Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Mexico’s International Élan and U.S. Interests

Mexico’s International Élan and U.S. Interests

The election of Vicente Fox Quesada to Mexico’s presidency in August 2000 opened a new chapter in his country’s foreign affairs. As the nominee of the Alliance for Change, Fox promised to attack the poverty, unemployment, corruption, vote-rigging, and human-rights abuses associated with the long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). He also pledged to reform the country’s tax system, open the energy sectors to private capital, and revamp outmoded labor laws—measures crucial to spurring sustained growth. Upon Fox’s election, then–Texas governor and presidential candidate George W. Bush congratulated his friend on a “historic” triumph that sent “a strong signal of reform and modernization in Mexico.” Mexico City quickly became a destination of choice for U.S. politicians eager to be seen with Mexico’s democratically elected, change-oriented jefe.

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