Mexican President to visit US - his likely demands will be?
Felipe Calderon, Mexico's president is scheduled to visit the US tomorrow, it is an official visit to Obama. So, I wonder what Felipe will demand the US to do this time around? If you remember on his last visit, Calderon seized the opportunity to blast Arizona’s controversial immigration law.
I for one am not surprised that Obama is allowing him back at the White House - Felipe should have had to apologize for his comments before he was allowed back. It's not right for anyone especially a president of another country to come to the US and severely criticize a state for a law it wants.
Calderon said, "It is a law that not only ignores a reality that cannot be erased by decree but also introduces a terrible idea using racial profiling as the basis for law enforcement." To which he received several standing ovations from congressional democrats. He also blamed violence in Mexico on the US (see George W Bush) because we allowed the assault weapons ban to expire.
Calderon's visit comes a little more than two weeks after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata was killed. The AP reports the agent was killed on a highway in northern Mexico on Feb. 15 - with a gun that was smuggled in from the United States. If this is the case and Calderon wants to say that a ban on weapons should be enacted to stop all these killings - I would have to say secure the borders and a lot of all the trouble would cease.
The U.S. has doubts about Mexico's ability to control violence. Of Mexico's over 2,400 cities over 1,100 registered a murder by organized drug gangs. But Felipe blames this on the US demands for drugs? How are these drugs getting from Mexico to the US? I think this involves crossing a border somewhere along the lines - or under the border in some cases.
Calderon implies at the same time Mexico is beginning to chafe under what it sees as a lack of U.S. willingness to reduce its demand for drugs or stem the flow south of guns that fuel a conflict that has cost more than 34,600 lives here since he took office in 2006. Calderon and Obama have so much in common - both won't take any blame.
"As far as reducing the demand for drugs, they haven't done so. ... As far as reducing the flow of arms, they haven't, it has increased," Calderon said in harsh comments the week before his visit to the US. Calderon's most important meeting may be with the new U.S. House Speaker, Republican John Boehner, as he wants to make sure they don't "cut out" the money for Merida.
Also, I would imagine that Calderon will be asking about "cross-border" trucking. Mexico continues to wait for the opening of U.S. highways to Mexican trucks, something it is entitled to under NAFTA. The U.S. Congress has simply blocked that program under pressure from industry groups with arguments about highway safety. This is with good reasons too.
“Every year, U.S. truckers are burdened with new safety, security and environmental regulations. Those regulations come with considerable compliance costs,” said Todd Spencer, Executive Vice President of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA). “Mexico-domiciled trucking companies do not contend with a similar regime nor must they contend with the corresponding costs.”
To date, there have been no reports from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or from Mexican officials as to what efforts Mexico has made to comply with the regulatory items stipulated to them for gaining access to U.S. highways. Those items include safety regulations such as comparable drug and alcohol testing, commercial drivers licensing and tracking, and hours-of-service requirements, among other issues.
“Mexico has been bullying our government into allowing their trucking companies to have full access to highways across the U.S. while refusing to raise regulatory standards in its own trucking industry,” Spencer continued. “Mexico’s regulatory standards aren’t even remotely equivalent to what we have in the U.S. Until the Mexican government is able to significantly diminish the rampant crime and violence within its borders, commits to addressing its deteriorated infrastructure, and promulgates regulations that significantly improve its trucking industry, U.S. truckers will be unable to benefit from the anticipated reciprocity, If a new cross-border trucking program were implemented in the near future, U.S. truckers would be forced to forfeit their own economic opportunities while companies and drivers from Mexico, free from equivalent regulatory burdens, take over their traffic lanes.”
“Commercial vehicles crossing the southern border are still the principal way drug trafficking organizations get their products into the U.S.,” noted Spencer. “Providing Mexico-domiciled truckers with access throughout America will amplify existing vulnerabilities and will surely be exploited by criminal enterprises as well as terrorist organizations.”
Opening our southern borders up to Mexican trucks is NOT a good idea. If Obama does not do anything right for the rest of his time in Office - I ONLY HOPE he does do the right thing here and not allow these trucks on US Highways.
Obama said the two nations had “found a clear path to resolving” the roadblock in relations. Obama announced that US and Mexico had reached an agreement on Cross-Border trucking. In a news conference with Mexico’s Felipe Calderon, Obama said the plan would now be taken to Congress.