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Community Radio Prograhtwilwg DEversitil For A Culturailil Divtrse eito P.O.Box 2116 Austin, Texas 78768-2116 Visit Us On The Web OP Radio Die La Comunidad www.koop.org Las Americas, continued from page 18 ate chances to get in.” The Texas deaths \(six more Mexicans drowned the same day migrant worker fatalities in a single incident-19 Mexicans workers trapped in a sealed box car along a siding in Sierra Blanca,Texas, suffocated in June 1987. Last October, the bones of 11 Mexicans were found inside a locked box car in Dennison, Iowathe men apparently stowed away months before in Brownsville. The new Texas tragedy occurred two years almost to the date of the deaths of 14 Mexicans, mostly Veracruz coffee pickers, in the desert west ofYuma, Arizona. More than 190 have died in that waterless tract since then. So far this year, at least 80 Mexicans have died in their endeavors to cross the U.S. border, and 16 more migrant workers from President Fox’s home state of Guanajuato are missing. Since 1992, when Mexico and the U.S. signed the North American Free Trade Agreement into the United States, more than the number of victims killed in the 9/11 terror attacks on NewYork and Washington. Immigration reform proposed early in the Bush-Fox presidencies that would have legalized 3.4 million undocumented Mexicans living in the United States and generated a guest worker program that could have provided 500,000 temporary jobs a year, was torpedoed by the 9/11 terrorist attack and never got back on track as Washington’s top priority turned to terror. Since then, the two neighbor nations and their presidents have drifted further apart and Mexico’s refusal to support the United States at the UN Security Council in its eagerness to attack Iraq, has driven relations into deep limbo. George W. Bush, who repeatedly expresses his “profound disappointment” at Fox’s stance on Iraq, did not even mention the Mexican president in his annual Cinco de Mayo message. Nonetheless, there is every indication that Bush’s “profound disappointment” has become a convenient White House pretext to force Fox, who achingly wants to win favor in Washington, to recant his antiwar stance, and exact the kind of concessions it took Bush a full-scale armed invasion to win in Iraqi.e. the opening up of Mexican petroleum reserves, the fifth or the seventh largest on the planet depending upon whose proven barrel count you choose to believe, to U.S. Big Oil. To this end, U.S.-Mexican diplomatic channels have been humming since the Saddam statues came down in Baghdad. Earlier this month, Foreign Minister Luis Derbez winged to Washington to bury the hatchet with Colin Powell, and Interior Minister Santiago Creel huddled with Homeland Security Czar Tom Ridge on the border and later conceded that terrorism and not immigration was now Mexico’s top bilateral concern. Rosario Marin, the outgoing Mexico City-born U.S. Treasurer, flew into the country to assure Fox that Bush still loved him and that they had many common interests. Even Bill Clinton put in an appearance in the old quarter of Mexico City and counseled that time heals all wounds. But the big gun in this diplomatic barrage was George Bush Sr., who mysteriously showed up in this capital May 14th \(the an hour-long tete-a-tete with the Mexican president, the nature of which was not for public broadcast. It can be assumed that the conversation at least touched upon fossil fuelsafter all, Mexico topped Canada, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia as the United States’s number one petroleum supplier during the Iraq invasion and Washington wants to keep the spigot open. The senior Bush played a similar role in Venezuela during President Hugo Chavez’s recent skirmishes with a Washington-inspired coup. George Bush Sr. has a lengthy business history in Mexico, all of it oily and some of it fishy. In the 1960s and early ’70s, he was in business with ex-Pemex director Jorge Diaz Serrano Offshore, a lucrative drilling operation. The message he recently delivered to Fox, that Pemex privatization for immigration reform would be a meaningful trade-off, is not newBush Sr. pushed such an exchange during NAFTA negotiations but was rebuffed by Mexican nationalists in the then-ruling Vicente Fox, Mexico’s first non-PRI president in seven decades, was once seen by U.S. oil interests as being their best bet to open the gates to Pemex, but has so far failed to deliver, due largely to stubborn opposition by the PRI and the leftMexican Congress. Despite a consensus that Pemex is inefficient and corrupt underscored by the Pemexgate scandal in which the PRI swiped $100 million from the company’s coffers to finance its 2000 presidential election campaignmost Mexicans are not willing to give up their oil for the blood of their migrants. Although the “Halliburton amendment” may appeal to certain princes of industry and commerce here, most Mexicans are still shouting “No Blood For Oil!” John Ross is either in Mexico City or San Francisco or Gaza. 28 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 6/6/03