-To any english reader out there:
“Poor México, so far away from god, and so close to the United States”. Mario Vargas Llosa.
I´m a Mexican who has been travelling Europe for the las two and half months, back home I try to be a digital journalist, and an activist for human rights. People here ask me my opinion on Trump and his wall (despite how offensive it can be when they ask it with a smile on their face), and my main thinking after this is that I wouldn´t have to worry about him if I knew my government and my president were true representatives of my people, which they are not (right now our president enjoys a well earned 80% of the nation´s disaproval), and If my people didn’t forget and forgive it´s government as easily and as often.
But the truth also is that we share a lot with the U.S.A (United States of America, not “America”, the latest is the continent), and not always in the good way because we as a country have been, to some extent, shaped by their wishes and interest from us: natural resources like oil and cheap handwork, like gold and metals, like fertile soil and fresh food, like good land and great weather, like marihuana and cocaine, like tequila and women.
It´s going to sound harsh, but it´s true: for those interests it´s a good logic to keep your beautiful neighbour country poor and docile so that you can enjoy it as your back yard. The “Ugly American” and the spring breakers find in México the cheap brothel and excess party time they crave, while on the hand the veterans from Vietnam have been founding sanctuary in a cheap, warm, and beautiful land to retire.
We, on the other hand have been taught to think the U.S.A as the superior military force always above, even though we stopped their invasion and successfully invaded them at one point, the loss of a great deal of territory to them was a great moral defeat, it seems, because ever since we have been more and more submissive (like the rest of the world when they dropped the atomic bombs on japan).
And we have also been taught to see the U.S.A as the promise land, the land of total freedom, equality, truth and justice where the American dream of going from zero to riches can come true for anyone. But the truth is that every year thousands of immigrants of my country find that the dream it´s actually a nightmare while they die trying to cross the border or become slaves to the neo liberal system on the other side.
So, for starters, our relationship has never been fare or just, but at least and overall, for the last fifty years or so, it was getting there, thanks to diplomacy, human rights theory, common enemies like drugs and weapons, culture assimilation in both sides, and so on. Now with Trump all that effort it´s on the brink of collapsing.
of jobs and companies lost. If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2017
Esta mañana hemos informado a la Casa Blanca que no asistiré a la reunión de trabajo programada para el próximo martes con el @POTUS.
— Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) January 26, 2017
Right now, as I write this, Trump has been a little more than a week in office as the 45th president of the U.S, and people of the world are coming to understand the nightmare he supposes. Let along the wall, other equally harsh “executive orders” were issued, like a good new tyrant: the anti-abortion (signed surrounded by men); charging on the environmentalists and re-opening of the pipelines for oil in Dakota, terrible for the environment because of the fracking; the completely awful, retrograde, unjustified, inhumane Muslim ban that’s been so dramatically developing these last days; the lethal attack on Yemen, where a U.S comando, along with at least eight local women and seven children were killed…
And it´s clear this is only the begining, just like any other fascist, Trump is blaming others for the crisis or problems at home, making enemies to gain the popular support and charging against them with abuse of power. We, México as a nation, are a major target on his agenda, because of the damage he claims we have been doing to the U.S.
Yet he and his supporters fail to see the shared responsibility there is on the major issues they claim we bring them:
The immigration crisis that the U.S. faces started because of their own aggressive and world wide spread propaganda of themselves as the image of the freedom country by excellency, superior to all and always in the right side of history. The American dream propaganda after the defeat of communism attracted people from all over the world in hopes of riches, and it´s no lie that U.S it´s, by own it´s own right and craft, a country of immigrants.
Now, not to talk about México, the thousands of people, many of which are minors, lone children, of central and south America who every year try to migrate there (yes, without counting the Mexicans), are those who were made to believe in the American dream as the opportunity to escape their harsh reality (the creation of which was in a big part responsibility of the U.S with their invasive and draining policies towards the south hemisphere) and go to die or get recruited by the police or the drugs cartels along the way, or get shot by vicious border patrolmen, or starve, or die of dehydration at the U.S border. In the best of cases they would get deported and they would try again in a couple of months.
This brings us to the drugs problem, which is also a shared problem: the boom of cocaine in the 80’s was mostly fuelled by their consumption of such drug, and so marihuana followed in the 90’s and synthetics drugs in the first 2000’s.
Of course there are various phases of this issue that are our responsibility as a country (and believe me, no one suffers the consequences more than we do), such as corruption within the government that make ours a failed democratic state and turn it in to a narco state, a reality that is connected with the drug cartels, but from my perspective it´s undeniable that it was this need to export to the U.S, the demand of this market from their people, that created the monster as it is, along with the desire of profit that comes with making drug illegal, from authority’s and politicians involved in both countries, because yeah, I hate to break it to you, but there is a lot of corruption in the great America as well.
And corruption is possible or thanks to, and also a consequence as well as the start, of economic problems. Our economy issues are very much aligned with those of the U.S as we depend on fossil fuels like them, but from the beginning we had more of that and they saw in Mexico an almost never ending source of it, and they never rested until we (our current president, with his structural reforms) opened that industry to private investment.
Their style of life depends on the cheap handwork of thousands of legal and illegal Mexican immigrants, just as much as we depend on the money they send to their families here, and this vicious relationship started when the plan for privatizing the country and sell its assets and resources to foreign interest, came true in 1994 with former President Carlos Salinas de Gortari (famous for obviously stealing the elections).
He signed for the North American Fare Treaty Agreement, NAFTA, with George Bush, and Brian Mulroney from Canada, this economical accord allowed U.S and Canadian companies to take more than what was fare from Mexico, and then make us economically dependent to them.
This infamous treaty was single handed the only responsible for the eradication of our home farmers of corn industry, we used to produce practically the totality of our own food before that, and not just that, basically all of our industries (metal, furniture, glass, communications, transports, clothing, etc) died with this, before this treaty we were capable of producing everything and anything the nation required, we were a self-sufficient autonomous nation, and the NAFTA meant a foreign invasion that destroyed that, leaving us crippled and dependant to our neighbours, and so inflation and devaluation has just been rising nonstop ever since.
The NAFTA brought misery to the Mexican rural and indigenous sector, introducing coca cola as something easier than sanitation to get is a strong and symbolic example. The Canadian miners and term electric plants have ravaged the soil and earth as well as dried us of our metals and disturbed our communities, leaving but a very small percentage of the incomes, the deals for highways with international companies again destroy productive land of the poor, and all the hotels multi complex for the luxury and enjoyment of tourists (a great deal of those are U.S citizens) projects destroy entire eco systems and leave people without home and money, enslaving the local population to the needs and times of the tourists season.
If one can realise the complexity of the issues this NAFTA brought upon us, it´s not exaggerated to say that it made possible the soft soil and the seed of corruption for drug cartels to arose ever more strong and powerful than ever. This violent reality allowed for war to fall upon us: with the help of the U.S (initiative Merida as they call it), the Mexican government waged the “war against crime”, with infamous ex president Felipe Calderon, a very profitable feature that left more than a couple of hundred thousand dead in his period of six years, and thousand more of disappeared people, all Mexicans, in our land, as well as leaving us as the worst country for freedom of press, according to ONG´s as Amnesty International adn Article 19.
And right then, at what it seemed our worst, the PRI returned after a short 12 years break form presidency, and showed us new levels of tyranny and decay. In the past four years, my nation has had to put with the infamous and rather antipathic imposed-by-the-media-president Enrique Peña Nieto (not to mention his spending money family: a soap opera star set up to marry him, and a handful of kids who behave as if they were royalty above all the people).
In such time we have seen him make a fool of himself -and of us by extension- over and over, but most importantly, we have seen him tear apart the country structure and peoples human rights -the perfect example of this is the Ayotzinapa forced dissapereance (this meaning, taken by the goverment) of 43 students, a global scandal that has not yet come to a clarification, or brought to justice as it should have-, by changing the constitution for the addition of structural changes that brings us closer to the neo liberal paradise, and abusing of the military, and police forces to accomplish this and confront any popular opposition (because of course, congress means no representation whatsoever for us), while he lets friends and party members and allies go rich trough corruption and narco state ways.
The famous writer Mario Vargas Llosa said once that with the PRI Mexico endures “the perfect dictatorship”, referring to the 75 years in power of the party, and it´s alliance with the most influential national network of communications “Televisa”, and other powers that be such as the drug cartels. Together they have been uncovering the truth, turning away the Mexicans attention with trash content, educating the people towards mediocrity, and corrupting every institution that we have.
So it was no surprise to see Peña Nieto inviting Trump to the presidential house, Los Pinos, and treating him like the elected president when he was still campaigning, this resulted a major boost to Trump when he was going trough a bump in the pulls, because party members were afraid that other nation leaders would not take him seriously or with respect, and our president, despite all of Trump´s previous offenses against mexicans, did just that, traeat him like his similar, and not even stating against the wall while he was in Mexican soil. I have had to watch all of this deblacle, along with mexican nearly nation wide protest because of the rise on the gas prices, while not on my country with awe, frustration, and sadness, even had to endure a couple of racist episodes against my person.
Even though I am, and will be for a while, in Europe, it´s obvious that this continent is not far away from the clutches of this Trump troglodyte, and just Mexico, Europe has its own ghost´s roaming around, its own problems of violence, drugs, insecurity, racism, populism and right wing parties uprising again, fear and terror, and, most worrying, many countries would like for their borders to close permanently to the refugees escaping from the fires of war ( a war that the U.S government, pushed by the bankers, have been endorsing for a while by the way) …in overall I feel that the dream of the European union is in danger, or maybe the truth about Europe cannot be covered anymore…whatever the case, all those situations, all that suffering, are not mine to judge from a more “advantage” point, asking Europeans how they feel about communism, or the threat of Russia, or Brexit, or just their own misery as they try to recover from all those wars and violent episodes with a smile on my face, because I share their pain, because we are all on the same boat called earth, it´s all connected and everything is going to affect everyone.
Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW. Look what is happening all over Europe and, indeed, the world – a horrible mess!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2017
So, my opinion about Trump and the Wall? As a Mexican I am in anger, I am hurt, I am in fear, but I have dignity, I know our history, and I can tell you: We will not have it, we will fight this insanity. My plead to the world is to stand up to this, this is not a reality show anymore, this is our future being shaped right here and now, and we are all protagonist somehow, we need the leaders of your nations to stand up to this bully for everyone sake, we in México will thank you for it and we will keep on working to resolve our own issues, and to be the warm friendly nation we have always tried to be for world.
So, If you read this, thank you, whoever you are, wherever you live and whatever your nationality is. The next time you find a Mexican, please be so kind as to ask him -instead of his opinion about Trump-: “What are WE going to do about Trump”? And start a conversation that matters, that flows with empathy, and that saws the seeds of something greater.