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 Home > News & Policies > May 2002

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 4, 2002

Radio Address by the President to the Nation

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Sunday is Cinco de Mayo, a day that commemorates the Mexican people's great victory at the Battle of Puebla, a battle for freedom fought against overwhelming odds. That victory continues to inspire liberty-loving people across the globe. It reminds us that the cost of freedom is always high, but it is never too high. Brave and determined people, committed to a great cause, can do great good. That was true 140 years ago, and it remains true today.

Just before September the 11th, I welcomed my good friend, President Vicente Fox, to the White House as the guest of honor at my first state dinner. When he arrived I said this: The United States has no more important relationship in the world than the one we have with Mexico. In the past eight months, our relationship has grown even stronger. The people of Mexico stand with the American people in the war on terror. This is a decisive decade in the history of liberty -- and the United States is grateful we can count on Mexico's strong support.

President George W. Bush and Laura Bush listen to Pedro Fernandez perform during a reception honoring Cinco de Mayo in the East Room Friday, May 3. "The victory we commemorate today is a source of tremendous pride to the people of Mexico, and a source of inspiration to the people of America," said the President in his remarks of the celebration that marks Mexico's victory over French occupying forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. White House photo by Susan Sterner. America's relationship with Mexico is built on common values and shared culture. We both value families and communities -- the places where character is formed and traditions are passed from one generation to the next. Americans appreciate the strong faith of the Mexican people -- a faith that provides hope and inspiration and unity even in the darkest times.

People on both sides of the Rio Grande value independence and freedom, and opportunity -- the ability to work hard to achieve your dreams and become successful as a result. By their strong values and their determination to create a better life for themselves and their children, immigrants from Mexico enrich American life.

My close relationship with President Fox reflects the close relationship between our nations. It is built on the solid ground of respect and trust and friendship. President Fox is a great Mexican patriot, a man of honest talk and convictions, who is passionately concerned for his people's welfare. We are both deeply committed to helping the entire American familia achieve prosperity and live in peace.

Mexico and America share a continent, and we are dedicated to common goals. We are working together to create a "smart border" -- one that will speed the safe flow of people and commerce, but protect our two nations from terrorism and crime. We are working together on a Partnership for Prosperity, to better focus the creativity and resources of the private sector on the critical task of development. We are working together to address the important and challenging immigration issues between our countries. And I've asked our Congress to pass an extension of Section 245(i) of our immigration law to let families stay together while they become permanent residents. We're working together to improve conditions for people living along the border. And we're working together to create an entire hemisphere that lives in liberty and trades in freedom.

Our two nations will succeed together because our futures are bound to each other. Geography made us neighbors, but our shared values and rich cultures have made us the closest of friends.

May God bless the people of Mexico, and may God bless the United States of America.

Thank you for listening.