Front-runner urges opening U.S. border
TOLUCA, Mexico -- Mexico's presidential front-runner, Vicente
Fox of the
conservative National Action Party (PAN, in its Spanish initials), spoke with
Herald world staff writers Morris Thompson and Ricardo Sandoval. The interview
was conducted in Spanish and translated:
The following are edited excerpts:
Q: What would a Fox victory in July mean for Mexico?
A: A great party. We will have converted to reality the dream
of most Mexicans ...
of a new, honest and transparent government that's accountable. . . . It also
means an end to the impunity and corruption that have marred our country for so
long. . . . It means we will be able to compete economically on the world market
in the 21st century and provide opportunities for all Mexicans, many of whom now
see no future with the PRI.
Q: What would a Fox presidency mean for relations between Mexico
A: The only way we eventually can end this excessive migration
is to open the
border under a planned project of from five to 10 years . . . so that in the end the
border will allow free transit of workers and people, just as we have done with
commerce, professional services and capital. . . . But what's important is a North
American common market . . . an association of countries with common
economic and social interests.
Our long-term objective should be to equalize economic development
That does not mean dragging down wages in the United States, but raising wages
and conditions for workers in Mexico.
On drug trafficking, we've asked American lawmakers to end the
process [in which countries are judged in their fight against drug trafficking by the
U.S. president and Congress]. It's unilateral and worthless.
Certification must be replaced with a multilateral enforcement
agreement among drug-producing nations, transit nations such as Mexico and
consuming nations like the United States, and include either the Organization of
American States or the United Nations. . . . For our part, we will attack the
foundations of organized crime in Mexico -- something the ruling party has never
done -- and leave this country under the rule of law.
[Improvements in] these two areas will put us in a better position
to move forward
with our strong commercial relationship with the United States.
Q: What makes Vicente Fox run politically?
A: There are two types of Mexicans. Those who say they were born
These people call themselves sons of the revolution, but now think they own this
country. . . . The rest of us work like mules to survive and barely feed our families.
Q: How confident are you that the July 2 election will be honest and clean?
A: I have great confidence in our Federal Elections Institute.
But I have no
confidence in [Mexican President Ernesto] Zedillo, my opponent [Institutional
Revolutionary Party nominee] Francisco Labastida and the ruling party. . . . They
will surely use all of the dirty tricks they've learned over the years to rig elections.
So it's up to the elections institute and the election observers and us to keep
them from using dirty tricks.
We'll succeed because we will arrive at Election Day with a victory
hand: a 10-point lead in polls that they can't steal from us in a democratic