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February 25, 2015 at 10:07 am

Brown: ‘We Need a Fresh Start in Mexico’

Aaron Brown, a doctoral student in History and a fellow with the Contemporary History Institute, published an article on “Along with a Fresh Start in Cuba, We Need a Fresh Start in Mexico” at the History News Network.

American leaders have long understood the United States’ southern neighbor to be somewhat of a bastion of stability in an otherwise troubled region. Richard Nixon once told Mexican president Luis Echeverría to “let the voice of Echeverría rather than the voice of Castro be the voice of Latin America.” As Cuba and Nicaragua transitioned from American allies to adversaries and El Salvador and Guatemala descended into a years of horrific bloodletting, Mexico remained a stalwart and (usually) stable Cold War partner.

But Mexico has always maintained a fierce independent streak in its relationship with its northern neighbor (for a good analysis, see Christopher White’s Creating a Third World: Mexico, Cuba, and the United States in the Castro Era). When the rest of the Organization of American States severed ties with revolutionary Cuba in the early 1960s, Mexican leaders assured the defiant Castro that it had a friend in Mexico City. American policymakers had little choice but to stomach this rapport for the sake of regional stability, and Mexico’s governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) grew emboldened as a result of this “double dealing.”

The unfortunate consequence of this understanding between the U.S. and Mexico, however, has been an inability to address certain issues crucial to the internal stability of Mexico. Since the early 1960s, Mexican authorities have engaged in periodic abuses of human rights, countless instances of election fraud, and deceptive relations with members of drug cartels. The United States basically turned a blind eye to many of these abuses of power, even when the Mexican government was most oppressive. Though Mexico has experienced an impressive amount of economic growth in the past few decades, some of its most pressing security issues have yet to be resolved.  And, some of these security matters have contributed to the nonstop flow of migrants and drugs northward, phenomena which the United States usually views as domestic concerns with little connection to the country of origin.

Today, Mexico is in a state of flux….

Read his entire column at History News Network.

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