By Sonia Villar
U.S.A.: When I learned that the U.S. and Mexico signed an agreement to reinforce security along the border to fight weapons and drug traffic, I asked myself: Why now?
So I decided to analyze the situation between the two countries.
During the past decades, there have been rulers in Latin America that have allowed corruption to run rampant without trying to stop it. Usually, the United States keeps an eye on the situation, and offers its perspective only to be accused of interfering in the internal business of other countries that do not take into consideration that - as the leader of our continent - the U.S. has the right to voice an opinion on matters that concern us all.
Conversely, if the U.S. does not "interfere," Mexico criticizes the U.S. for not doing anything to help address the challenges of immigration reform, drug traffic and the lack of public safety south of the border.
Sounds like a no-win situation.
Let's view the situation from the U.S. perspective.
The U.S. is criticized for not "helping" to improve conditions in another country where government institutions lack credibility, where kidnappings, violence and a number of other problems have caused the near collapse of the government.
And I am certain that people in the U.S. ask themselves, "What has Mexico done to help itself?"
They see a neighbor where many former rulers have amassed enormous wealth from drug traffic, from multi-million dollar deals that profit a few, from corruption in the handling of government contracts, bribes, kidnapping and a number of illegal deals. And they must be appalled that Mexico still expects the United States to solve everything when Mexico's rulers have failed for centuries to do anything to correct their own problems.
Fortunately, times have changed and Felipe CalderÃ³n is now president of Mexico. CalderÃ³n, like many of his predecessors, has declared war against the drug trade; the difference is, he is wholeheartedly committed to win this war and has gone as far as to ask the U.S. for help, vowing to stem this problem that has infiltrated all levels of society from its source.
Felipe CalderÃ³n's dedication to his country has motivated the United States to extend a friendly hand to its neighboring country; not because it wants to interfere with Mexico's internal issues but because Mexico is clamoring for help and clearly showing it is really committed to change this time.
In an article, Jim Fisher-Thomson reiterates:
"Mexico had never previously requested help from the United States government at this level. This has been a significant change in policy, and one that has made it easy for president Obama to speak to the issue of maintaining support for President CalderÃ³n's war on drugs during their meeting in January."
The United States understands that this is the right moment to help, that Felipe CalderÃ³n is doing everything in his power to defeat the evil that has caused suffering, anguish and fear to all Mexicans. The leaders in Mexico have come together, regardless of party affiliation, and united to confront this crisis.
One example of this, and one that has been the cause of admiration in the States, is what recently happened in the state of MichoacÃ¡n:
"News of the arrest of 28 public officials, including 10 mayors, attests to President Calderon of Mexico's commitment to fighting the members of the Mexican cartels, regardless of their titles or positions."
Putting ourselves on the Mexico side of the equation, I believe that in order for Mexico to continue on the right path, a change of attitude is needed from all elected officials, and the motto "each man for himself" must disappear from everyone's mind. All public officials, regardless of party affiliation, must work hand in hand and focus their efforts and policies toward the well-being of their citizens and not for themselves.
As President CalderÃ³n said in his address to the people of Mexico:
"...Beyond the interests of the political parties and of the special groups, there are citizens willing and determined to work."
The greatest hurdle to progress via a social movement in Mexico is fear of retribution from the drug cartels. But perhaps with a little help from its neighbor, the good people of Mexico can fight not only the criminals but also their own fears.
In the meantime, it is that with great pride I realize that MY two countries are genuinely working and advancing together in ways that they haven't before.
They are creating a relationship that is free from blame; building a bridge through friendship and collaboration for the betterment of their citizens.
That is how I answer my own question.
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Sonia Villar writes for Red, Brown and Blue, an online multicultural sociopolitical commentary and news site.