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A Look at War -- From South of the Border

War.  Guerra.

And my neighbors generally go on with their daily work.  Don't we all?

But, my neighbors are Mexican. 

Admittedly, I am not an expert on Mexican politics.  It is more difficult to understand than Boston politics.  But I have been living in this wonderful country for several months now and I guess it is once again time to put the computer to good use and try to relate just what is happening here.

Mexicans generally agree with their president, Vicente Fox, who has explained that this country is a pacifist country, these people are pacifist people.

" Mexico reiterates that conflicts must be solved multilaterally and regrets the path of war." President Fox said.  "The world must continue to support solutions that comply with the letter and spirit of the United Nations Charter. In it, it is established that the use of force must always be a last and exceptional resort, only justified when all other channels have failed.

" Our relationship with the United States, our closest partner, our neighbor and friend, must not change. We agree on the fight against terrorism. In this, as in many other matters, our shared objectives come before our differences by far."

The major fear, of course, is that the United States will somehow get even with their neighbors to the south because Mexico did not support the United States polices on Iraq.

Reprisals could include making border crossings more difficult, or impossible, or slowing or completely stopping talks about letting Mexicans cross the border freely.

Already there are economic worries as well, because the Mexican economy depends on the health of the United States economy. 

Poorer people are finding it more difficult to make ends meet as the value of the peso goes down.  Restaurants are raising their prices, as are many merchants to make up for the difference.

On the other hand, Mexico is rich in oil, and as oil prices increase more money is going to the country, which in turn promises to share the wealth with its cities and states.

And, like in many small communities, the rumor mill is active, this time spreading the word that if a Mexican enlists in a United States military they can automatically become citizens.  This is not true, but many still believe.

When we get documents to allow us to stay in Mexico for more than 30 days (called FM3s) we acknowledge that we won't become politically involved, that we won't interfere with Mexican politics.

Nonetheless, many Americans in this city have been busy painting anti-Bush and anti-war posters, all now hung on the front gates of the biggest church in town.  This church is across from the jardin (what we could call the town square) where Americans have set up an anti-war booth, seeking signatures of people agreeing with their point of view

But, for the most part, their demonstrations have been poorly attended, although many tourists (85 percent of the tourists here are Mexican, coming to visit the cradle of independence) wander through to see what is going on. 

A major U. S. paper this week said that protestors of this war are parents of the young adults who might have protested the last war or two.  And, I must admit, it appears that most of the protestors here appear to be aging hippies.

Now, I do know that there have been major demonstrations in Mexico City, for example, where protestors damaged the U. S. Embassy.  But we have not seen that violence here.  Neither have I seen, or heard of, any anti-American activities.

Today, statistics show that 80 percent of the Mexicans oppose the war, while some 75 percent of Americans support our country's stand.

A German-born, now-Mexican doctor, this week, put it all together by comparing Saddam to Hitler. He declared Saddam Hussein an evil man who had killed at least a million innocent people.  He said that Saddam must be killed or exiled.  But, he said, almost sadly, Saddam is very sneaky, he will make winning very difficult.

The U. S. was right, he continued, to want to start this war, but, why now, without UN support. 

We are in this war to win.  As an American I support my President's decision, and I support our troops.

Itis spring.  The jacaranda trees are in full bloom, giving the city a lavender glow, a peaceful lavender glow.  And it is time for a siesta.

(Cele writes from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.)


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