EspañolMéxico’s two most hated political figures gathered at the presidential residence of Los Pinos last Wednesday: US Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
I must confess that, at first, I did not think it was a bad idea. Whether we like or not, Trump is a candidate for the presidency of the most powerful country in the world, which also happens to be our neighbor and largest trading partner.
Engaging in a serious dialogue, then, seemed like a decent idea — to discuss the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or the deportation of millions of immigrants. Moreover, it seemed necessary for Peña Nieto to clarify to Trump that Mexicans are neither criminals nor rapists, but hard-working people.
Unlike Trump, I have no problem admitting that I was wrong. Hosting Trump was not a good idea.
My hope for peace and political freedom made me forget that his political campaign began with a clearly racist, hate-filled message against Latinos, specifically Mexicans.
During the meeting, we saw Trump pose as an accomplished statesman, an allegedly great negotiator. We ended up feeling like he came to Mexican territory only to tell us to our faces what he has been saying incessantly throughout his whole campaign: “the wall is happening.”
The cherry on this demagoguery of a cake came a couple of hours later, when Trump not only ensured that the wall is going to be built between both nations, but also that Mexico would pay for it, though we “still did not know it.”
Peña Nieto also seemed to forget who he was dealing with. Though some of us initially thought it was not such a bad idea, there is no way to justify how, with full support from diplomats, public officials and advisers, the government was not able to comprehend the situation and realize this was not going to end well.
President Nieto’s management of the media and his image have always been extremely poor. He frequently flubs his speeches. Last week, he had the opportunity to ask Trump to reconsider his statements, which would have sent a strong message that he was going to defend his constituency. Instead, he played host to what now seems like our biggest archenemy.
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Politicians on the other side of the aisle, and even former presidents, took the opportunity to speak out against Nieto, criticizing the current administration and asserting that Trump should never be welcome again.
Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, declined a similar invitation, claiming she is completely focused on domestic policy matters. But Clinton strongly criticized Trump’s visit to Mexico, saying that he failed his first international test.
Let’s not forget, however, that Obama’s administration — including Hillary Clinton — has deported more immigrants than any other president in United States history (though it should be noted he scaled back on deportation later on in his term).
Clinton, also, has said she does not believe in free markets between the two countries; she believes in economic protectionism instead, and the need for establishing tariffs to prevent Mexican producers from developing their businesses in the U.S.
“Hillary Trump” is yet another mistake in Enrique Peña Nieto’s speech and his most recent “fail.” But it’s actually a rather useful term. Whoever wins the US presidency is going to cause problems for the future of Mexico.