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'I Got This Sudden Urge to Rip My Own Brain Out'

                                                                       [Guardian Unlimited, U.K.]

 

 

La Jornada, Mexico

Why Did Bush Come?

 

"One is left with the impression that the most important intent of Bush's Latin American tour was to provide him with a few days of relaxation away from his overwhelmed presidency."

 

EDITORIAL

 

Translated By Barbara Howe

 

March 14, 2007

 

Mexico - La Jornada - Original Article (Spanish)

During his brief stay on Mexican soil, the President of the United States, George W. Bush, made proposals as twisted as they were improbable in regard to migration reform and the humane treatment of Mexicans working in the United States. To his host Felipe Calderon he offered "to help as much as possible when you request it," knowing full well that he has no help to offer. How can a government in such decline and so cornered assist a [Mexican] President that himself has been weak and in question from the beginning? Bush visited the ruins in Uxmal, where his bodyguards climbed up into areas that are closed off for reasons of preservation; he generated chaos of enormous proportions amongst yucatecos [people in Yucatan]. Today he returns to his country, leaving in his wake the widespread question: for what did he come?

 

As the most unpopular President in United States history and most repudiated U.S. chief executive ever as far as Latin America is concerned, Bush had little to do during visit to Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico. This is because these societies as well as their governments know that because of the political crisis in Washington and the history of atrocities by the present administration, White House power has almost been put between parentheses.

 

In what remains of Bush's second term, there will be no great definitions or redefinitions on the subject of foreign policy, much less toward this continent: save for his eagerness to destabilize the Venezuelan government and through his insistence on imposing the Free Trade Area of the Americas on our nations, which is at this point a dead letter. The Texan hasn't shown any interest in the region since September 11, 2001, the date that made the "worldwide war on terrorism" practically the sum total of his exercise of governmental authority. If Bush failed to exert himself to impel a bilateral migration deal when he had complete command of the reins of power, he's even less likely to do so now.

 

In fact, one is left with the impression that the most important intent of Bush's Latin-American tour was to provide him with a few days to relax away from his overwhelmed presidency. And although his trip had this relaxed quality, he couldn't stop himself from behaving like the supreme leader of a military superpower - and he conducted himself as such wherever he went. In the countries that he visited, including ours, he left a patently obvious double message: on the one hand, friendly words for the governments that welcomed him, and on the other, open military operations that translated into unequivocal violations of sovereignty of the nations that he visited, and the unsettling of these populations. The smoothness of the discourse contrasted sharply with news reports of the facts, which amounted in all cases to an insolent ratification of imperial power.

 

The presence of the Chief Executive of the White House in the Yucatan has meant a de facto suspension of constitutional rights and a not-so-subtle surrender of national sovereignty. The presidency of Calderon Hinojosa is left much diminished after permitting and committing violations of the freedom of movement for the sake of the security of his guest and for allowing the unjustified deployment of military and security forces and battle ships of foreign origin on our nation's territory.

 

By conducting himself in this manner, President Calderon not only admits to his lack of respect for the jurisdiction of the Mexican State over its own territory, but implicitly communicates the incapacity of [Mexico's] military institutions, national security institutions and police bodies to guarantee the safety of this undesirable visitor. To make matters worse, throughout this breach of the constitution and harassment of the population, an enormous amount of public money has been expended.

 

Perhaps if the current government had consulted Mexico's most senior diplomats in time, it would have discovered that there are professional, discrete and impeccable ways to avoid such inopportune, unproductive and offensive visits.

 

Spanish Version Below

 

¿Para qué?

 

In his brief stay on Mexican soil, the President of the United States, George W. Bush, has made proposals so twisted and improbable on the issue of immigration reform

 

En su breve estadía en suelo mexicano, el presidente de Estados Unidos, George W. Bush, hizo ofrecimientos tan torcidos como inverosímiles en materia de regulación migratoria y trato digno a los mexicanos que trabajan en territorio estadunidense; ofreció al anfitrión Felipe Calderón "ayudarlo lo más posible cuando usted me lo pida", a sabiendas de que no hay materia de ayuda -¿cómo puede un gobierno declinante y acorralado asistir a una Presidencia débil y cuestionada de inicio?-; visitó las ruinas de Uxmal, en donde sus guardaespaldas se encaramaron en zonas en las que está prohibido el paso por razones de conservación; generó un caos de enormes proporciones en la vida de los yucatecos, y hoy se marcha de regreso a su país, dejando tras de una duda generalizada: ¿a qué vino?

