THE US AND MEXICO - The Bear and the Porcupine
Testimonial from a U.S. ambassador in Mexico. This book is IN ENGLISH
The Bear and the Porcupine by Ambassador Jeffrey Davidow's new book on U.S.-Mexican relations has been published in Eglish in the US by Markus Wiener Publishers. Public commentary has been heavy with numerous reviews, commentaries, and a general appreciation that he has spoken plainly and bluntly about the complex ties between the two countries. The Bear of the title is, of course, the United States whose very weight and power is perceived as threatening by an overly sensitive and defensive Mexico - the porcupine.
The bear and the porcupine, a parable created by Jeffrey Davidow, introduces the hypersensitive Mexican porcupine and the insensitive American bear and their difficult relationship. This image has now entered Mexican political discourse. Davidow outlines the forces drawing Mexico and the US together as well as the ignorance and arrogance on both sides, which impede greater cooperation. His expansive study includes a discussion of the two "cowboy presidents" Bush and Fox. Davidow points up how the US understanding of what was truly happening in the Mexican drug world was frequently manipulated, and notes that the US immigration policy has been a failure according to any criteria. Davidow provides readers with the inside story of how Fidel Castro orchestrated a vicious revenge after growing displeased with President Fox. The book describes the Zapata revolt and the subsequent march to Mexico City. Davidow recounts many humorous details about what an embassy must go through when attending to important congressional visits, especially presidential ones. He ends the book with an epilogue envisioning the future of US-Mexican relations.
Ambassador Jeffrey Davidow assumed the presidency of the Institute of the Americas located on the UCSD campus in La Jolla, California on June 1, 2003. Upon completion of 34 years in the State Department, he retired as America's highest ranking diplomat, one of only three people to hold the personal rank of career Ambassador.
During his foreign service career, Amb. Davidow focused much of his efforts on improving relations with Latin America. He served in increasingly senior positions in the U.S. embassies in Guatemala, Chile, and Venezuela, and then later returned to Venezuela as ambassador from l993-1996. From 1996 to 1998, he was the State Department's chief policy maker for the hemisphere, serving in the position of Assistant Secretary of State. He then served as ambassador to Mexico from 1998 to 2002. Initially appointed to that position by President Clinton, he was asked to remain in his post for an additional 18 months by President Bush.
Early in his Foreign Service career, he served as a congressional staff aide in a program organized by the American Political Science Association. In that capacity, he organized in 1979 the first congressional hearings on the possibility of establishing a free trade area for North America. On another occasion, he spent an academic year at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs where he wrote a book, later published by Harvard, on negotiation. After leaving Mexico in September 2002, he returned to Harvard to become a Visiting Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and the David Rockefeller center for Latin American Studies. During the 2002-03 academic year, he worked extensively with undergraduate and graduate students and wrote a book on U.S.-Mexican relations.
Amb. Davidow graduated from the University of Massachusetts (BA, l965) and the University of Minnesota (MA l967). He also did postgraduate work in India (l968) on a Fulbright travel grant. He holds an honorary doctor of laws from the University of Massachusetts (2002).
He has been married since 1969 to the former Joan Labuzoski. The couple has two daughters.
El Oso y el Puercoespin: Testimonio de un embajador de Estados Unidos en Mexico
Testigo privilegiado del Mexico de la transicion, Jeffrey Davidow, embajador de Estados Unidos en Mexico de 1998 a 2002, consigue en El oso y el puerco espin osciliar entre el relato de viajes, el analisis politico, la cronica personal y el ensayo periodistico para registrar su experiencia en Mexico como representante del gobierno mas poderoso del planeta.
Cualquier lector se sentira cautivado por las reflexiones de Jeffrey Davidow, quien gran soltura, dominio y afecto para la cultura mexicana, logra poner en escena las complejas relaciones entre ambos paises a traves de multiples ejemplos y una vision muy personal sobre la historia de dos naciones signadas por una frontera comun, la controversia yuna memoria colindante.
La mirada de Jeffrey Davidow no pierde detalle y se detiene en topicos que han marcado la fortaleza y vulnerabilidad de Mexico y Estados Unidos: la intervencion norteamericana en el siglo XIX con la subsecuente perdida de una parte importante del territoria nacional, la hegemonia del PRI por mas de siete decadas, la migracion de mexicanos mas alla del Rio Bravo en busqueda del "sueño americano", el narcotrafico, el Tratado de Libre Comercio, la relacion con Cuba, las visitas de Ernesto Zedillo y Vicente Fox a Estados Unidos o las de Bill Clinton y George Bush a nuestro pais, ademas de las recientes tensiones entre ambos vecinos a raiz de las expectativas en materia de migracion a causa primersima del enfriamiento de las relaciones diplomaticas.
El oso y el puercoespin (una metafora construida por Jeffrey Davidow a partir de la mitologia nahuatl) no habla al lector solo de temas coyunturales o de primera importancia para Mexico y Estados Unidos, tambien habla de procesos sociales y culturales domesticos sobre los que Jeffrey Davidow estuvo muy atento como el movimiento zapatista, el proceso electroral que abrio el camino para la alternancia y los encuentros que tuvo con los principales actores politicos durante su gestion. Jeff Davidow evita la complacencia y se revela como un analista politico sagaz, penetrante y agudo, quien demuestra su conocimiento y lectura de los lideres de opinion de Mexico y Estados Unidos.