Tag Archives: Houston

Vincente Fox at the University of Houston

On May 3, 2011 Former President of Mexico, Vincente Fox, visited the UH Campus down on Cullen. His presence is the result of the Gulen Institue operating in the University of Houston College of Social Work. I had not heard of a “Gulen” before but looked him up afterward. Pretty interesting. Here is a link to the Institute’s website. The writing below is my recollection of the speech. Please forgive any inaccuracies, they are made honestly and not intentionally. I thoroughly enjoyed the speech and love to get a perspective of events in the world from leaders or former leaders that helped to shape the world we all live in. Also, I use Wikipedia for a couple reason, first it is freely accessible and secondly it accumulates sources and if you really want to begin research on a topic it is a great place to start.

The Overview of the speech was as follows. He discussed:

  •  the Gulen Institute
  • Similar movements in Latin America in the past
  • His time in Office and his family, his foundation
  • Current Events in Mexico and the US
  • Current Events in the World around the US and Mexico
  • Consolidation of Democracies in Latin America
  • The border between the US and Mexico in relation to the Partnership between the two Nations
  • His opinion on resolving the immigration and drug problems
  • The loss of integrity to the country Mexico
  • What citizens in the United States need to do moving forward
  • Random Questions from the audience
The Gulen Institute
From my quick study, the Gulen appears to be a spiritual theologist of sorts. His own flavor of involvement with the world around you and being a good steward to the less fortunate.  Here is the WikiPedia Page on him.
Similar movements in Latin America in the past
Vincente Fox discussed similar movements that existed in Latin America throughout history and stated that at approximatly 500 years ago, one such movement was characterized by a 90 day vow of silence and self-reflection and that in modern times, men that find themselves in positions of forced silence and reflection can find it within themselves to accomplish great things. E.G. Nelson Mandela.
His time in Office and his family, his foundation
He spoke very briefly about his time in office and discussed his past and the family legacy that he inherited. One where his family migrated to Mexico in hopes of realizing the American Dream and becoming successful in business. Now Vincente Fox has a foundation in Mexico that attempts to inspire the minds of 100,000 youth that visit annually. He stated that Opportunity , or conversely lack there of, is the real underlying impediment to be addressed.
Current Events in Mexico and the US
Vincente touched on the strong partnership that exists between Mexico and the United States. As he repeatedly said, “Mexico is a SOLID partner of the United States.” He gave statistics to back that up by pointing out that Mexico is responsible for the importation of more goods the US produces then France, Germany and Italy and England combined. (I believe those are the Nations he referenced.)
Vincente Fox also discussed NAFTA and how it was only a beginning to the limitless future of balanced benefit that the US and Mexico could enjoy as partners moving forward.
The conversation shifted into the Violence taking place in Mexico and spilling over into the US. Here is a link to a collection of stories the LA Times has been publishing on the matter. Again, lack of opportunity and education cited as causes for the Violence.
Current Events in the World around the US and Mexico
The obvious talk here was China. The relocation of World Power from the West, The United States, to the East. He stated that at current conditions, China is estimated to be the World’s Largest Economy in 10 years.
Vincente Fox discussed the G20. He stated that with a GDP per Capita higher than several members of the G20 he believed Mexico had a rightful place in the G20.
Consolidation of Democracies in Latin America
This was an interesting portion of the lecture for me. I know from my brief history studies that as a civilization and its neighbors mature, consolidation takes place. In Latin America, Vincente Fox states that up until the 21st Century that Latin American states were int he hands of Authoritative leadership. As the wave of Democracy went across the Latin American states , consolidation has taken place. Not in the form of reshaping nations and their geographic borders but in the creation of trade groups similar to Union of South American Nations.
Mr. Fox states that it appears the US is not doing all it can to prepare itself and citizens for the challenges ahead regarding the future of trade and China. Mexico as he stated, is attempted to provide the necessary leadership to take on these challenges.
The border between the US and Mexico in relation to the Partnership between the two Nations
All this discussion of a partnership led to the speech to the topic of walls between Mexico and the United States. “Walls are not supposed to be between partners, BRIDGES should be built in place of walls.” On this, I agree 100 percent! The walls down there between the United States and Mexico are a joke. It is not even contiguous for crying out loud. Thus proving my theory that the wall is a symbol of the desperate attempt to coerce a certain portion of the US Electorate that shows up on election day.
His opinion on resolving the immigration and drug problems
When the topic of the Violence and Drugs was re-visited in this speech Vincente Fox briefly discussed current efforts taking place in Mexico to stop the drug industry.
He stated that the drugs passing into the US for consumption are typically not produced in Mexico. “One 100th of the drugs that pass through the Mexican Nation are consumed by Mexicans with the rest entering the United States” , he stated. According to Mr Fox, the current president of Mexico is trying to stop the drugs from entering Mexico in the South. This he said, would not work. He took this moment to talk about Venezuela and its leader stating that not only is the drug production in that country believed to be the main source of drugs in the United States  but that the leader is squandering the natural resource of oil.
The real solution in Mr. Fox’s opinion is Legalization, decriminalization,  and Government Regulation. He pointed to Portugal as an example. Drug usage decreased by 25% after the policy was put in place in Portugal. Prices did not drop to an equilibrium set by market conditions rather they stayed high at black market levels to inhibit the casual user from experimenting. As Vincente Fox stated, “That money that is being taken from society to enable this evil men to arm themselves to a cause of evil should be redistributed back into the economy.”
The loss of integrity to the country Mexico
The Drugs/Violence, and Immigration problems in the United States are contributing factors to what Mr Fox believes is the tarnishing of the Country’s Name. He talked about working for Coca-Cola and stated that , “A Brand is the most valuable asset of an organization.” He encouraged legal immigration and discussed the migrants that are in the US now are no different than those that have come before them to the United States. “The United States is a Nation of Migrants”, he said.
What citizens in the United States need to do moving forward
Mr. Fox stated that citizens of the US and Mexico that are in the United States needed to be respectful of the United States and pointed out that the privileges afforded a citizen of the US are unique. Statistics like only 22% of the Citizens of Mexico even have access to the education that is common place in the United States. As he put it, “This leaves a great responsibility to those of you becoming educated to create opportunity for those 78 that have none.”
Random Questions from the audience
White notecards were given to audience members ahead of time to write down questions that were screened and asked.
The questions I remember were :
How do you feel about the redistricting that is being proposed in Houston?
He pointed out again that citizens needed to be respectful of their government and its laws and said, “Look at the Cubans, they run Miami.” He laughed a moment after that and said, you as a majority in Houston should have your voice in local politics. I guess I didn’t realize this was a problem. For as long as I can remember Hispanics have been holding office in various positions in Houston and its surrounding areas.
Someone next to me yelled out something in Spanish, I speak only a little Spanish but it sounded like it had something to do with Immigration. 
Vincente Fox was exiting but stopped, turned towards the voice in the crowd and even pointed and said, “NO! I am not about an open border. I had a bill that I helped author that was defeated years ago.” I thought I heard him say it was with Bush, 43 , and McCain. He said all he heard from the US leadership at the time was , “mañana mañana mañana mañana.” I have researched on the internet a bit and have not found this bill yet.
OK, so that is what I can remember. Overall, awesome speech! Thanks so much to the University of Houston for making this possible for myself and other students. It was Great!