Mexican Complaint of U.S. 'Ignorance and Prejudice'

By Jerry Kammer and Jerry Kammer on June 10, 2011

A prominent member of Mexico's political establishment complained Thursday about "mind-boggling" U.S. disregard for his country.

"The ignorance and prejudice that there is in the United States about Mexico is staggering. It's mind-boggling – starting with Capitol Hill," said Carlos Heredia, a former Mexican congressman who now directs the international studies program at the prestigious Center for Economic Research and Instruction in Mexico City.

Heredia went on to detail his criticism of the U.S. Congress: "I'm not talking about the staffers," he said. "They're fantastic staffers. But some of the members, you cannot believe how they got there, how they got elected."

Heredia, who served in the Mexican Congress as a member of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), presented the criticism as he argued for active Mexican efforts to influence the U.S. political discussion about issues involving his country. He spoke at a seminar on Mexico at Washington's Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Heredia disagreed with the argument, commonly heard since President Miguel Calderon was elected in 2006, that Mexico should pull back from the intense efforts to influence U.S. policy – particularly on immigration – that characterized the presidency of Vicente Fox.

Some Calderon advisers suggested that he "demigratize" the bilateral relationship, which requires close cooperation on a myriad of other security, commercial, and political concerns. Calderon is widely seen as having followed that advice.

Heredia rejected the U.S. notion of drug-trafficking as a Mexican issue that has spun out of control because of Calderon's inability to check the brutal Gulf Cartel, Sinaloa Cartel, and Tijuana Cartel – among other organized crime groups.

Heredia endorsed a proposal that the bilateral discussion should also include discussion of the "Potomac Cartel" – a pointed suggestion that the multi-billion dollar commerce would not be possible without active involvement of U.S.-based traffickers.

"When we discuss drug-trafficking, we need to do it in the framework of transnational crime," he said.

In a more light-hearted fashion, Heredia endorsed a suggestion, already made in Mexico, that the country work to have a Mexican character included in the cast of the popular television series "House, M.D."

Such a character, he said, could "provide a different image of Mexico" in the United States.

Topics: Mexico