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Jorge Castañeda Appointed Foreign Secretary of Mexico

by Hector Carreon
La Voz de Aztlan


Castañeda will take office on December 1

Los Angeles, California (November 22, 2000) - (ACN) Mexico's President Elect Vicente Fox has appointed the country's foremost political scientist and author of the acclaimed "Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara,'' as its next Foreign Secretary.

Castaneda is one of the most prolific socialist writers in Latin America and has written numerous books and articles for the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Time Magazine, and Newsweek Magazine. As visiting professor at Columbia, Harvard, Princeton and other Ivy League schools he as earned the reputation as one of the most articulate leftist in the whole of the Americas. He completed his undergraduate work at Stanford University and received his Ph.D. from the Sarbonne in Paris, France.

In his most popular book "Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara,'' Jorge G. Castaneda reconstructs the complicated life of Argentine revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara, explaining how Che ultimately transcended ideology and politics to become a counter-cultural hero and idol of La Raza and many American college students.

Jorge Castañeda, who is read by policy-makers around the globe, has been a senior associate of the Carnegie Institute for International Peace in Washington and also teaches Economics and International Affairs at the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico and in addition has an appointment as Professor of Political Science and Latin American Studies at New York University. It is not clear whether he will resign these positions to devote full time to his new assignment.

Jorge Castañeda is the son of Mexican ex-Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda Sr. who died at age 76 in 1997. His father bolstered Mexico's role as regional leader. During his three-year tenure, Castañeda Sr. turned Mexican foreign policy southward, nurturing ties with Central America and moving away from U.S.-centered initiatives. But lack of American support doomed his most ambitious project: a 1982 peace plan for war-torn Nicaragua.

The following is a sample of the new Foreign Secretary's writing on US/Mexico relations and immigration:

"....During the NAFTA debate and at the height of his credibility in the United States, Carlos Salinas argued that failure to ratify the treaty would bring about an economic collapse in Mexico, which in turn would bring about a wave of undocumented immigration to the north. The economic collapse came anyway, but the wave looks more like a steadily rising tide. Were the Clinton Administration, in its obsession with re-election politics, to try to stem that tide, it would threaten the only true deterrent to the proverbial wave:Mexican stability. Any attempt to clamp down on immigration from the south -- by sealing the border militarily, by forcing Mexico to deter its citizens from emigrating, or through some federal version of California's Proposition 187 -- will make social peace in the barrios and pueblos of Mexico untenable.

The United States has traditionally made the right choice between what it considers two connected evils: Mexican instability and Mexican immigration. It fears both but clearly prefers the latter, knowing that the former would only worsen matters. Indeed, immigration has not been a problem in binational relations but, rather, has been part of the solution to other, graver problems.

Some Americans -- undoubtedly more than before -- dislike immigration, but there is very little they can do about it, and the consequences of trying to stop immigration would also certainly be more pernicious than any conceivable advantage. The United States should count its blessings: it has dodged instability on its borders since the Mexican Revolution, now nearly a century ago. The warnings from Mexico are loud and clear;this time it might be a good idea to heed them.

La Raza de Aztlan congratulates Jorge Castañeda on this very important assignment by the new government of Mexico. May the countless suffering Mexican migrants crossing the dangerous border region be beneficiaries of Mr. Castañeda's future efforts.