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Shackled To An [Ungrateful] Corpse
Part 1 of a Series on the Mexican racial hierarchy and its implications for America
The U.S. government has chosen to increasingly intertwine America's fate with that of Mexico - and thus with Mexico's corrupt white power elite. The U.S. Treasury bails them out whenever their economic bubbles burst (1982, 1994). By providing a safety valve that drains off Mexico's most desperate young brown men, our lax borders allow Mexico's most avaricious old white men to loot their nation with impunity.
In the U.S., this mestizo influx generates ever greater quotas and set-asides designed to propel their climb in American society. In contrast, in Mexico all the best jobs in government, industry, and academia are becoming ever more segregated. (See Mexican political scientist Jorge G. Castaneda's February, 1997 Atlantic article, "Ferocious Differences")
Today, Mexico's economy is finally climbing off the canvas, where it landed with a thud when Mexico unexpectedly devalued the peso on December 20, 1994. America's high-tech boom is pulling in Mexican imports. Their economy is also bolstered by high oil prices. In the words of Pat Buchanan's latest speech on immigration and U.S.-Mexican relations, "Mexico has colluded with OPEC to keep oil off the world market to gouge the Americans who bailed out Mexico five years ago. So much for gratitude."
Thus, the ancient hope is starting to spread again: this time Mexico has truly turned the corner into modernity. Syndicated columnist Raoul Lowery Contreras writes, based on a pollyannaish article by Joel Millman in the 4/14/2000 Wall Street Journal, that in another decade or so the American economy will face "shortages" of illegal immigrants from Mexico. [What if 'they' stop coming, 4/29/00] Then we'll presumably endure the horrible fate of needing to pay California stoop laborers enough so that they can stop living in caves. One can always hope …
Of course, this isn't the first time the Mexican economy boomed in one of their Presidential election years. Their last three economic expansions also culminated during the campaigns of 1976, 1982, and 1994, only to be followed immediately by shocking collapses. In this series of columns, I'll attempt to explain why sophisticated American institutions like the Wall Street Journal are forever having their fond hopes dashed by Mexico. We gringos constantly misunderstand Mexico, in large part because we are clueless about Mexico's subtle but oppressive racial hierarchy of whites on top, mixed-race mestizos in the middle, and pure Indians way, way down at the bottom. Mexico has no overt color line, and the government promotes a mestizo identity for all Mexicans, yet the elites have been getting whiter.
Mexico's last election year, 1994, was particularly memorable. No one doubts that the previous Presidential election, in 1988, had actually been won by the leftist candidate Cuauthemoc Cardenas, son of the mestizo President who seized the oil industry from foreign owners in 1938. However, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which has ruled Mexico since 1929, stole enough ballots to put Harvard-educated Carlos Salinas in power. Despite this embarrassing entry into power, Salinas, who enjoyed a close relationship with the Bush family, quickly became the darling of the Wall Street Journal for his "free market reforms."
To demonstrate its newfound commitment to democracy, the PRI announced that in 1994 it would no longer pay for its political campaigns out of the government treasury. So Salinas simply invited to dinner the thirty moguls to whom he had sold off government-run monopolies. He extracted from these close personal friends pledges to pitch in to the PRI's kitty 25,000,000 American dollars … apiece. At this single "Billionaire's Banquet," the PRI netted promises totaling three quarters of a billion U.S. dollars. (Eat your heart out, Bill Clinton.)
After President Clinton pushed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) through Congress in 1993, Washington and Wall Street assumed that the trade pact's first day of operation, January 1, 1994, would mark the beginning of the end for Mexico's poverty, feudalism, and violence. Instead, early that morning, a revolution broke out. Impoverished Mayan Indians, driven to despair by cuts in price supports for their corn crops - which the U.S. demanded so that Midwestern agribusinesses could price the peasants out of the corn market - seized control of much of the deep southern state of Chiapas. Of course, as everywhere else in Mexico, the Indians' Marxist leaders were white. Today, Subcommandante Marcos still clings to power in the jungles.
Later that eventful year, Luis Donald Colosio, the presidential candidate of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) -- the equivalent of Al Gore -- was gunned down during a campaign rally in Tijuana. Salinas' government responded by advancing numerous conflicting theories about who dun it, leaving the citizenry too confused and cynical to focus their outrage on any particular caudillo. Colosio's killing remains unsolved.
That fall, another hired gunman assassinated the chairman of the PRI. Now, the next few paragraphs might seem confusing if you don't recall the case. This is because your mind will refuse to believe that what you're reading is something that could happen outside of, say, Shakespeare at his most Titus Andronicus-style lurid. But the following is all true, so far as we can know anything for sure about what really happens within Mexico's incestuous elite.
The dead PRI chairman, Pepe Ruiz Massieu, had married President Salinas' sister. But the marriage ended, it is said, when that lady discovered her husband in bed with a man.
After his murder, President Salinas appointed as special prosecutor the victim's own brother Mario Ruiz Massieu. This investigator soon went on TV to dramatically accuse old-guard PRI politicians opposed to Salinas' "modernizing" of the murder.
Meanwhile, having secured the election of the PRI's replacement presidential candidate Ernesto Zedillo, ex-President Salinas was looking forward to an active retirement as the human emblem of the New World Order. Clinton was backing Salinas for the presidency of the World Trade Organization. Dow Jones, the owner of the Wall Street Journal, elected him to its Board of Directors.
Then, as so often happens to Mexico's ex-presidents as soon as power slips from their fingers, the ex-President's shiny reputation collapsed. Three weeks after Salinas left power, his economic house of cards fell and Mexico plunged into a depression.
Special prosecutor Mario Ruiz Massieu fled to New Jersey. Seven millions dollars were found in Mario's Texas bank account. The Zedillo administration announced that Mario had been covering up the true murderer of his own brother.
So who was this real culprit? According to President Zedillo, the mastermind behind the murder was former President Salinas' own brother Raul. Whether or not the former First Brother acted without the ex-President's consent, he took the fall. After a four year long trial, Raul was sentenced to 27 years in prison. Meanwhile, Raul's wife was arrested in Geneva for attempting to remove from their Swiss safety deposit box about $100,000,000, which Raul probably obtained from drug smugglers.
Carlos Salinas, fearing that if he appeared on the street in Mexico his former subjects might lynch him, fled to Ireland. He lives there in exile today. Oh, by the way, Dow Jones didn't renominate Salinas for their board of directors.
(Readers can find additional garish details about Mexico's ruling class in "Mexico on the Brink" by Pulitzer Prize-winning Miami Herald reporter Andres Oppenheimer. The website of a PBS Frontline documentary on the Salinas brothers is also quite juicy.)
What kind of social system produces such people, and what does it portend for the U.S. as our culture becomes more influenced by Mexican norms? In subsequent columns, I'll explore the insidious effects of Mexico's little discussed racial system.
May 5, 2000