Former Mexican President Felipe Calderón is well on his way to a new career, this time in the United States, but there are many who wish he were not.
This month, Calderón begins a one year fellowship at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. While there, he will deliver student lectures as well as write case studies on government and public policy. However, protestors are targeting Calderón and the university, demanding that the appointment be rescinded and that the former politician return to Mexico.
Calderon’s critics argue that he was at best ineffectual in saving the lives of thousands of Mexican nationals murdered during the country’s ongoing drug war. At worst, they argue that the President’s actions actually directly precipitated these deaths. In addition, it has been argued that Calderón largely ignored the plight of the families of those who have been disappeared in the country.
Harvard has thus far defended Calderón’s appointment, arguing that regardless of what one thinks of his policies, having the former Mexican president installed at the school will give students and faculty a unique opportunity to engage with a major world leader and discuss important issues of public policy. Others within the university have gone even further, actually praising Calderón and his contributions to Mexico.
Harvard’s response has thus far not been able to quell the voices of the protestors who are unlikely to retreat until Calderón is off Harvard’s campus and back in his home country.
Former Border Patrol agent and immigrant rights activist John Randolph recently started a petition at Change.org calling for Calderón’s ouster from Harvard. Today that petition has over 30,000 signatures. “Don't be fooled by the special interest propagandists who tout that the majority of the plus-or-minus 100,000 people killed in the Mexican drug war were mostly ‘bad guys killing bad guys,’” said Randolph. “It will never be known how many innocent deaths were caused by Calderon's own corrupt Military. Put another way, this rhetoric is simply an attempt by the Harvard decision makers and their allies to ease their own consciences and justify Calderon’s disgraceful fellowship.
“Please listen to the outcries of not only concerned U.S. Citizens but the many
concerned Citizens of Mexico too,” Randolph added. “With our signatures we will speak for those who can’t. May their…souls rest in peace as this shame haunts Harvard and Calderón”
To sign the petition on Change.org and indicate your support for the campaign to have Calderón removed from the Harvard faculty, visit here. In doing so, you will be standing out against what Randolph calls “a symbol of corruption and blood.”