Yesterday, while on an official visit to the United States, President Felipe Calderon left an offering of flowers on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery, Virginia, in honor of the Mexican-American soldiers who died in American military campaigns. And just like that, the president broke the unspoken rule, maintained throughout the past six decades that forbade a Mexican head of state from visiting the site. The motive behind this symbolic reservation was obvious: Arlington is where American soldiers who participated in various armed aggressions perpetrated by our northern neighbor against us are buried. These aggressions include the Mexican-American War in which Washington stole from Mexico more than half of its territory and the criminal and unjustifiable attack and occupation of the port of Veracruz (April to November 1914).
It is true that geographical proximity and the economy make pertinent and necessary today the construction of bilateral ties that are fluid, productive and even cordial. But it should not be forgotten that for two centuries the United States was the main threat to our national security and the most prominent violator of Mexican sovereignty and integrity.
An official state visit to Arlington means accepting the offenses for which an apology has never been expressed nor compensation offered. To top it off, the gesture was unnecessary if one considers that during the past five decades, it was possible to develop greater ties with the U.S. government without making the type of concession that Calderon made yesterday.
Just as inappropriate as that formal act is the decision to pay tribute to the “fallen soldiers of Mexican origin in American wars.” With that, the Mexican government gives its approval to such bellicose businesses — invariably contrary to international law — which violates both national sovereignty and human rights. American soldiers are buried in Arlington who died in Panama, Afghanistan and Iraq, just to mention the most significant wars from recent decades. Each of these campaigns is stained by atrocity and the spirit of violence and theft, just like the ones launched against our country by Washington in the 19th and 20th century.
Apart from that, it is easy to see that Calderon’s visit to Arlington represents another episode in the surrendering of our sovereignty. This is part of a clearly defined pattern: the signing of the Merida Initiative — which gave U.S. military bodies and agencies authority to interfere in internal affairs by means of consultancy, intelligence-gathering and providing arms, ammunition and vehicles; Calderon’s efforts to give up substantial parts of the oil industry — which by constitutional mandate is exclusive property and activity of the nation — to multinational corporations, many of which are American; and the deplorable decision, announced in March and to take effect in May, to renounce the requirement of a visa to enter Mexican territory and instead accept one issued by the U.S. government.
Moreover, the day before yesterday, when Calderon was still in Washington, Mexican authorities asked the DEA and FBI for help in an investigation revolving around the illegal kidnapping of [politician] Diego Fernandez de Cevallos. With this request, Mexican officials not only implicitly admitted to their incapacity to investigate crime and procure justice, but this act also emphasized the snobbish and discriminatory attitude that both the federal and local government maintain toward the kidnapping of Diego Fernandez de Cevallos. Until now, no similar amount of sovereignty had been surrendered on behalf of any of the innocent victims of the uncontrollable violence that has resulted from the “war on organized crime.”