Mexico's Fox touts EU-like integration for the Americas or North American Union (NAU)
By Elaine Ayala
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox was in San Antonio Friday, delivering a wide-ranging address about U.S.-Mexico relations that touched on trade, the drug war, comprehensive immigration reform and the United States' “mammoth” financial crisis that has spread worldwide.
Fox also delivered a message of hope — hope that someday Canada, the United States and Mexico, indeed the rest of Latin America, would function like the European Union.
“It's an extremely successful model,” said Fox, whose wife, Marta Sahagún, accompanied him. “My vision is to speed up the process of further integration.”
Fox was in town to address the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute's Future Leaders Conference, held at the UTSA Main Campus. He received four rousing standing ovations from the crowd, many of them student business majors.
The event was hosted by the University of Texas at San Antonio's College of Business.
Fox acknowledged the difficulty of establishing a European Union-like structure in the Americas, given those who'd oppose it. But Fox said, “Hope is back again,” referring to the new U.S. president and the United States' “capacity to fight for ideals.”
“The border between Mexico and the United States is not as fluid, stable or open as the border with Canada,” Fox said. “This certainly is because there is a huge difference in the levels of development.”
Fox hailed the success of the North American Free Trade Alliance even as a student in the audience questioned its societal impact and inability to create jobs for Mexican citizens.
“It has happened,” Fox said of Mexico's job creation. Before NAFTA, annual “per capita income was $3,500. Today it is $8,500, three-fold growth.”
Fox also spoke of Mexico's war against drug cartels and its impact on “perhaps the most dynamic border in the world.” He reiterated comments made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week, in which she said “insatiable” U.S. drug consumption drives the war.
Indeed, Fox conceded that more of his own citizens are engaging in drug use as cartels look for new markets.
And while he lamented how the terror attacks of 9-11 quashed potential plans for comprehensive immigration reform, supported by then-President George W. Bush, Fox expressed hope that President Barrack Obama would take up the charge.