The political impact of cross-border activism - indeed, of binational issues in general - is exemplified by today's meeting of President Ernesto Zedillo and new California Gov. Gray Davis in Mexico City - the first between a California governor and Mexican president since 1992.
Mr. Davis, a Democrat, emphasized in his election campaign a desire for better relations with Mexico. Thus he highlighted the troubled relations that former Gov. Pete Wilson, a Republican, had with Mexico and sectors of California's important Hispanic vote over his support for what were perceived as "anti-immigrant" measures.
Davis's quick attention to Mexico is winning points south of the border, where California exports about $12 billion in goods annually. But environmentalists and political leaders say Davis's position on the proposed Ward Valley toxic-waste dump in California will be a central factor in setting the tone of Mexico-California relations.
"This is going to be a quick and symbolic test of Governor Davis for Mexico," says Carlos Camacho, a federal congressman from Chihuahua State. On Friday, legislators from Mexico's five border states passed a resolution calling on Davis to block the Ward Valley project.