Monday, October 29, 2007

Fox: Forget Sticks and Stones, Lou Dobbs Really Hurt

STORM LAKE -- Reversing the schoolboy "sticks and stones" rhyme, former Mexican President Vicente Fox says words can hurt.

During a news conference held as part of a two-day visit to Storm Lake, in northwest Iowa, Fox said the anti-immigration rhetoric from some U.S. public opinion shapers is not only driving a policy debate but fanning hatred and even violence. In fact, Fox singled out CNN's Lou Dobbs, known for his strong views on immigration.

"There is confusion that immigrants are terrorists which is abosolutely false," Fox said. "The decision process is being guided by the xenophobics, the Minutemen in Arizona, the violent, and I'm sorry to say violent like Lou Dobbs."

Fox, who served as president of Mexico from 2000 to 2006, said language used by some anti-immigration forces spawns more violence than what results from those who would be "using the stick."

"There are many using violent words like Lou Dobbs, which is moving public opinion to divide, which is bringing in violence to local communities," Fox said.

In other remarks during his time in Storm Lake, Fox said the effect of building a wall along the Mexican border is "terrible" for the image of the United States.

"I couldn't conceive anything worse that building a wall."

Fox added, "Walls don't work. The Chinese Wall didn't work against their enemies. The Berlin Wall didn't work against freedom. The West Bank wall is not working and this one won't work. We should be building bridges instead of walls."

A recent report shows Iowa is in desperate need of more workers. Meanwhile, U.S. Census data reveal that a Latinization of some cities in western Iowa is the primary reason for their growth, and that other communities, without the Hispanic influence, are aging dangerously where commercial and industrial matters are concerned.

If ths clear need for workers were being met with Canadians or Germans would there be the level of negative of reacion?

"No, they would not," Fox said.

Fox wonders what happened to the United States of globalization and free trade and competition.

"The champion and the leader today isolates from the rest of the world now that we learn to compete," Fox said.

Over the weekend, Fox spoke four times on the campus of this northwest Iowa private college. Fox is another in a long-time of distinguished speakers to visit the campus of part of the William W. Siebens lecture series. In the news conference, he fielded questions from Iowa Independent and other reporters, most in English but one in Spanish from the western Iowa newspaper, La Prensa.

Lorena Lopez, editor of the western Iowa Spanish-language newspaper La Prensa, said Fox's remarks, while motivating for many in the Hispanic community, were clearly aimed at "Anglos."

"It's not much, every year, every day, that a president from Mexico comes to the United States and speaks English," Lopez said. "I think it is important that he let people know that Mexico and the United States are neighbors and need to work together. He just confirmed that immigrants come here to work and improve their lives and they don't want to be here forever. I liked what he said. He said we need one another. The United States needs part of that labor from workers from another country. Immigrants need the good money that is paid here."

Fox has been in the United States in recent weeks in large part to promote his book, "Revolution Of Hope."

"The book is addressed to my heros, to my beloved Mexicans that are here in the United States, making this economy prosper, bringing in quality of life to every home, making the economy productive and competitive in front the Asian challenge, China's challenge," he said.

Fox said here are some obvious reasons the United States and Mexico are "complimentary" economies.

Mexico's average income is one-sixth of that in the United States, and America needs more labor to see continued economic growth, Fox said.

"As long as we have that difference, that gap, people will be looking for a better life and people will be trying to come here," Fox said.

Fox said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told him that city would "collapse" if it weren't for the Latino immigrants.

Fox's book contains several references to President George W. Bush, including one in which he referred to the Texan as a "windshield cowboy." Fox suggests in the book that Bush is actually afraid of horses.

"It's my first candid impression," Fox said in Storm Lake.

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