SAN CRISTOBAL, Mexico — Eighteen months after leaving office, former President Vicente Fox is taking a page from Jimmy Carter's playbook and engineering his legacy as a champion of democratic values and government transparency at home and abroad.
In a wide-ranging interview at his ranch near historic Guanajuato, Fox discussed his new projects and chided the United States for abdicating its role as global leader, questioned presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's position on free trade and dismissed Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez as ``a loudmouth.''
The United States no longer initiates ambitious projects such as the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe after World War II or former President John Kennedy's Alliance for Progress, which spurred economic cooperation in the hemisphere, said Fox, a strong U.S. supporter.
''We don't see this happening anymore,'' Fox told The Miami Herald. "We see walls being built. What is the U.S. afraid of?''
Through his work at his new center, Centro Fox, the man who ousted the party that had ruled Mexico for 72 years plans to push global and personal leadership, democracy, free markets and immigration. Centro Fox, a sprawling complex partially inspired by the Carter Center, will offer educational programs on democracy and government. It will also include art galleries and an interactive library containing the records of his administration.
''We are putting together a network so that through educational programs, masters, seminars and workshops, we help people to discover their leadership. We are all leaders. We just need to know ourselves and exercise that leadership within,'' Fox said.
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