of the Government in favor of our migrating countrymen is guided by principles, by the defense and protection of their rights, by prevention for detecting measures that may affect our people and by the professionalism we must offer our co-nationals.
For this reason, we are already using all the resources of our consular network for the benefit of Mexicans abroad.On behalf of the Mexican Government, I again strongly protest the unilateral measures taken by the United States Congress and Government, measures that are making the persecution and humiliating treatment of undocumented Mexican workers worse.
The insensitivity shown toward those who contribute a great deal to the economy and to society in the United States has been incentive to redouble our battle to gain recognition of their enormous contribution to the economies of both nations and to defend their rights.
Therefore, the Government of Mexico will continue to firmly insist to both countries’ societies and Governments on the necessity of comprehensive immigration reform and of categorically rejecting construction of a wall on our common border.”

Well, that sounds like great rhetoric, Mr. Presidente. It would probably be well received in some circles here in the United States. But see what happens if you are caught in Mexico without papers. I understand it is not pretty. Elvira’s treatment was a picnic compared to hard time south of the border. You can begin by adopting our rules for illegals in your own country, Senor Calderon.

But his speech does enlighten us about the feeling of entitlement held by illegal aliens in this country. If their President encourages and protects them, what do you expect?

FYI, Calderon’s approval rating is 65%. Bush is still in the low 30’s.

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