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Vicente Fox — Mexico’s Savior?

Our most compelling quotes from — and about — Mexico’s president.

January 25, 2003

Our most compelling quotes from — and about — Mexico's president.

Even before he was elected in December 2000, Mexico President Vicente Fox was calling for reforms to combat Mexico’s economic and social troubles. He also called for closer relations with NAFTA partners Canada and the United States. Although the going has been tough, our Read My Lips explores what Mr. Fox has to say about his accomplishments — as well as what his constituents think.

Is your goal to bring real reform for Mexico and its people within reach?

“Time is running out. The time has come for unity among Mexicans.”
(September 2003)

What do the Mexican people want from their president?

“People want less poverty, better education, less crime, more employment and income — and we haven’t seen those things.”
(Enrique Jackson, Mexico’s Senate President, June 2003)

Is President Fox the right man to lead Mexico in the 21st century?

“He is a great seller of ideas — but you don’t see him fighting for them.”
(Rafael Fernandez de Castro, international relations specialist, June 2002)

Has President Fox achieved any of his objectives?

“Since Fox became President, I have been earning the same — and my quality of life is worse.”
(Maid in Mexico City, June 2003)

How do you answer these criticisms, President Fox?

“Economic growth and job creation have not been adequate so far.”
(September 2003)

Why has President Fox not performed any better?

“His Cabinet does not fear him, but worse — they do not respect him.”
(Rafael Fernandez de Castro, international relations specialist, June 2002)

What did the 2003 mid-term elections reveal about Fox’s presidency?

“It’s a serious warning both for Fox and the major parties, because of the high abstention rate [of almost 60%]. Two-thirds of the electorate did not vote for any of the three main parties, which means there’s a huge potential for an independent candidate [in the 2006 elections].”

(Jorge Castañeda, Mexico’s former Foreign Minister, January 2003)

Does that mean Fox’s political future is at stake?

“My fear is that in the history books, Fox will go down as the guy who helped the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) to clean its slate. In 2006, for the first time, they could win in an honest way.”
(Lorenzo Meyer, historian, June 2002)

President Fox, what is the core of Mexico’s foreign policy?

“Faced with different conflicts, our country’s position has been to clearly back peace.”
(September 2003)

What is your long-term vision for North American integration?

“The European Union is the way forward. It succeeded in its objective.”
(July 2000)

Has Mexico’s relationship with the United States changed since you were elected?

“We not only want to be friends and neighbors — we want to be partners.”
(September 2001)

In your opinion, how crucial is Mexico’s proximity to the United States?

“We are neighbors and partners — and in the end, we have to arrive at the same level of development.”
(July 2000)

What do you think needs to change in U.S.-Mexico relations for that to happen?

“There can be no privileged U.S.-Mexico relationship without actual progress on substantive issues. And there will be no substantive progress without comprehensively addressing the issue of immigration.”
(May 2002)

Can you succeed in that endeavor?

“For the American people, for the U.S. economy, Mexican immigration has been very important for development.”
(September 2001)