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immigration issues that affect 3.2 million undocumented Mexican workers north of the border is poisoning the soup. The annual Mexico-U.S. interparliamentary exchange last June in Tennessee broke up in accusations and mutual recriminationsArizona Republican Jim Kolbe, a veteran of 17 such seances, told reporters he could not remember when bilateral relations had been so bad. Now Colin Powell’s definitive turn-down of any immigration reform in the foreseeable future as communicated to Mexican foreign minister Luis Enrique Derbez during a September Washington pow-wow, seems to leave Mexico with little left to gain from backing up U.S. unilateral aggressions. Frustrated by Bush’s intransigence, Mexico has turned south for solacein particular toward that other Latin American giant, Brazil. Now governed by Luis Ignacio de Silva, “Lula,” a socialist ex-steel worker whose election had Washington contemplating coup, Brazil has been in the vanguard of the South’s newly revived resolve to stand up to commercial domination by the North. As the most visible leaders of the G-22 rebellion at the WTO’s Cancun meet, the Brazilians earned the vilification of U.S. Trade rep Robert ZoeRick, who blamed them for the collapse of the talks. Brazil, India, South Africa, and China, along with Mexico, point the finger at the U.S.-E.U.’s reluctance to cut $300 billion annually in agricultural subsidies that are putting poor farmers in the South out of business as the real reason for the fracas. The disintegration in Cancun, which unquestionably strengthens both the solidarity of the southern bloc and its bargaining position in future trade talks, cast a long shadow in distant Dubai, where the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were meeting outside of Washington. Holding the wealthy, industrial North to task, Bank president James Wolfensohn calculated that the U.S.-E.U. refusal to strip back agricultural subsidies would depress world trade and leave 144 million poor farmers in poverty. Frustrated by Bush’s intransi gence, Mexico has turned south for solace particularly toward that other Latin American giant, Brazil, which has been in the vanguard of the South’s resolve to stand up to commer cial domination by the North. Brazil compounded its role as star villain at the U.N. session in New York. Availing itself of its traditional role as lead-off speaker to the General Assembly, Lula lashed out at runaway U.S. unilateralism and the collateral damage it has wrecked upon the United Nations. Like Fox, Lula called for radical reforms to save this battle-scarred international forum, among them a permanent place for Brazil on the Security Council. While the two Latin giants have been driven closer by U.S. unilateralism, Brazil vs. Mexico is not just a soccer match. Conflict over which would occupy the wished-for permanent Latin seat on the Council is one potential faultline in this reborn South-South alliance. Until recently, Mexico eschewed a seat on the Security Council because membership placed its foreign policy “under the hooves of the horse,” i.e., subjected it to U.S. pressures, and contradicted Mexico’s long-standing position that the General Assembly should become the U.N.’s dominant voice. But with the ambitious ex-foreign minister Jorge Castaneda at the helm, Mexico steered itself into an impermanent seat on the Counciland right into the eye of the storm over Iraq. In an insightful analysis in the daily Reforma, Castaneda, now an unannounced independent candidate for president, reflected on the state of the world since he quit the Fox government at the maximum moment of the U.S. squeeze to vote the Iraqi invasion up. Marveling at how the “unilateralists” in Washington have “miscalculated” Iraqi resistance to that invasion, Castaneda warns that “here we are again,” referring to the Bush full court press to convert the U.N. into a fig leaf for his doomed occupation. Although Mexico would have abstained or cast a ballot against the U.S. invasion of Iraq last March if it had been brought to the Security Council for a collective decision, U.N. ambassador Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, a one-time Castaneda ally, voted in favor of sending inspectors into Iraq at the behest of the United States and, more recently, to recognize the White Housecreated Iraqi Provisional National Council. Mexico has also twice voted to uphold immunity for U.S. troops from International Criminal Court war crimes charges. But now, if Fox’s nobones speech to the General Assembly on Iraq is to be believed, Mexico will be obligated to vote against the latest U.S. dictate. Nonetheless, diplomatic duplicity is a Mexican art form. Lula and Fox capped their U.N. outing by flying south for a Mexican honeymoon. One first fruit of the September 19, Mexico City huddle between the two new friendsthe prospect of a free trade treaty between Mexico and Lula’s pet Mercosur common market. Such a pact would present a fresh challenge to Bush’s cherished Free Trade Area of the Americas \(FTAA or ALCA, as it’s known NAFTA’s dubious benefits all the way to Tierra del Fuego, whose 2005 start-up Brazil opposes. Although Fox pays lip service to ALCA, Mexico is leery of the FTAA because it would lose privileged trade status with the U.S. should the hemispheric treaty become a fact. continued on page 20 10/24/03 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13