(Jorge Guajardo – Politico Magazine)
In his landmark 1985 book, Distant Neighbors, Alan Riding, then the New York Times’ Mexico City correspondent, wrote that the Mexican president, in the days of the one-party state, was all powerful except for two things he could never do: 1) reelect himself (there’s a constitutional one-term limit for Mexican presidents) and 2) bring Mexico closer to the United States.
Mexico has a long, fraught history with the United States that is evident to Mexicans, but seldom understood in Washington. For Mexicans, the United States is the country that invaded and stole half of our territory. Mexican children, to this day, are taught about the “Niños Heroes,” the young cadets who defended the Castillo de Chapultepec, the 19th-century castle in Mexico City, one even wrapping himself in the Mexican flag and jumped to his death rather than be captured by the invading yanquis. Whether or not this tale is true, Mexicans learn from an early age that it is better to die with honor than suffer humiliation from our northern neighbor.
Since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement, this anti-U.S. sentiment has faded—gone dormant, even. Mexicans have grown used to trading with the U.S., and the Mexican government has managed to convince its people that cooperation with the U.S. is better than antagonism. Click here to read more.