By Angela Millan Epstein
Thank you Martha Raddatz, and the team who prepared the questions for the Vice Presidential debate, for completely disappearing Mexico and Latin America from the Foreign Policy map, and for making us invisible.
For several years we have heard much rhetoric about the threat that Mexico represents for the United States, and as a consequence Mexicans have swallowed the wall, and put up with pressure from the American government. This rhetoric has also served to justify the bias against Mexicans in some segments of the population. All while both the Anglo and Spanish media have happily reported on the “threats,” over and over.
For 90 minutes I heard important issues about Foreign Policy: Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, but not one single mention of Mexico or Latin America; and that I call Malarkey, a new word in my vocabulary that means nonsense, courtesy of Vice President Joe Biden. I can’t understand this major oversight. It makes me think that it is a reflection of the American foreign policy, which does not consider Mexico or Latin America important, relevant or even interesting, coupled with ignorance and perhaps some arrogance.
And that is, too, a bunch of Malarkey!
To me, it is unacceptable that the moderator did not integrate Mexico into this debate, especially after the many reports written about the perceived or real security threat. Only last year Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations released the report written by David Shirk, “The Drug War in Mexico: Confronting a Shared Threat“ that provides a fresh look at “one of the most important security threats in the Western Hemisphere” and suggests recommendations for policy in both Washington and Mexico City.
In another instance, The Homeland Security Newswire had this headline in late 2010 “U.S.: Mexico’s drug war posing growing threat to U.S. national security,” and Adam Entous and Nathan Hodge of the Wall Street Journal wrote that the US was not considering sending troops other than in a training or liaison capacity because “it is unclear how much of an expanded American role the Mexicans will accept.”
On another instance, a U.S. military official said that Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that he is “growing increasingly concerned about the security situation” and asked his staff to work with the U.S. Northern Command to explore increased engagement with the Mexican military.
So, with these and other cases where Mexico is cited as critical for the security of the U.S., Raddatz has no excuses to not have included questions about Mexico and the region. While her performance as moderator was very good and she received immediate congratulations, clearly this fact went unnoticed by many. The New York Times’ Andrew Rosenthal praised the moderator. Eva Longoria, an active fund raiser for President Obama, exclaimed in twitter her happiness, and even members of the Spanish media posted on Raddatz’s twitter account, congratulating her. That is Malarkey too.
Angela Millan Epstein is a former News Correspondent and Anchor for Univision and NBC’s Canal de Noticias’, has published in several sites in the Americas and worked in content and technology with IBM and ScreamingMedia.
Photo courtesy of Commission on Presidential Debates