Mexico Leftist Says Fox Soft on US over Border

Alistair Bell, Reuters, Jan. 8, 2006

MEXICO CITY—The leftist favored to win Mexico’s presidential election in July accused President Vicente Fox on Sunday of being too soft in opposing Washington’s tough new efforts to prevent illegal immigration.

A plan by the U.S. Congress to build a fence on parts of the U.S.-Mexican border has upset many Mexicans and anger was compounded late last month when a Border Patrol agent in the San Diego area fatally shot a young Mexican man who had tried to enter the United States illegally.

Mexico has demanded an investigation into the shooting and Fox described the fence proposal as “shameful” but Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a former mayor of Mexico City who leads opinion polls, said that was not enough.

He said Fox’s free-market policies caused slow economic growth, and aggravated mass emigration from Mexico.

“It’s infuriating to see how President Fox, because he is dedicated to maintaining economic policies that only benefit the elite, does not have the moral or political authority to confront the disgrace of a wall on the border or to protest the deaths of migrants,” he said.

Lopez Obrador, speaking to several thousand cheering supporters after formally registering as a candidate, said 2 million Mexicans had emigrated in Fox’s five years in power.

The leftist, from the Party of the Democratic Revolution, tops most opinion polls by some 10 percentage points but analysts say his lead might be cut as other candidates crank up their campaigns.

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