Mexican President Felipe Calderon is condemning the killing of an illegal immigrant by U.S. Border Patrol agents as a “truly unacceptable violation” that involved “torture.” He’s also tying it to Arizona’s immigration law, even though the incident took place on the border with California.
“A death with that degree of violence is a truly unacceptable violation,” Calderon said, according to the Associated Press. “We need to raise all our voices, not only for Mexico but for human rights, because the cause of migrants is a cause that affects us all.” He added that the Arizona immigration law “opens a Pandora’s box of the worst abuses in the history of humanity.”
A San Diego police captain told the Associated Press that Anastacio Hernandez — who was in the country illegally and was being deported to Mexico — wrestled two Border Patrol agents to the ground when his handcuffs were removed at the border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana. An agent shocked him with a stun gun and he died hours later.
Calderon, who criticized U.S. immigration policy during his visit to the White House last month, says Mexico is engaging in an “energetic protest of the torture and death of Anastacio Hernandez, a Mexican who died at the hands of North American migration authorities.”
This rhetoric can’t help his relationship with the U.S., which he depends on for cash and resources to fight the country’s costly drug war. But Calderon is a deeply unpopular president, and turning the focus to foreign policy might be a way for him to distract from domestic failures. His war on the drug cartels, which the U.S. supports financially through the Merida Initiative, has unleashed a wave of violence in the country.
A recent poll sponsored by the Mexican newspaper El Universal shows that Calderon’s approval rating remains at 41 percent. That’s unchanged since February, despite his newly aggressive stance toward the U.S. Those polled listed the country’s main problems as national security and job