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In defense of consul general and people of Mexico

Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to the letter to the editor published in the March 17 issue, “Mi casa no es su casa,” written by Linda Lou Roy of Aspen. I found her comments to be grossly insulting to the Mexican Consul, Sra. Leticia Calzada, and to the Mexican people.

I don’t know if Ms. Roy’s comments were founded on racial bias or on pure ignorance. I sincerely hope it is the latter.



Her comment that Sra. Calzada is the “representative of the most corrupt government in Western Hemisphere” and “that colossal loser, Vicente Fox” were made without foundation or substance. Certainly there is corruption in the Mexican government, like any other government in any country in the world. (Anyone remember the last 8 years of the Clinton administration?)

President Fox has taken dramatic steps since his inauguration to fight corruption within his country, improve the plight of the indigenous people in Chiapas, and dramatically improve relations with the United States.



His constitutional powers are more severely limited than those granted to our president, and many times he is fighting with one hand tied behind his back. To rectify all of the wrongs perpetrated on the Mexican people by the previously ruling PRI party for the last 70 years will not happen overnight.

Ms. Roy is correct in stating that she doesn’t remember electing Sra. Calzada to anything. That is because Sra. Calzada is a diplomat and is charged by her government with representing the interests of all Mexican citizens, legally here or undocumented, within her area of responsibility in the this country.

I am personally acquainted with Sra. Calzada and know her to be a woman of extraordinary ability, intelligence and dedication. Her attempts to garner support for a driver’s license bill for undocumented nationals in the state had wide support from groups outside of the Mexican community. I recently spoke at the Colorado Sheriff’s Association annual meeting on this subject and was gratified at the number of top law enforcement officers who voiced their support for this bill. The bill also had support from the insurance lobby. To say that the bill was rejected by the legislature as “absurd” is patently false. I believe the bill would have passed had not the tragic events of Sept. 11 and our subsequent concerns for national security preceded it.

The large community of undocumented Latinos (not all of them are from Mexico, Ms. Roy) in the valley is an inescapable fact of life. The numbers have grown significantly in the last decade and will continue to do so as long as there is growth in the Roaring Fork Valley, another inescapable fact of life. Latinos are the people that build your houses, condos and hotels and work in them after they’re built.

Even in this economy, jobs go begging. The cumbersome quagmire that is the INS rules and regulations forces many to enter the United States illegally to fill positions that many American citizens would never take. Many Latinos suffer incredible hardships to come here. Hundreds die in the American desert or are victims of unscrupulous smugglers every year; all for the chance to clean your toilets, pick your fruit, or dig your ditches.

These are the people that Ms. Roy describes as “Mexican criminal aliens.” Allowing a person to have a driver’s license does not affect a person’s immigration status. It does, however, allow them to purchase insurance, have an accepted form of identification, and offers a small measure of dignity and inclusion in a society that values their labor but rejects their humanity. To quote a Spanish saying, “Ningun ser humano es ilegal.” “No human being is illegal.”

Michael Riese

Rifle


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