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Memo From Mexico | Mexico's Terminator Tantrum
Arnold Schwarzenegger is a racist anti-Mexican who, as governor of California, is going to persecute immigrants.
Well, that's what I've been reading and hearing down here in Mexico—before, during, and after the recent California recall vote.
Ricardo Monreal is governor of the state of Zacatecas. Up to half the population of his state has emigrated to the U.S. After the recall, Monreal indignantly said of Schwarzenegger:
"We know his history, and it makes us think there could be a surge of anti-immigrant, xenophobic or racist feelings."
[" Schwarzenegger Victory is International Drama," Tracy Wilkinson, LA Times, Oct. 9th, 2003]
On the floor of the Mexican congress, Mexican congressman Carlos Jimenez, secretary of the foreign relations committee, declared of Arnold's triumph that "This is something about which Mexican migrants [i.e. illegal aliens in the U.S.] should be very concerned." [" Mexico fears Schwarzenegger is bad news for migrants," Lisa J. Adams, The Arizona Republic October 9th, 2003]
And for a real over-the-top case check out the cartoon page of Jornada. The October 8th issue featured two cartoons of Arnold Schwarzenegger. One portrayed the actor in a bodybuilder pose casting a swastika shadow. The other showed Schwarzenegger speaking with an American flag behind him—but instead of stars the flag had swastikas.
In fact, Schwarzenegger has long been portrayed in the Mexican media as racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Mexican, etc. etc. It's been that way since 1994, the fateful year in which Schwarzenegger dared to support California's Proposition 187. (Of course, the majority of California's voters supported it as well. But that just shows they're…)
Nevertheless, Schwarzenegger's action movies are popular in Mexico. I saw Terminator 2 here, with Spanish subtitles. Even the "hasta la vista" line was subtitled.
Schwarzenegger has actually filmed four movies in Mexico. Which means he's contributed more to the Mexican economy than your average Mexican politician.
Back in 1994, it was the hysteria that I witnessed here over Proposition 187 that helped influence me to become a staunch immigration reformer and, ultimately, VDARE.com contributor. I came to understand that many Mexicans, especially those whose opinion counts in the media and politics, simply do not respect the right of the United States to control its own border or regulate its own immigration policy. This especially applies to California, which is treated as though it were part of Mexico. (It may be eventually, for all practical purposes. But right now it's not.)
Throughout the California recall, Schwarzenegger was ritually denounced in the Mexican media. On Election Day, even the popular celebrity gossip show "Ventaneando" carried out some Arnold-bashing.
And just as in 1994, this election became an opportunity for Mexican interference in American domestic politics.
A month before the recall vote, the Mexican Chamber of Deputies (House of Representatives) was the scene of a Defeat Arnold Meeting. El Universal reported that:
"U.S.-based emigrant worker organizations launched today in Mexico a campaign against actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, candidate for governor of California."
[ Lanzan grupos mexicanos campaña contra Schwarzenegger El Universal, Sept. 8th, 2003]
According to Maria Garcia, leader of the coalition, "We wish to warn the Mexicans who reside in California, and all the Latino community, of the danger of this actor of European origin..."
Hmm, why did Garcia specifically point out that Schwarzenegger is "of European origin"—is that a bad thing?
Jose Medina, representing a labor organization in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., explained how the campaign was to work:
".... We wish to launch this campaign from Mexico, so that all those with relatives in the United States, but especially in California, send letters, emails, or call on the telephone to those they know, and tell them to vote no on Arnold next October 7th...."
["Por eso queremos lanzar esta campaña desde México, para que todos los que tengan familiares en Estados Unidos, pero en especial en California, manden cartas, correos electrónicos o llamen por teléfono a sus conocidos y les digan que no voten por Arnold el próximo 7 de octubre", dijo Medina.]
On October 6th, 2003, the day before the election, El Universal reported that "PRD (Partido de la Revolución Democrática) senator Jesús Ortega, urged Mexicans in California with double nationality to vote against the actor Arnold Schwazenneger [sic]." [Pide Jesús Orteg a migrantes no votar por Schwazenneger (sic) El Universal, Oct 6th, 2003]
According to Ortega "It would not be advisable that they vote for a racist like this action movie actor."
Schwarzenegger's triumph elicited stern commentaries from Mexican Foreign Secretary Derbez and Interior Minister Santiago Creel. Elba Esther Gordillo, Secretary General of the PRI (former ruling party) promised Mexicans in California that the PRI would still support them. ["Ofrece Gordillo apoyo del PRI a mexicanos en California," Miguel Cabildo, Proceso, Oct. 9th, 2003]
I could go on, but you get the picture.
Do Schwarzenegger's Mexican critics really have anything to worry about? Or, to put it another way, do America patriots have anything to hope for?
Frankly, not a lot. Schwarzenegger said in the press conference the day after his victory that he supports the appalling McCain Guest Worker/ Amnesty Fiasco (so ably dissected by VDARE.COM's own expert Juan Mann.
Perhaps significantly, one of Schwarzenegger's advisers is Carlos Olamendi, dual American/Mexican citizen/activist. In an exclusive interview with El Universal, Olamendi announced that he himself was staying in the Schwarzenegger administration, that Arnold would work for a guest worker accord with other border governors, and that he wants a good relationship with Mexico. [Dispuesto Schwarzenegger a buscar pacto migratorio con México, El Universal, Oct. 9th, 2003]
Still, Schwarzenegger has promised to repeal Gray Davis' license-for-illegals law. And at least Schwarzenegger, unlike too many politicians, does understand the difference between a legal immigrant and an illegal alien.
My fellow English teacher, VDARE.com columnist and recent gubernatorial candidate Joe Guzzardi has expressed cautious optimism about Schwarzenegger But our VDARE.COM colleague Steve Sailer thinks Schwarzenegger will be swallowed by the California GOP Establishment—despite the fact that he won basically because the Democrats chose to turn the election into a referendum on illegal immigration.
I hope Joe is right. It would help if Californians (and other Americans) keep Schwarzenegger's biceps to the burner and encourage him to do the right thing.
But the real message from Mexico: any American leader perceived by Mexico's elite as threatening the "Mexodus"—their de facto policy of dumping Mexico's poor on the U.S.—can expect to be vilified and slandered.
It happened to Pete Wilson and it's happening to Tom Tancredo.
Let's all get used to it.
American citizen Allan Wall lives and works legally in Mexico, where he holds an FM-2 residency and work permit, but serves six weeks a year with the Texas Army National Guard, in a unit composed almost entirely of Americans of Mexican ancestry. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his FRONTPAGEMAG.COM articles are archived here; his website is here. Readers can contact Allan Wall at email@example.com.