FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Trump Effect on Mexico’s Political Scene

Like no other U.S. presidential election in modern times, the stunning victory of Donald Trump is shaking up Mexico’s political scene and shaping the ground for the country’s own presidential transition in 2018.

Especially if the U.S. president-elect makes good on his promises to deport undocumented immigrants, build a bigger border wall and toss out the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), questions of the U.S.-Mexico relationship and Mexican sovereignty will likely play much bigger roles in the next presidential and congressional Mexican elections than in previous ones. Whiffs of a political shift are in the air.

The post-election plunge in the value of an already weakened peso, which hit a low of 22.50 pesos to the dollar at some money exchange houses in Ciudad Juarez the morning of November 9 before settling back towards the 20 peso rate of exchange, coupled with a downturn in the Mexican stock market, exhibited the widespread apprehension over Trump’s victory. Banco Santander analysts predicted a volatile peso until the economic plans of the new U.S. administration are known.

Senior members of the Pena Nieto administration downplayed the negative significance of the November 8 U.S. election, with officials such as Finance Secretary Jose Antonio Meade and Bank of Mexico head Agustin Carstens stressing Mexico’s macroeconomic indices.  Quickly moving to calm national nerves, President Pena Nieto reported that he and Trump had a “cordial” telephone conversation November 9 and mutually agreed on the need for a new binational agenda. A possible meeting between the two leaders could happen before Trump’s January inauguration, according to La Jornada daily.

But Trump’s triumph elicited other political reactions more suited to a national emergency- or an upcoming Mexican presidential election. Notably, Mexico’s two leading 2018 presidential hopefuls made back-to-back public statements in the hours surrounding the U.S. vote. In a Facebook message posted the evening of November 8, the left-leaning Morena party’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called on Mexicans to stay tranquil.

“There will be no bigger problems because we are going to make use of our right of sovereignty, whoever is in the presidency of the United States,” the former Mexico City mayor said. Eight hours later, in a video uploaded to social media, the conservative National Action Party’s Margarita Zavala, who had earlier expressed desire for a Hillary Clinton victory, released her own message without mentioning Trump’s name.

“This is the hour of uniting all of us to defend all we have achieved and all that we are as a country. We are a strong nation that could assume a strong position of respect before any nation of the world,” the wife of ex-president Felipe Calderon said. “Let’s not forget who we are: We are Mexico.”

Trump’s victory proved to be the occasion for another potential presidential candidate, Nuevo Leon Governor Jaime “El Bronco” Rodriguez Calderon, to blast off a trial balloon via Twitter.

Mexicans across the political spectrum voiced alarm at Trump’s triumph. Jorge Castaneda, who served as foreign minister during the administration of President Vicente Fox, termed the Republican candidate’s victory “a catastrophe for Mexico.”

Saying he doubted Trump would deport an estimated 11 million undocumented residents of the United States, Castaneda nonetheless predicted the new U.S. president would deport about two million Mexicans, a number similar to the Obama Administration’s deportation record. The U.S. election results “demand that Mexican elites lend more attention to the bilateral relationship,” Castaneda said.

“The abhorrent thing that is sick and crazy is that Mexico is at the center of the U.S. campaign and we don’t do anything.” The Mexican academic also predicted that Trump would seek to renegotiate but not scrap NAFTA, and add to the size of a border wall that in fact already exists on sections of the line between the U.S. and Mexico.

Javier Corral, the new governor of the border state of Chihuahua, said he would reach out to the Pena Nieto administration, fellow border governors and Chihuahua-born migrants, many of whom live in California, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. While deploring the U.S. election as scary, Corral said it was also time to refocus discussion on immigration, push border economic development and protect Mexican immigrants in the United States from persecution.

“The government of the Republic, the president of the Republic, should turn their eyes to see the northern border at this moment as a strategic bastion,” Corral added.

Civil society organizations also began weighing in on the Trump victory. Based in Saltillo, Coahuila, Casa del Migrante urged Mexico City to establish a “diplomatic and political counterweight” with other Latin American nations for the purpose of protecting their nationals in the United States.

