Fox said building
a wall to keep immigrants out of the
US will not solve the
problem. Newton Liu
By Miguel Cortina
Former Mexican president, Vicente Fox addressed a packed auditorium in Agnes Arnold, speaking on issues of drug cartels, U.S.
immigration laws and NAFTA on May 2, 2011.
The lecture was Fox's first time visiting UH and was sponsored
by the Gulen Institute and the Graduate College of Social Work.
"We are pleased to partner with the Gulen Institute to provide
this educational opportunity for students to hear firsthand from an
international leader," said Ira Colby, dean of the College of Social
Work, in a press release. "Mexico is an important international
neighbor and friend to the United States. Both during and after his
presidency, Vicente Fox has been a staunch advocate to eradicate
poverty and promote public education for all people. His perspectives on immigration are important, in particular, as Texas and the
United States continues to struggle with undocumented people
and their place in our economy."
In his lecture on Leadership and Spirituality in America, Fox
said that Mexico is in the middle of the drug problem because
of its geographic location. The drugs are imported from South
America to Mexico and then they are transported to the United
States, which is the top consumer of drugs in the world.
He also disagrees with the current strategy used by President
Felipe Calderon to fight drugs, which focuses on trying to cut the
supply instead of the demand.
"We have to think about the possibility of legalizing it or decriminalize the consumption of drugs," Fox said in an auditorium
of more than 400 people.
Fox also commented that if the demand problem is attacked
through educating the population, the results could be better. He
cited Portugal and its decision to legalize drugs and said that the
consumption did not increase, and the black market disappeared.
The Mexican army should not be fighting the cartels, Fox said,
because they are not prepared to do police work.
The former president also commented on immigration and the
United States. He called on President Barack Obama to keep his
word of passing immigration reform in the country.
"It seems to me that one thinks that building walls will solve
the problems of our nation," Fox said. "Instead of building walls,
we should be building bridges—bridges of understanding, bridges
of strong friendship and relationship, bridges of exchange of technology, bridges of respect of our own people."
He added that it would be a terrible mistake if Texas passed
a law similar to the SB1070 law that Arizona passed, which was
stopped by a federal judge before it went into effect.
Fox also touched on NAFTA, the North American Free Trade
Agreement, which involves Mexico, the United States and Canada,
saying that it has worked for all three nations.
"It's been very profitable. It's been good for the three of us to
work as partners," Fox said.
He added that NAFTA has created thousands of jobs, perhaps
millions in the United States. However, he said that to be able to
compete against Asia and build a good future, they must continue
to work together.
"We all depend from each other today," Fox said. "That's why
NAFTA has become so critical and so important for the future of