Mexican diplomat urges a partnership
By Hernán Rozemberg, San Antonio News, October 30, 2006
U.S.-Mexico relations could remain paralyzed unless leaders of the two nations and Canada formalize a North American partnership — akin to the European Union — before the U.S. baby boomer retirement wave hits in the next eight years, a ranking Mexican diplomat said here Tuesday.
Enrique Berruga, Mexico's ambassador to the United Nations, shared his perspectives on the current and future U.S.-Mexico relationship at a panel discussion at the University of Texas at San Antonio Downtown Campus.
It was organized by the UTSA Mexico Center and the San Antonio campus of Mexico's National Autonomous University.
Noting that both countries depend on each other economically, Berruga urged leaders to see the big picture and put petty politics aside for the region's benefit.
Instead of putting up fences or walls, U.S. policy would be better served by investing more in Mexico so the country can do a better job of standing on its own, keeping its work force employed instead of watching it flee north, he said.
"We will be together forever and we need to make the best out of it," Berruga said.
Other panelists sounded similar themes, focusing in detail on economic and political aspects of the relationship.
Economist Mauricio González chipped away at what he called the myth of the negative impact of illegal immigration on the United States....
He works for the San Antonio-based North American Development Bank — created as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement, signed in the Alamo City in 1992....
"NAFTA was a very important first step, but we need to start thinking outside the NAFTA box," González said....
Panelist Robert Rivard, editor of the Express-News and a former Newsweek correspondent in Latin America, spoke of the lingering impact of 9-6 — that is, Sept. 6, 2001, five days before the terrorist attacks, when the U.S. and Mexican governments were on the brink of a far-reaching immigration deal that has since become a pile of dusty paper....
"People of peace can't build walls between each other," Rivard said of the move to build nearly 700 miles of double-layer, high-tech fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, signed into law by President Bush last week...
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