Tag Archives: barack obama

President Obama shares some dance moves with Mexican singer Thalia

Thalia is a well-known Mexican singer and former TV soap star. I remember watching her in the Maria la del Barrio series that was on Mexican television in the 90s in which  she portrays a trash picker rescued by a wealthy benefactor and  eventually finds true love after tearful betrayals and misunderstandings. In real life, Thalia Sodi Mirana married music executive Tommy Motolla.

In this video, she decorously dances with President Barack Obama for a few moments before concluding her song at the Fiesta Latina concert that was held at the White House on Tuesday.

According to The New York Times, the event will be rebroadcast Thursday on PBS stations as part of the series “In Performance at the White House.” It is also to be shown Sunday on the Telemundo network.

QUESTION: Was the president’s dance out-of-bounds? There seems to be a lot of chatter on the Internet about whether or not Michelle Obama looked annoyed or gave him the cold shoulder afterwards. Thoughts?

YouTube video from The Daily Beast.

Mexico’s drug trafficking violence gets U.S. attention

Almost overnight, Mexico has jumped  to the top of the U.S. diplomatic agenda – at least momentarily overshadowing Iraq and Afghanistan. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is visiting Mexico this week, paving the way for a scheduled visit next month by President Obama. 

It appears that part of the attention comes from a heightened awareness of the cross-border threat of drug-related violence.  The rhetoric got especially charged in recent months as Spring Breakers were warned to avoid Mexico (The ATF, in an odd move for an agency whose role seems mismatched for such statements, warned students to avoid Mexico – and then later softened their stance).  The U.S. Joint Forces Command, meanwhile, identified Mexico as one of the two most critical states in danger of failing due to the havoc created by the region’s drug cartels. 

To be sure, the violence appears to have taken a particularly savage turn over the past few years. Missing in some of these assessments, however,  is that the backlash comes from the Mexican government’s own success in attacking the country’s drug cartels over the past eight years. Dismantling long-standing drug trafficking organizations, unfortunately, creates instability . Drug trafficking was a major problem during the 1990s but it may not have attracted this much attention because the drug groups operated with comparatively minimal meddling from the government. This created a false sense of order.

With so much attention on the violence in Mexico lately (I can’t seem to turn on the radio or read a news media source without hearing about it), Mexican authorities have lashed back. In recent weeks, they have pointed out that  the U.S. demand for drugs is fueling the drug trade. They have accused  the U.S. of not doing enough to curb the flow of firearms south of the border into the hands of drug traffickers. Mexican president Felipe Calderon also suggested that the U.S. do a better job of attacking drug corruption in its own agencies.

Things have gotten testy, and the visits by U.S. diplomats are clearly meant to soothe the bickering and focus on the cross-border collaboration efforts. Whether this actually translates to a reduction in the violence is unclear, especially when we consider the unabated demand for drugs in the United States. Instead, stability may be more dependent on the ability of Mexican drug groups to re-negotiate their roles in a way that gives us all the illusion that the underlying problem has been fixed. 

Read a story here in The New York Times, about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitting that the U.S. shares a responsibility in Mexico’s problems. Here’s another one by The Washington Post.

Here is an essay by Mexican scholar Enrique Krauze who argues that Mexico is not a “failed state” at risk of “imminent collapse.” 

Here is a story in The San Diego Union-Tribune about how Mexican drug trafficking groups get their guns from the U.S.

Blog essay by Anna Cearley, former border reporter

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Obama and Mexico

senatorbarackobamaaIn the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 2001, I got a lot of sympathetic reactions from Mexicans in Tijuana. That concern turned into confusion as the U.S. foreign policy evolved in an arguably unilateral fashion. Many Mexicans I talked to were perplexed that the U.S. public would re-elect president George W. Bush in 2004. Those same Mexicans, as may be the case with other global residents, are now hopeful the U.S. is heading back on track.

In the spirit of Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration, here are some links to stories that explore Obama’s relationship with Mexico:

Obama met with Mexico’s president Felipe Calderon Jan. 12 – his first meeting with a foreign leader since the election. You can read more about that visit in this The Dallas Morning News article.

In an opinion piece  published in The Dallas Morning News, Obama acknowledges that 6.5 million Americans live in border communities and that “too often we neglect the unique needs of these communities, which are integrated with their cities across the border.”  He calls for greater cross-border partnerships while also noting he will “seek enforceable labor and environmental standards” as amendments to the free trade agreement, NAFTA.

Jeremy Schwartz, of Cox News Service, wrote in 2008 about how Obama’s candidacy serves as a subject of reflection on racial matters in Mexico, where the Afro-Mexican community is largely ignored. You can read the article here.

CBS quoted Obama when he visited Brownsville during a campaign stop, where he bought a torta from a taquito stand and mused on his first encounter with the border: “This is the first time I’ve been this close, here in Texas. I’ve been in Mexico when I was in college and going to school in Southern California. I can’t entirely talk about it.”

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