Mexico - Foreign policy

Interest in foreign involvement has surged since Fox's inauguration. Fox met with U.S. president George W. Bush to discuss citizenship rights for current Mexican migrant workers and ways to combat future illegal migration. Mexican interests and U.S.-Mexico relations fell on the list of priorities for President Bush following the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., on 11 September 2001. Mexico, like other countries interested in fostering closer ties and stronger economic relations with the United States, may need to be patient. Fox hoped to help modernize the country and bring it closer to his neighbors north of the border. He spoke about opening the border between Mexico and the United States, while striving to achieve closer economic parity between the two countries so that Mexicans could hope to earn roughly the same wages at home as in the United States.

Relations with the United States cooled in 2003 for several reasons. Mexico has asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to rule against the execution of 51 Mexicans on death row in the United States. When in late 2002 a Mexican was executed, Fox cancelled a visit to President Bush's ranch in Texas. With regard to trade relations, on 1 January 2003, many tariffs on agricultural products were eliminated as a result of NAFTA agreements, which Mexican farmers regard as unfairly benefiting their American counterparts, who are highly subsidized by the U.S. government.

Fox had to walk a fine line in 2002–03 with regard to political relations with the United States and its support for the forcible disarmament of Iraq. In a public opinion poll conducted in December 2002, 77% of Mexicans stated they viewed the United States as "trying to dominate the world," while only 22% thought it played a "constructive role in world politics." In 2003 Mexico held a seat on the United Nations (UN) Security Council as a nonpermanent member, and was pressed by the United States to vote for a resolution authorizing the use of force to disarm Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. Mexico, with a long tradition of nonintervention and what some might call pacifism in foreign affairs, found itself in a difficult diplomatic position. Public opinion in Mexico was overwhelmingly opposed to war, and Fox maintained international weapons inspections in Iraq should continue. After the U.S.-led war began on 19 March 2003, Fox indicated he would not have voted for a Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force in the crisis.

Fox broke from Mexico's long-standing policy of noninvolvement by making a public statement in April 2002 that he would support a criticism of Cuba at the upcoming meeting of the UN Human Rights Commission. Critics saw this as a serious step toward Fox's goal of breaking away from his country's checkered past.

Fox also wants to strengthen ties with Mexico's neighbors in Latin America. He aims for free trade agreements with Brazil, in addition to trade agreements already in place with the United States, European Union, and other Latin American nations. Shortly after his inauguration, Fox initiated the Plan Puebla Panama aimed at improving Central American tourism and infrastructure to boost the regional economy and make steps toward globalization.

The devaluation of the peso and subsequent economic insecurity forced Fox's predecessor Ernesto Zedillo to turn to the international community for help. Both Japan and Europe offered loans, but the main financial support came from the United States. Fox is striving to build Mexico's economy to the point where it can be a strong participant in the regional economy of Latin America and the global economy as well.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: