- The Washington Times - Friday, August 16, 2002

MEXICO CITY Mexican President Vicente Fox's cancellation of his trip to President Bush's Texas ranch, announced to protest the execution of a Mexican convict in Texas, may have had more to do with his domestic political needs.
The step, while chilling relations with Washington, is expected to help him out with a hostile congress that has blocked his proposals or modified them beyond recognition.
Late Wednesday, hours after Texas put to death a Mexican-American drug smuggler for killing a Dallas police officer, Mr. Fox canceled an Aug. 26-28 trip to four Texas cities and to Mr. Bush's Crawford ranch, where he had planned to push the U.S. president for an immigration accord.
Mr. Fox made the decision even though the execution was a Texas matter over which Mr. Bush had no jurisdiction.
Some Mexican politicians charge that Mr. Bush has lost interest in Mexico since the September 11 attacks and has shifted his foreign policy focus from immigration reform to anti-terror efforts. They also argue that Mr. Fox's cozy ties with the U.S. president have accomplished little south of the border.
"It seems there is much giving, and we get nothing but smiles in return," said Mexican lawmaker Eddie Varon, a member of the formerly ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party. "Things are going to be taken seriously now."
That sentiment is a far cry from the optimism seen on both sides of the border in February 2001, when Mr. Fox and Mr. Bush both newly elected walked like old friends around the pond at Mr. Fox's ranch and talked about ways to ease illegal immigration.

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