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Mexicans feel anger and frustration over the global response to swine flu.
In response, the U.N. has advised against such measures, although it has so far held back from castigating any particular countries.
“Our response (to the epidemic) must reflect enlightened self interest and global solidarity at its best,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said Monday. “This is a test for us all. We need to respond with a vigorous and new multilateralism.”
The United States itself has resisted calls to restrict travel to or from Mexico, with Obama administration officials echoing the U.N. stance that such measures are not proven to be effective in slowing the virus.
In reaction, U.S. anti-immigrant groups have jumped on the issue as a new reason to clamp down on the border, unleashing scathing attacks on Obama and his deputies.
“These charlatans claim that securing the borders would have no impact in slowing the progression of the flu into America or protecting our citizens or hospitals ... ludicrous,” writes William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration in a news release. “These unscrupulous traitors to our Republic claim 'the horse is already out of the barn' and the burglar is already in the house.”
On the Mexican street, this war of words over Mexicans' right to move around the planet has sparked anger, defensiveness and concern.
Mariana Sanchez, a 29-year-old industrial designer, said the cries from Paris to Arizona to keep Mexicans out showed an unbridled ignorance.
“These are meant to be first world countries. But they are showing themselves as lacking any culture or understanding,” Sanchez said, staring at the headlines on a newspaper stand.
However, Hernan Gutierrez, a 34-year-old engineer, was simply worried about his own travel plans.
“If we try and go anywhere they won’t let us in, or they will hold us in quarantine,” Gutierrez said. “I guess I will just have to stay in Mexico for the next few years.”
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