APRIL 2003

• Immigration and Naturalization Service

• The New York City Mayor's Office Of Immigrant Affairs and Language Services

• Citizenship NYC

• New York Immigration Hotline

• National Immigration Forum

• Genealogical Resources in the New York Metropolitan Area

• America Immigration Lawyers Association and the American Immigration Law Foundation

• Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force

• Glossary

Local: General

• Archdiocese of New York Immigrant and Refugee Services

• Citizens Committee For New York City

• Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society

Local: Specific

• Asian Americans for Equality

• Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund

• CARECEN-N.Y.

• Chinese Progressive Association

• Emerald Isle Immigration Center of New York

• Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York

• National Association of Korean Americans

• National Coalition for Haitian Rights

 

 

Isolated Neighbors
From El Diario
March 22nd, 2003

By Guillermo Martinez

This isn’t a moment for recriminations or questions without answers. Today we have to speak with a single voice.

American troops of all colors, creeds, and ethnicities are going to war. Men and women of the armed forces are in danger and need our support; just like the Commander -in-Chief needs the support of the American troops.

To disagree, discuss, or simply express our opinion about the politics of this country is a Constitutional right. But in these moments the only thing we achieve by doing so is to give support to our enemies.

History will judge President George W. Bush and determine if his diplomatic efforts were sincere or just theatre. History will come to the conclusion of whether this is a just war and if this is the moment to start a battle. Time and history will also decide if the United Nations is an organism of relevance in these types of situations and will judge the cynicism and obstinacy of France. We will never know with certainty if the United States would have been able to get from the 15 members of the Security Council the nine votes necessary to support the use of force to disarm Saddam Hussein. The threat of a French veto never permitted it.

The president of Chile, Ricardo Lagos, explained this with clarity when he said that it didn’t make sense for the indecisive members of the Security Council to vote when France had promised to veto any resolution that would give Saddam Hussein an ultimatum. President Bush wanted the countries of the Security Council to “show their cards” until he realized that it didn’t make sense for them to do so. France’s veto had made these countries irrelevant.

However, this war is very different than the one that took place in the same desert arena 12 years ago. Then, the first President George Bush succeeded in arming a formidable coalition of allies opposed to the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. His was a much easier argument to stress the necessity of fighting against a country that had invaded a neighbor without any provocation.

Now the United States has less international endorsement, although George Bush’s “coalition of the willing” is more than what its critics say it is. The United States, Great Britain, Spain, and Bulgaria are not alone. The majority of governments in Europe – if not the people – back the United States.

Thirty countries publicly endorse the American initiative and 15 more have done so in private. They believe that toppling a genocidal dictator is more important than worrying about the United States using their military power to act in an imperial manner.

But the Untied States is more isolated today than it has been in any other moment in recent history. Canada has decided not to lend their military support. Mexico and Chile never backed the American resolution in the United Nations.

Less than two years ago, Mexican President Vincente Fox was a much better friend to President Bush, and was closer to the American President than any other Mexican President had been in recent history. Because of that, the foreign minister of Mexico, Jorge Castaneda, who was a leftist in his youth, risked his political career for the belief that the personal relationship between the two ranching presidents would lead to the forging of a new and lasting alliance between Mexico and its neighbor to the north.

September 11th changed everything.

From that date forward, the United States viewed all foreigners with resentment. It had to start a war without boundaries against fundamentalist terror in all corners of the world. And it separated President Bush from his Mexican colleague. Left orphaned was the promise to look for a way to regularize the status of the at least three million Mexicans who live and work in the United States without documents. There were intentions to continue the conversations between Secretary of State Colin Powell and Castaneda. Mexico continued to advocate for the measure, with the hopes that the United States would find the time to pay attention to the necessities of Mexicans.

But those intentions failed. Castaneda had to resign, and placed the blame on a foreign policy strategy based on better diplomatic relations with the United States. Two years after the ranchers promised that the two countries would be great neighbors, Mexico declined to support the United States in the United Nations.

In the Western Hemisphere, the United States could count on the support of Nicaragua. Chile also did not back the American initiative, even with negotiations about the Free Trade Area of the Americas pending.

Today it is crucial that the American government look to the future. It should not, it cannot, continue ignoring its neighbors and believe that they will come to back the United States in times of need.

Translated From Spanish By Joshua Brustein

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