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In the shadow?

3 June 2009 No Comment

Reading a review on the book “In the Shadow of the Giant: The Americanization of Modern Mexico” triggered exactly the same feelings of frustration and awe that are behind the inspiration of this blog.

The book was written by Joseph Contreras, a former Newsweek correspondent in Mexico and now editor of The News, an English language newspaper in Mexico.

From the review I gather that his book tries to show how Mexico has become increasingly Americanized, and how relations between the two neighboring countries might be moving forward.  But his insights, at least as laid out on the review, are worrying.

His claim is that the fundamental dynamics of the relationship between the United States and Mexico remain the same since the 1980s (this, I agree with), but he continues to say that “Policymakers in Washington prefer to treat Mexico as the international equivalent of an appendage that is always ready to service certain indispensable needs of American society when it is required and can be disowned whenever it suits U.S. interests,” and continues “That handy appendage attached to America’s doorstep will continue to absorb and imitate the values, vices, lifestyle, and language of El Norte for the foreseeable future without any realistic hope that Washington might one day accept Mexico as a full partner.”

This is the exact attitude that will take the relationship nowhere!

Policymakers from both sides of the border need to change their conversation. That’s a fact. BUT, citizens from both countries also need to start looking at the common ground on the issues that affect us both with realistic hope. And by citizens I obviously include journalists-made-authors.

If those who hold the pen keep on reporting the issues as “hopeless”, then once both governments finally open their eyes, get their act together and start working on a favorable relationship, those who are directly affected by it (i.e. all of us) will be too used to having a negative attitude and there will be no hope left on any of us to take positive action.

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