Globalization has come to stay, and at Grupo Salinas, we firmly believe in the economic integration of our continent. We think this is the only valid response to an increasingly competitive world. In fact, with operations in nine different countries of Latin America, we are investing enormous resources in heading up this trend.
In particular, at Grupo Salinas, we think that, given their huge capability to complement each other, Mexico and the United States have a lot to gain from ordered economic integration.
Last June 24, the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce honored me, together with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, with its “Good Neighbor Award.” We both shared the conviction that the possibility for a better, shared future does exist for our countries.
It would be difficult to find a more important bilateral relationship in the world than the one between Mexico and the United States. Our two countries share one of the longest, wealthiest —historically, culturally, and economically— borders in existence.
However, as with any deep, lasting relationship, it is also fraught with problems, and they can blind us to the huge opportunities we have before us.
Unfortunately, in times of crisis, populist voices are common, crying that the market economy doesn’t work and that globalization has failed. Ironically, the simple fact that we hear those voices around the world is a clear indication of the grave error they are spreading.
There is another kind of populism —of an opposite but no less damaging kind— that demands an impenetrable wall be built between our two nations. In the United States today, a totally biased vision is spreading about what Mexico represents. It reduces its view of our nation to crime, drugs, and illegal immigration.
Those who spread this vision think that drugs are a problem caused solely by Mexicans, but they choose to ignore that without demand, there is no sustainable supply. Drugs, by the way, are a public health issue, but that is a topic for another entry.
Those who think like that only see corruption on the Mexican side of the border and want to make us think that drugs get to the streets and schools north of the Rio Grande by magic.
It’s time all these populist voices were confronted and made to see reason. Our bilateral relationship offers many more opportunities than disadvantages, even more in times of a grave global economic crisis.
It is a good time to reflect about what it means to be a good neighbor: Mexico and the United States will be neighbors for centuries. It is time to imagine a better-shared future and to try to find the way to make it happen.
RBS Speech in the United States Mexico Chamber of Commerce
Hechos News: Ricardo B. Salinas received the Good Neighbor Award