Donald Trump’s surprise decision to visit Mexico, the country he wants to seal off from the US with a security wall, has not been warmly received south of the border.
Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, who has previously compared the Republican presidential nominee to Hitler and Mussolini, tried to strike a more emollient tone, tweeting: I believe in dialogue to promote the interests of Mexico in the world and to protect Mexicans wherever they are.
Many of his countrymen, especially among the intellectual elite, were rather blunter as they anticipated the arrival of a man who has accused Mexico of bringing their worst people to America, including criminals and rapists.
@realDonaldTrump you are not welcome in Mexico, tweeted Miguel Barbosa, of the opposition party of the Democratic Revolution. Get out! You’re coming to get your picture taken with the very people you’ve offended.
Barbosa also attacked Peña Nieto, saying his invitation to Trump was not worthy of the Mexican government.
The former president Vicente Fox, who has frequently criticised Trump for his conduct towards Mexicans, was equally direct. There’s no turning back, Trump, your insults to Mexicans, Muslims and others have dropped you into the hole where you find yourself today. Goodbye, Trump!
He added, Trump should quit out of dignity for yourself, get back to your ‘business’.
Mexico’s former first lady Margarita Zavala, herself a potential presidential candidate, was equally frank : Even though you may have been invited, we want you to know you’re not welcome. We Mexicans have dignity, and we reject your hate speech.
Enrique Krauze, a historian, called on Trump to show he was sorry for his words and ideas. Apologise @realDonaldTrump for calling us rapists and killers, guarantee that you won’t build the wall or deport 11 million Mexicans, he wrote. Tyrants are to be confronted, not pacified, Krauze told the Televisa TV network.
Pascal Beltrán del Río, a journalist, invited Peña Nieto to stand up to Trump and make his country’s grievances plain. I’d like [him] to tell Trump to his face that Mexicans don’t deserve the things he’s said about us and that we won’t pay for the damn wall.
Others felt Peña Nieto had committed a grave error by inviting Trump and thereby bolstering the legitimacy and credibility of his campaign. This rendezvous with Trump arrives as the Mexican president suffers unprecedentedly low popularity: just 23% of the population approves of his job performance, according to the newspaper Reforma.
Trump is desperate to appear as presidential and able to deal with world leaders, said Rodolfo Soriano-Nuñez, a Mexico City sociologist. Why would you want to boost him?
The president is accused of trying to distract from domestic problems – corruption scandals and an exposé showing he plagiarised parts of his law-school thesis – by attending to Trump. Others said Peña Nieto inadvertently risked lending legitimacy to Trump as the Republican candidate revives his campaign.
So this is the brilliant strategy that the Mexican government has devised for dealing with Trump? asked Tatiana Basáñez, a social psychologist.
What Peña Nieto might achieve is still uncertain. Telling off Trump might score him some short-term political points, pundits say – though the president tends to talk off-scripted statements and in a stiff prose, heavy on protocol, which doesn’t lend itself to strong comments or verbal jousting.
[He’s] become a propaganda tool for the country’s worst enemy, wrote Jesús Silva Herzog, a political analyst, adding: No. This isn’t a calculated risk. It’s monumental stupidity. There’s no way this will work out well.
They wanted to invite Hillary (Clinton), but that meant inviting both of them and nobody thought Trump would accept first, said Mexico City-based security analyst Alejandro Hope. What’s in it for Mexico? Here there’s nothing to gain. The upside is all for Trump.
Historically, the golden rule of Mexico’s foreign policy has been to avoid being seen as taking sides in US politics; hence the two invitations, even though Mexico favours Clinton’s position on a path to citizenship for migrants.
Peña Nieto acknowledged he had invited both candidates, and said he did it because: I believe in dialogue to promote Mexico’s interests and above all to protect Mexicans everywhere.
Mexicans have already made — and beaten to pulp — piñatas of Trump in response to his constant derogatory comments. They created a video game in which players can throw soccer balls, cactus leaves and tequila bottles at a cartoon image of Trump.
But his rhetoric especially spooks the political and business classes, which have pursued closer ties with the United States over the past 25 years and bet heavily on The North America Free Trade Agreement – an agreement Trump wants to renegotiate or rip up altogether – only to experience a rise in nativism and an anti-Mexican backlash.
Some in Mexico’s working classes, meanwhile, seemed less preoccupied with a Trump visit.
He’s welcome with open arms, said Efrain Rodríguez, a hotel employee in the south-eastern city of Villahermosa. Everyone has their culture, their beliefs. We need to learn more about it.
Trump is expected to meet Peña Nieto at some point in the middle of the day before travelling to Phoenix, Arizona, to deliver an address on immigration.
News Source TheGuardianNews