Appealing for consistency in principle and practice, the migrant assistance and advocacy organization proposed a revamping of Mexican immigration policies,

“It is more important now than ever for the Mexican State to change its restrictive migration policy into one that takes up the challenge and opportunity of transforming this country back to what it once was: a Mexico disposed to protect and give entrance to all human beings that need its protection,”Casa del Migrante stated.

Sources: La Jornada, November 10, 2016. Articles by Israel Rodriguez, Rosa Elvira Vargas and editorial staff. Aristeguinoticias.com, November 9, 2016. Article by Isaias Robles. Arrobajuarez.com, November 9, 2016. Lapolaka.com, November 9, 2016. El Universal, November 8, 2016. El Diario de Juarez/El Financiero, November 8 and 9, 2016.  Proceso/Apro, November 8 and 9, 2016. Articles by Alvaro Delgado, Juan Carlos Cruz Vargas, Mathieu Tourliere, Luciano Campos Garza, and editorial staff.

More articles by:

Kent Paterson writes for Frontera NorteSur

January 16, 2019
Patrick Bond
Jim Yong Kim’s Mixed Messages to the World Bank and the World
John Grant
Joe Biden, Crime Fighter from Hell
Alvaro Huerta
Brief History Notes on Mexican Immigration to the U.S.
Kenneth Surin
A Great Speaker of the UK’s House of Commons
Elizabeth Henderson
Why Sustainable Agriculture Should Support a Green New Deal
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, Bolton and the Syrian Confusion
Jeff Mackler
Trump’s Syria Exit Tweet Provokes Washington Panic
Barbara Nimri Aziz
How Long Can Nepal Blame Others for Its Woes?
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: When Just One Man Says, “No”
Cesar Chelala
Violence Against Women: A Pandemic No Longer Hidden
Kim C. Domenico
To Make a Vineyard of the Curse: Fate, Fatalism and Freedom
Dave Lindorff
Criminalizing BDS Trashes Free Speech & Association
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: The Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party: Part Two
Edward Curtin
A Gentrified Little Town Goes to Pot
January 15, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Refugees Are in the English Channel Because of Western Interventions in the Middle East
Howard Lisnoff
The Faux Political System by the Numbers
Lawrence Davidson
Amos Oz and the Real Israel
John W. Whitehead
Beware the Emergency State
John Laforge
Loudmouths against Nuclear Lawlessness
Myles Hoenig
Labor in the Age of Trump
Jeff Cohen
Mainstream Media Bias on 2020 Democratic Race Already in High Gear
Dean Baker
Will Paying for Kidneys Reduce the Transplant Wait List?
George Ochenski
Trump’s Wall and the Montana Senate’s Theater of the Absurd
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: the Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Glenn Sacks
On the Picket Lines: Los Angeles Teachers Go On Strike for First Time in 30 Years
Jonah Raskin
Love in a Cold War Climate
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party
January 14, 2019
Kenn Orphan
The Tears of Justin Trudeau
Julia Stein
California Needs a 10-Year Green New Deal
Dean Baker
Declining Birth Rates: Is the US in Danger of Running Out of People?
Robert Fisk
The US Media has Lost One of Its Sanest Voices on Military Matters
Vijay Prashad
5.5 Million Women Build Their Wall
Nicky Reid
Lessons From Rojava
Ted Rall
Here is the Progressive Agenda
Robert Koehler
A Green Future is One Without War
Gary Leupp
The Chickens Come Home to Roost….in Northern Syria
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: “The Country Is Watching”
Sam Gordon
Who Are Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists?
Weekend Edition
January 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Richard Moser
Neoliberalism: Free Market Fundamentalism or Corporate Power?
Paul Street
Bordering on Fascism: Scholars Reflect on Dangerous Times
Joseph Majerle III – Matthew Stevenson
Who or What Brought Down Dag Hammarskjöld?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
How Tre Arrow Became America’s Most Wanted Environmental “Terrorist”
Andrew Levine
Dealbreakers: The Democrats, Trump and His Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail