Vicente Fox - Former Mexico President, 2000-2006 HARDtalk


Vicente Fox - Former Mexico President, 2000-2006

Stephen Sackur speaks to former Mexico president Vicente Fox, whose strongly worded Twitter responses to Donald Trump have caused a storm on social media.


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Welcome to HARDtalk. I am Stephen Sackur. Donald Trump has wasted

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little time delivering on his signature campaign promises. He has

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already ordered the building of "that wall." The US Congress will

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find it, but ultimately, Donald Trump says Mexico will pay. My guest

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today is the former Mexican president Vicente Fox whose

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expletive filled tweets to Donald Trump have caused a storm on social

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media. Can Mexico afford to tango with Donald Trump?

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Vicente Fox in Mexico, welcome to HARDtalk what a pleasure. Hello,

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Europe, hello London, fellow Briton. Well, hello to you. Here is a

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question, how badly does Mexico need a good working relationship with any

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US president? I think a good relationship is always important and

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is strategic for any nation and any economy when you were dealing with

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the most powerful, the largest economic, marketing the world. So it

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is important. Very important. But sometimes you cannot take your own

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decisions. All of a sudden appears Donald Trump. He is disrupting

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everything, and not for the better, but for the worse, with Europe, with

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Mexico, with Latin America, with the Muslim world, with China. He is

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willing to fight with everybody. He will never win against the world.

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Yeah, but he has only been in office for two weeks. And you have taken

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the decision many months ago when he was still on the campaign trail to

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antagonise him and take him on as much as you can. And in so far as

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you are an extraordinarily powerful voice in Mexico, a former president,

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do you think that was wise? Well, we have three issues that have to do

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with Mexico and the United States and their relationship. Start with

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the wall. He can build as many walls as he wants, he can enclose that

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little nation behind four walls because of fear and because of his

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crazy ideas, but what he will never ever attain is Mexico paying for the

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wall. That is a different thing. That has to do with sovereignty,

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that has to do with dignity, that has to do with pride. So, President

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Enrique Pena Nieto has stated very clearly on the name of 120 million

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Mexicans, we are not paying for that stupid wall that he wants to build.

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Builder did you want with US taxpayer money. That is the only

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source of money he might get. -- build it if you want. He is not even

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sure he will get it because many Republicans do not agree with him.

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Many state governments do not agree with him. Because all of them lived

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out of the trading that we have through Nafta. Mexico and the United

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States. Let me. Right there. That is a very powerful statement that you

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have just made. They are all ways to make Mexico pay. He has to get the

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wall built with Congress funds, but he will put tariffs are new, he said

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20% may be. He will charge you more to send remittances back home. He

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will find ways to make the Mexican people pay for his wall. Let me tell

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you. Every action has a reaction. If he taxes imports to the United

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States coming from Mexico, we will tax exports of the United States to

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Mexico. As you know, we have an even situation on trading. We sell every

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year to the United States was to 300 billion US dollars' worth of goods

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and products. And they sell to Mexico almost the equivalent amount.

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So nobody will win in a trade war. Everybody will lose, starting with

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the US consumer, that will have to pay 20% more for the car he is

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buying, 20% more for the guacamole that he is buying, 20% more for the

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tequila that he is buying... I dare say that Americans can live with a

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little less guacamole and a little less tequila. But the fact is your

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economy is per capita more dependent on your trading relationship with

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the United States than the United States is on you. So when it comes

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down to that raw things about leverage, the US has the leverage,

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you don't. You are right. We all lose. But look at this We have a

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trade agreement with Europe. We have a trade agreement with Britain, is

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leading with the European Union. If Britain gets out, still we can put

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together a trade agreement. And let me tell you, the European Union

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market is 500 million people. The US market is 300 million people. The

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gross product of the union, the European Union, altogether is larger

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than the gross product of the United States. So we just have to look to

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outside. We have a trade agreement with Asia, we have a trade agreement

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with Latin America are. So many Mexico is the economy that has more

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trade agreements than anyone else. We don't want to lose the market of

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the United States. But if this crazy died, -- guy, Trump, goes for his

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will, not those of the Americans, he will sacrifice the well-being of

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Americans. The geography of this is simple. You and the United States

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will be locked together forever whether you like it or not. I come

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back to the theme of political wisdom. Is it wise for you to use

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those words you have outlined, and that other words, the "F" word,

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would you have used about your refusal to pay for the wall, there

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is something about using the appropriate tone and establishing a

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dialogue. It seems to me that you read your attitude to Donald Trump

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are making dialogue impossible. -- with. Yes. If he wants to respect,

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he has to start respecting others. He has not shown that. And my worry

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is that President Pena does not have enough courage to stand against him

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like we did when we nationalised the oil 100 years ago. Like Mexico did

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when we were invaded by their army. He is saying, he proposed to Pena,

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that he is willing to send the US Army. Go to hell, Trump. Mexico does

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not admit in its territory by Constitution any armies from

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anywhere in the world. Use your army, Donald Trump, tothe

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consumption of drugs, to stop drugs circulating all over the United

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States every day. In every single corner of the United States there is

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drug consumption. And he complains about Mexico. Why doesn't he stopped

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drug -- stop drugs circulating in his own country? Where is the DEA,

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the FBI, the CIA? We will get to that. One more word about Donald

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Trump. You said this to a TV network in relation to Donald Trump a few

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days ago. When I saw today's gathering of the Republican Party in

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their retreat with Donald Trump in the middle, it reminded me of Hitler

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addressing the Nazi Party. That is extreme language. Are you saying

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that apart from anything else, Donald Trump is an out and out races

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when it comes to Mexicans and Mexico? Absolutely is. -- racist.

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Let us not laying him, let us blame his followers, like the Nazi party.

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-- blame. The Republican Party, they follow him blindly. They do not

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question him. Vicente Fox, you cannot bandy around this word

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lightly. We know what they were responsible for in the 1930s and

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40s. Donald Trump, the many millions that elected him to the office of

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the United States, you cannot, surely, you cannot label them Nazis.

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Excuse me. Excuse me. Congressmen, a Member of Parliament in England,

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they are elected by people to serve the people in any democracy, not

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deserve his political party. That is what I think is blind on the side of

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Congress, men and senators of the Republican Party in the United

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States. You do not follow a false prophet when he is taking you to the

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desert. You think on your own and you make your own free decisions.

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And that is what I was referring to in my comment. Just... I want to

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move on. I want to think specifically now about the

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immigration issue which of course Donald Trump campaigned on and one

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millions of votes on securing the US border. We have talked about the

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wall he wants to build, but isn't there a fundamental hypocrisy in

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Mexico. When you criticised his plan to secure America's border with

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Mexico, you in your country have consistently under your leadership

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and other presidents as well failed to secure your southern border, with

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the result that hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans from

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Central America come into Mexico, many of them wanting to get into the

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United States, and exacerbating the immigration problem. It is tiny

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sorted out your own water security. False, false, and true statements

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you are mentioning. Let me go one by one. Number one, we want a secure

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border. We Mexicans want a secure border, the same as the United

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States and their citizens. But not the way he is trying to do it. The

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wall, let him build whatever wall he wants the. If he wants to construct

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a useless wall like the Chinese people did against their enemies,

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the Mongols, it did not work. They jumped the wall, they invader China,

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they conquered China. It happened very close to Britain. That war

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could not retain anybody away from freedom. That had to be torn down.

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If he wants to build a wall, it is already there are. But today we do

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not use the stick, we use intelligence, we use wisdom, we use

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negotiation, we use, like you say, speaking to each other. But when he

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uses a stick like the old US empire, imposing their will in the world,

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putting in and taking out governments, that cannot be the

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future. I understand. You have pretty Donald Trump during this

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interview, but I am asking you to critique yourself. -- critiqued. Let

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us look to the south. One of the reasons the migration problem is so

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profound is because you guys are now quoting the Washington office of

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Latin American studies. They are saying that your hardline policies

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on migration issues in the south of your country have risen consistently

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ineffective in deterring immigration. -- proven. They have

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violated human rights and have brought about abuse and violence.

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That is on you and Mexico. It is nothing to do with Donald Trump in

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the United States. will ship let me criticise myself and

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criticise Mexico. We have compassion. Like Europe is showing

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today. When there are people suffering, when there are people

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running away from violence, like the Syrians, you use your compassion and

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share it with others. That is the way we think in Mexico. We do not

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use a stick. We are not only up to money and economic growth. We

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consider the human side of people because of humanity, and listen. He

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just said, the world does not belong, it belongs to she manatee,

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it is not belong to Trump and United States. Nations belong to citizens.

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Our border in the south is not what it should be because there is

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hunger, there is poverty. There are also abuses, systemic abuses carried

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out by your security forces and there is corruption. Calls. All that

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comes from Maureen Meyer who has researched this from the Washington

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office of Latin America. Mexico has a problem, would you agree? If we

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have a problem, we have to correct them. But that does not give Trump

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the right to intervene in our internal public policies. That does

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not give him the right to treat inhumanely most people from anywhere

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of the world. Mexico has to correct, yes, the problem of drugs and

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violence and we are going to legalise drug consumption so that we

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take away the money from the cartels. By the way, money that

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comes from the United States consumption. Number two, we have to

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move the economy, to recreate jobs, to create opportunities which we are

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doing now. In my part of Mexico, we are full employment right now, full

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employment and salary is going up so we are doing our work. It's not as

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we wish, we wish we could do more but again, I think it is, it's a

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threat that we have and it's a dangerous threat. You have talked

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about the drugs problem quite a lot in this interview so let's get down

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into it in specifics right now. I've been in your country before and came

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not so long ago, quite a number of years ago now, to interview

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President Calderon. He declared a total and complete war on the

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cartels and the drug lords. That failed. We have president Pena Nieto

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who has taken a different approach and that has failed as well. We have

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seen the violence rise again. 90% of all the drugs, serious drugs that

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which United States go through Mexico are produced in Mexico

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because production in your country is on the rise as well. Everything

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that you have done, and am talking about you yourself and your

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successors, has completely failed to stop the flow of drugs from your

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country into the United States and again, that is new. Yes. Yes, yes.

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That is why we will legalise, same as United States is doing, because

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we are fighting a war against drugs which is not ours. I ask you and I

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ask Trump and I ask American people, what happens once those words of

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drugs across the border? Where are the US authorities? Where is the

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army? They do the consumption, they are happy consuming and we pay in

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blood. 160,000 kids have died on President Calderon's Administration

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and on Pena Nieto's administration. 160,000 kids. They did not have

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criminality in their genes. And yet they joined the cartels. That is a

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tragedy, Mr Fox. It is a tragedy. So do you think legalising cocaine and

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heroin and methamphetamines, all of which are now manufactured in

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Mexico, is going to solve the problem? Take away the manufacturing

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in Mexico. Most of them comes from the south in transit to the north.

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But some is now being made in Mexico. Anyway, anyway let's discuss

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the issue. Portugal legalise all drugs and it's working. The State of

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Colorado and Washington and California, they have legalised

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marijuana consumption. The State of Israel is now producing marijuana

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and claiming they have the best marijuana in the world and they

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are... We're not talking marijuana here. We're not talking here. I am

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full legalisation of all drugs. We human beings should be responsible

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for our own health and that is why the world has come to accept

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abortion and marriages of different sexes because we are and have to be

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responsible for our own behaviour. The State, governments, will never

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solve that problem from us. It is a promise that has never been complied

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with. 40 years ago, President Nixon launched the global war on drugs.

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What happened? Total failure. Consumption goes up and up and yes,

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we have to correct things in Mexico. We are not happy with what we have

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but again, that doesn't give Trump the possibility for the prerogative

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or speaking so many stupid things during modern single day. -- during

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one single day. I have to turn to Mexican politics. President Pena

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Nieto has an approval rating of 12%, deeply, deeply unpopular. It looks

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like the most convincing candidate to take the presidency may be Mr

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Obrador. You have had a long experience with him. You try to stop

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him running for president in 2006. He almost won. He looks like the

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populist leftist who could learn something from Trump and make

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Mexican politics much more populist. Are you worried about that?

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Absolutely, yes. Please. We do not want Obrador here. We could see Hugo

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Chavez, Castro, the rest of the gang here in Latin America. Populism

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doesn't work. But Mr Fox, my point is, your language on Trump, you are

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talking the same sort of populism that Obrador is talking. Pena Nieto

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is cautious to criticise Trump. The only people in Mexico who go up to

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Trump are you and Obrador so you are playing into his hands. I have

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tweets about 28 million people so people are listening. People are

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coming out to the streets, people are manifesting themselves. It is

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not me. It is the people that are decent, that work hard, but are

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trying to build a future that understand how trade and government

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works, that the stupid war on drugs, that we need to do a lot of things

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but Lopez Obrador is not the solution to Mexico's problems. He

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will get us into the same disorder that is happening. They don't have

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food to eat Right now. That is populism. That is demagoguery. That

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is the extreme left. And I hope Britain, unfortunately the United

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States now moved into populism, and false promises with this false

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prophet that is Trump. I want for my country, the good governance with

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honesty, with honour ability, with the capacity and let's see what

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Mexican people decide, is on their hands to decide. Isn't the bottom

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line in all of this conversation that you may wish to Trump weren't

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in power but the fact is, the use and the United States, in its

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relationship with Mexico, does hold pretty much all the cards. So what

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you say on Twitter and everything else, the Mexican government will

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have to find a practical way of working with Trump? Sure. Sure,

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that's a conclusion that is mistaken. The plans of Ford, the

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motor Co, Chrysler and GM are here in Mexico. They are not going to

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take them away. If they want a car, let them do. Ford has decided not to

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build a new plant in Mexico. You know that. Ford has decided to

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cancel its plans for a new plant in Mexico. I know that. I know, and

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they are getting now a boycott. They are not selling the amount of cars

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they used to be selling in Mexico. Governments have cancelled orders,

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consumers have cancelled orders for Ford Motor Company survey the better

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think about what they win and lose by following a false prophet. They

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are going to be losing a lot of money and a lot of markets in the

:23:55.:23:58.

world if they keep listening and following blindly Donald Trump.

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Vicente Fox, we had to end there but I thank you very much for joining me

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from central Mexico, thank you very much indeed. Stephen, a pleasure.

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Here is your home and the home of every Briton. Thank you.

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Well, for some of us on Tuesday it felt quite springlike.

:24:38.:24:42.

For others, though, it was distinctly wintry,

:24:43.:24:44.

with some snow up over the higher ground of Scotland in particular.

:24:45.:24:48.

Stephen Sackur speaks to former Mexico president Vicente Fox, whose strongly worded Twitter responses to Donald Trump have caused a storm on social media. The new US president has wasted little time delivering on his signature campaign promises. He has already ordered the construction of the contentious wall along the US-Mexican border. The US congress will fund it but, ultimately, Mr Trump says, Mexico must pay for it. Can Mexico afford to provoke the new US administration?