Friday, March 22, 2013

Fox with Barbed Tongue

To the literal, nil nisi bonum does not extend to the not-yet-dead. So perhaps former Mexican Prez Vincente Fox skips by wishing that Fidel Castro "joins Hugo soon as possible."

Click the arrow on the player to hear the short clip deriding both Castro brothers.

Fox was at Symphony Hall this week surely in coordination with promoting his autobiography but ostensibly as part of the Lesley University Boston Speakers Series. It was a good venue for him. The audience was late middle age and above and relatively conservative by Boston standards. He is tall, dark and handsome, to flog a cliché. Plus, he did grad work at Harvard — always a big hit with wealth gray hairs here.

By the bye, the pic is from a World Economic Forum image under Creative Commons.

The audience clearly responded to his dog whistles. They didn't object when he praised Cuba's education and health systems. But the applauded deafeningly to his calls for Fidel to die, for one example.

He busies himself after politics with his eponymous center to advance democracy. At the least, it's a presidential library.

His 90 minutes or so was fairly self-serving and a rehash of well-known material. For those of us expecting his usual inflammatory surprises, it was ho-hum.

However, he was at his most insightful when addressing border security and immigration conflicts. He did recount the ill timing of his visit to address a joint session of the US Congress a few days before the 9/11 attacks. He said he expected to convince our lawmakers to back off on the craziness (my word) of a many-hundred-mile wall along the Mexican border. The attacks in NYC and Virginia waylaid his proposals.

Still, he knows that "walls don't work" and are a terrific waste of money.

Instead, he said our hope for immigration control was economic parity. He noted that there is no Canadian/US problem, which he attributes to equal wages on both sides of that 3000-mile line. Not long ago, he added, the disparity with his country was over 10 to 1. It has reduced to 5 to 1 and he optimistically said that in five to 10 years, it may be equal.

I can't believe it will happen that fast, but his point is well taken. If Mexicans can make as much in their country, they won't sneak into this one. He concluded that the U.S. should do all it can within and beyond NAFTA to speed the process of income parity.

His comments on immigration alone were worth the evening.

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