The Storm That Threatens Us From the North
In November I commented on my blog that the winds have changed. It’s now clear that beyond a change in wind direction, we are facing a storm of enormous proportions: the insanity surrounding Mexico increasingly dominates and clouds the horizon.
For a few weeks after the U.S. presidential election, some political analysts had hoped that Donald J. Trump would adopt a moderate and rational stance once he set up shop in the Oval Office. This has not happened.
With the world looking on in horror, in less than one week we have seen precisely the opposite. We are faced with an arbitrary, arrogant, fickle, abusive, and intolerant president. Policy experts and journalists of the world’s leading media outlets have condemned the positions that Trump has adopted on almost every issue that is of global importance.
From global warming, the fiscal deficit, international trade, or the need to work for peace in the Middle East, Trump’s simplistic outlook complicates the solution of the complex problems that concern us, because in the elemental mind of a demagogue no issue can be expressed in more than 140 characters.
For reasons beyond belief, Trump has pinpointed Mexicans on both sides of the border as the source of many of the "evils" ̶ real or imagined ̶ that plague the United States.
There is no greater fallacy. From the issue of immigration to intense trade relation, each of his attacks against Mexico collapses under its own weight. In the deep bilateral relations between the two countries there are dozens of issues in which Mexico has proved to be a formidable and reliable ally. Neither this solid bond nor Mexico's potential will end due to the whims of a White House tenant, but the damage that can be inflicted from that office will take years to repair. Today, more than ever, we must emphasize the benefits of shared prosperity.
Let’s simply consider that, since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexico has contributed to increasing the competitiveness of the entire region, creating more than ten million direct and indirect jobs in the United States. The net migration of Mexicans to the United States has been negative in the past five years, so our neighbor to the north doesn’t need a higher wall.
Unfortunately, due to pressure from Washington, Mexico is the global trench of an absurd and failed war on drugs. Many times, despite our own interests, Mexico has been a loyal partner in of the United States. Perhaps Trump is right and it's time to change the terms of our relationship ... but in favor of Mexico.
That is why I support President Enrique Peña Nieto’s decision to postpone his visit to the White House ̶ at least until its new tenant adopts a respectful stance toward Mexico. We cannot submit to his absurd request to pay for an abominable and useless wall. If this wall is financed with taxes on Mexican exports, then it will be paid by U.S. consumers, in addition to violating terms that govern our bilateral trade.
It is very important to keep in mind that Trump's simplistic outlook concerning Mexico and many other issues is not shared by most people in the United States; remember that his opponent surpassed him at the polls by three million votes. Our best allies are the majority of citizens who abhor the racism and arrogance of a president who ends his first week in office with extremely low approval ratings. We must also seek direct alliances with the community of fifty million Latinos who feel directly threatened by the new occupant of the White House.
If we are going to renegotiate the terms of this bilateral relationship, we should put all the issues on the table and do so from a position of respect and dignity, assuming the full weight that Mexico has gained in the world and within the United States. We cannot give in to blackmail; we will not be intimidated.
No one asked us if we wanted to be in this position, but Mexico has become the first line of defense of the values of freedom and dignity against a closed and arrogant view that fosters intolerance, irrationality, and protectionism.
Although we will face difficult times, we must not be afraid. Today more than ever, the world is watching us and wonders if we will resist this terrible storm. I haven’t the slightest doubt that we will ... but we must be prepared and remain united.