 

Como el presidente más impopular en la historia de Estados Unidos, y como el mandatario estadunidense más repudiado en América Latina, Bush no tenía nada importante que hacer en sus visitas a Uruguay, Brasil, Colombia, Guatemala y México, porque tanto las sociedades como los gobiernos de esos países tienen claro que el poder de la Casa Blanca ha sido casi puesto entre paréntesis por la historia de atrocidades de la propia administración actual y por la coyuntura política presente en Washington. En lo que queda del segundo periodo de Bush no habrá ya grandes definiciones ni redefiniciones en materia de política exterior, y menos en este continente: salvo por su afán de desestabilizar al gobierno venezolano y por su empeño en imponer a nuestras naciones el Area de Libre Comercio de Las Américas (ALCA), que es, a estas alturas, papel mojado, el texano no ha mostrado interés en la región desde el 11 de septiembre de 2001, fecha en la que convirtió la "lucha mundial contra el terrorismo" en el contenido casi único de su ejercicio gubernamental. Si Bush no hizo gran cosa por impulsar un acuerdo migratorio bilateral cuando tenía las riendas plenas del poder, menos va a hacerlo ahora.

 

De hecho, da la impresión de que el propósito más importante del recorrido latinoamericano de Bush era proporcionarle unos días de distensión en su agobiada presidencia. Pero aunque su viaje tuviera ese carácter, no podía dejar de comportarse como el representante máximo de la superpotencia militar, y así lo hizo sentir por donde fue pasando. En las naciones que visitó, incluida la nuestra, dejó patente un doble mensaje: por un lado, expresiones amables para los gobernantes que lo recibieron, y por el otro, el despliegue de medidas militares que se tradujeron en violaciones inequívocas a la soberanía de los países visitados y en atropellos a las poblaciones. La suavidad discursiva contrastó con el comunicado de los hechos que fue, en todos los casos, una insolente ratificación de poderío imperial.

 

La presencia del jefe de la Casa Blanca en Yucatán ha significado una suspensión de facto de garantías constitucionales y una inocultable rendición de la soberanía nacional: la presidencia de Calderón Hinojosa queda muy mal parada al consentir y cometer violaciones a la libertad de tránsito en aras de la seguridad de su huésped y al permitir un injustificado despliegue de militares, cuerpos de seguridad y aeronaves de combate de procedencia extranjera en territorio nacional. Con ello no sólo se admite el desinterés por hacer respetar las atribuciones del Estado mexicano en su propio territorio sino que se comunica de manera implícita la incapacidad de los institutos armados, las instituciones de seguridad nacional y las corporaciones policiales mexicanas para garantizar la integridad de este visitante indeseable. Para colmo, en el incumplimiento de preceptos constitucionales y en el hostigamiento a la población se invirtió una enorme suma de dinero público. Tal vez si los actuales gobernantes hubiesen consultado a tiempo a los viejos diplomáticos mexicanos se habrían enterado de que hay fórmulas profesionales, discretas e impecables para evitar visitas inoportunas, improductivas y agraviantes, como la que se comenta.











































President Bush and Mexican President Calderon tour the 'Nunnery Quadrangle' amidst the Mayan ruins in Uxmal, March 13.

—BBC NEWS VIDEO: President Bush's visit to Mexico sparks violent protesting in Mexico City, Mar. 14, 00:01:14RealVideo

RealVideo[LATEST NEWS PHOTOS: President Bush visits Uxmal].





Secret Service snipers stationed amidst the Uxmal ruins to protect President Bush.


Bush to Calderone: 'This reminds me that I must have cheap manual labor to build a wall.' [La Jornada, Mexico]





Presidential guards remove demonstrators during protesting President George Bush's visit, near Uxmal in Mexico, Mar. 13.