Speedy Gonzalez is back
Speedy Gonzalez may have been buried in the political correctness graveyard in the U.S. But the clever Mexican cartoon mouse who always outwits the bumbling "gringo" is alive and well in Mexico. And he's up to his old tricks. This time, the mouse is fooling the gringo on immigration.
I've just returned from a week in Mexico's southernmost state of Chiapas, through which the vast majority of Central Americans, Cubans, Asians, and Africans must pass on their way to besieging our southern border. I live in Guatemala, and I've been in Chiapas dozens of times before. Since I'm from San Diego, I've always had a special interest in the border issue, beginning with high school hijinks involving smuggling firecrackers into the U.S. in a long-lost age of innocence.
Mexican efforts to thwart would-be illegal aliens' entry into the U.S. are a farce. While I was in Arriaga, home marshaling yard for the now infamous Bestia freight train, 400–500 persons illegally in Mexico boarded the train unimpeded on the first leg of their odyssey to the U.S. Prior to departure, a yard locomotive cruises up and down the tracks, blowing its whistle like the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
Puzzled by the lack of obvious refugees while driving on the northbound side of the freeway, when I finally came upon a woefully overloaded pickup, apparent minders in orange vests, passengers even on the cab roof. In an aha! moment, I passed them and pulled over well up the highway, out of sight, to take a closer look when they ultimately passed. Twenty or so minutes later, the truck sailed past, now occupied only by the orange-vest presumed minders, empty of refugees. Where did they go? An alien kidnapping via spaceship?
This happened about 15 minutes south of a formal, fixed checkpoint, manned usually by immigration and police officers, now backed up by uniformed Mexican military. These checkpoints, which are sporadic all the way to the Rio Grande, are nothing more than the modern Mexican version of the Maginot Line. In their most sublimely futile version, they are bypassed by hundreds, now up to thousands a day on truck-tire inner tubes crossing the Mexico-Guatemala river shallows within full sight of both Mexican and Guatemalan customs and immigration offices. I've taken the tube trip myself and verified last week that it's business as usual.
Yet Mexican president Speedy López Obrador asserts that Mexico is fully cooperating to stop the illegal flows. Time will tell if Speedy López outwits Gringo Trump.
This time, I wouldn't bet on the mouse.