Any one of the plans put forth by the three major candidates for Mexico’s presidency would help to move Mexico in a progressive direction. So whoever wins should be greeted with patience and respect by the USA. In other words, Obrador is no Chavez.
In terms of the hyped up climate over immigration politics, it is time for the USA, its leaders, and its people to face the facts: the USA relationship to Mexican immigration can only be addressed with a long view of social change.
I think this sums up Pamela K. Starr’s helpful preview of the Mexican election coming up July 2. Maybe it should be subtitled: “waiting for Obrador.”
Starr’s tone of patience, and her reminders of complex context read like antidotes to an environmental anxiety that has been deliberately fomented around the immigration issue. It is especially helpful to be reminded how Mexicans perceive NAFTA as a national trauma. The crash of the Peso in 1995 also looks in retrospect like an effect of Mexico’s fall to “dollar hegemony” after NAFTA (although I take this point from recent work of Henry Liu at Asia Times, not from Starr or the CFR.)
The only scary thing about Starr’s report is that it recommends a set of behaviors that the USA is unlikely to exhibit during our own heated election season. Will the Republican Party let the steam out of the immigration issue by Labor Day? Or will we witness neo-con redux at the Rio Grande? Will high-powered business councils keep a respectful distance from structural reform? Or will the clamor for competitiveness be amplified into loud-talking pressure from the Bush juggernaut? We can’t help but think about that scorpion who offered to give somebody a ride across the river.