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Leon Krauze

Mexico

Leon Krauze is a Mexican blogger and a founder of letraslibres.com. Close.

Leon Krauze

Mexico

Leon Krauze is a Mexican blogger and a founder of letraslibres.com. more »

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Mexico: It's Not Iraq, It's the Border

Although it’s difficult to get ahold of official figures, anti-Americanism in Mexico is probably on the rise. Nevertheless, Mexico’s brand of anti-Americanism is much less virulent -- and, of course, dangerous -- than the one Amar Bakshi will surely encounter in other parts of the world.

From an economic and cultural point of view, Mexico’s relationship with the United States has become increasingly symbiotic. It is no coincidence that Mexico is one of the largest markets for American movies, for example. And yet, the average Mexican probably still doesn’t hold a favorable opinion of the United States. The reason has little to do with America’s strategy in the Middle East, the Bush administration’s carelessness towards the environment or Paul Wolfowitz’s romantic life (unfortunately, the average Mexican couldn’t care less).

What really shapes Mexican anti-Americanism is what happens at the border. From Mexico’s point of view -- which isn’t always right or well informed -- the American government mistreats and abuses paisanos on a regular basis (just as American public opinion -- which isn’t always right or well informed either -- would probably think Mexico does nothing to prevent migration). The recent measures taken by the American government have done nothing but aggravate Mexican resentment and misconceptions. What is useful political pandering in Washington usually translates as unnecessary cross-border bullying in Mexico City.

Immigration reform would go a long way in ending this last, painful hurdle between Mexico and the United States. In a time when Latin America is, at least in part, the playground of a real anti-American like Hugo Chavez, Washington can’t really afford to discard Mexico as a social, cultural and political ally in the region. American congressmen should keep that in mind.

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