Trump Backs Mexico into a Corner



Letter from Mexico

At some point, Mexicans competence only confirm to spin their backs on a United States.

January 27, 2017

MEXICO CITY—On Barack Obama’s initial revisit to Mexico as boss in 2009, thousands of people casually swarmed onto Mexico City’s grand Reforma Avenue to see either they could get a demeanour during a 44th boss of a United States as he upheld by. Despite a prolonged story of dispute between a dual countries, a Mexican people were rarely assured about a destiny of binational family and believed in Obama’s summary of wish and renovation.

In contrast, after a events of this past week, it will be formidable for Donald Trump to ever set feet on Mexican soil. Mexicans are a unapproachable and cool people and do not take good to being flustered in public. Indeed, in response to a consistent insults and miss of honour entrance out of a new U.S. administration, Mexican citizen groups already have started to devise boycotts of Citibank, Walmart and other U.S. corporations. The newspapers and TV shows are full of satirical explanation about Trump’s fanatic and assertive behavior. At a convene a integrate of weeks ago, one of a protesters even burnt an American flag, something wholly rare for some-more than a century in Mexico.

Story Continued Below

Trump is apparently assured that Mexico´s diseased and rarely questioned president, Enrique Peña Nieto, will eventually cavern into his demands. As we have argued elsewhere, Peña Nieto was instrumental in creation Trump’s feat probable and generally shares a same pro-corporate worldview. Trump’s genuine Latin American double is not Hugo Chávez or Evo Morales, as some misguided commentators have suggested, though Peña Nieto.
Peña Nieto´s initial actions given Trump´s choosing have been conciliatory—some competence contend servile. At a commencement of January, he allocated Luis Videgaray, an economist with no tactful knowledge though with ties to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, as Mexico’s new secretary of unfamiliar relations. And a day before Trump´s inauguration, Peña Nieto sent over Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to a United States as a proof of his eagerness to combine with a new administration.

But Trump has underestimated a response of a Mexican people. Even before Jan. 20, Mexico was already a tinderbox. The extreme rebate of general oil prices along with a fall in a value of a Mexican peso—50 percent given Peña Nieto took energy in 2012—has led to a critical mercantile predicament along with a burst in inflation. The supervision has responded with a rarely controversial plan of squeezing consumers by new taxes on gasoline and hiking a prices on open utilities, such as electricity.

This was a straw that pennyless a camel’s back. On Jan. 1, a day a new gas and electricity prices came into effect, tens of thousands of indignant adults took to a streets via a country. Since afterwards there have been marches and protests roughly each day. Just about each city, small, middle or large, has participated in a mobilizations and a protests have fast morphed from being about gas and electricity prices to a broader set of demands.

Mexicans censure Peña Nieto’s privatizing oil reforms for a debility of Mexican oil prolongation and thereby a boost in oil prices. Corruption scandals have drawn tighten to a president’s middle circle, including former governors Humberto Moreira and Javier Duarte, fueling serve outrage. Recent polls place his approval rating during 12 percent, a lowest for any Mexican boss in complicated history. Mexicans are perfectionist a full renovate of a whole domestic system.

This is a context that explains Peña Nieto’s startling termination of subsequent Tuesday’s assembly with Trump in a White House. In other circumstances, Peña Nieto would have been peaceful to theme himself to Trump’s abuse and even try opposite options for Mexico creation a grant to a limit wall. After all, in his visit meetings with Obama, Peña Nieto never spoken a forceful word or gave any pointer of station adult to Washington. Only after Trump and his group broke him and threatened to slap tariffs on Mexican products has he shown any spirit of a backbone.

The dual leaders spoke again on Friday, and released face-saving statements on a need to “work together to stop drug cartels, drug trafficking and bootleg guns and arms sales” while similar to remonstrate on who would compensate for Trump’s wall. “Both presidents have educated their teams to continue a discourse to strengthen this critical vital and mercantile attribute in a constructive way,” a White House readout said.

But it’s other politicians, such as severe presidential carefree Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who have best voiced a feeling on a streets. López Obrador has called on Peña Nieto to rigourously move charges opposite Trump to a United Nations for tellurian rights violations and has announced a debate to a United States to erect a binational “citizen front” opposite xenophobia.

The biggest customer of Peña Nieto’s chagrin will indeed be a left—and not only in Mexico. In a midst of a Twitter sell between Peña Nieto and Trump, in that a U.S. boss wrote, “Mexico has taken advantage of a U.S. for prolonged enough. Massive trade deficits small assistance on a really diseased limit contingency change, NOW!”, Bolivian President Evo Morales reached out to a Mexican people: “I make a call to a Mexican brothers to demeanour some-more to a south; to build togetherness together on a basement of a Latin American and Caribbean identity.” As of noon on Friday, Morales’ twitter has been retweeted 10 times some-more than any other twitter in a Bolivian president’s whole timeline.

Many have remarkable that a Mexican economy relies heavily on exports to a United States Some 16 percent of U.S. exports go to Mexico, while 80 percent of Mexico’s go to a United States. So it would seem Peña Nieto has small chance though to permit to Trump’s demands.

Consider, however, that a Mexican economy is a 15th largest in a world, with an annual GDP of $1 trillion, and is a second-largest marketplace for U.S. goods. And Mexico has a means to retort for any Trump punishments. Mark Weisbrot, for instance, an economist during a D.C.-based consider tank Center for Economic and Policy Research, has proposed that Mexico simply exclude to make U.S. patents and copyrights on a soil, for instance in a area of pharmaceuticals or technology. Expensive drugs and program could immediately be supposing during bargain-basement prices—generating implausible assets for Mexicans and significantly slicing into a increase of vital U.S. corporations.

That, of course, would substantially meant withdrawal a North America Free Trade Agreement, a trade agreement that Trump has vowed to renegotiate. Even brave neoliberal supporters of NAFTA among Mexico’s domestic category have begun to argue that it wouldn’t be so bad to simply travel divided from it. Last Tuesday, Mexico’s economy apportion Ildefonso Guajardo done this hazard official, revelation a radio interviewer: “If we go for something that is reduction than what we have, well, afterwards there is no clarity in staying.”

Trump’s opinion has led to a mutation of Mexico’s middle and prolonged tenure mercantile calculations. Although a withdrawal from NAFTA would emanate short-term pain, it would also emanate a event for Mexico to finally delink itself from a extreme dependency on a U.S. economy and connect a alliances with other Latin American countries as good as with Europe and Asia. Ironically, Trump’s conflict on Mexico be only what Mexicans need to arise adult and smell a coffee.

John M. Ackerman is highbrow during a Institute for Legal Research of a National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), editor-in-chief of The Mexican Law Review and a columnist during both Proceso repository and La Jornada newspaper. Contact: Twitter: @JohnMAckerman.

More from POLITICO Magazine

Do you have an unusual story to tell? E-mail