Monday, June 03, 2019

The other side of the Mexico tariff story

While Donald Trump ricochets about announcing crazy "national security" tariffs on imports from Mexico, another politician who has seldom been at a loss for words has something to say. AMLO (Andrés Manuel López Obrador), Mexico's wildly popular president, has chimed in. I haven't seen this reported much in U.S. but he has a distinctive message to the bully north of the border.

I’ve learned about your latest position regarding Mexico. First of all, I want to express that I do not want a confrontation. When facing a conflict in our relationship, no matter how serious, the cities and nations we represent deserve that we turn to dialogue and act with caution and responsibility.

Mexico’s best president, Benito Juárez, maintained an excellent relationship with his Republican counterpart, Abraham Lincoln. Later on, during the oil expropriation (when Mexico kicked out foreign oil companies), Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt understood the profound reasons that led patriot President Lázaro Cárdenas to act in favor of our sovereignty. Indeed, President Roosevelt was a titan of liberty. Before anyone else, he proclaimed the four fundamental human rights: the right to speak freely, to practice religion freely, to live free of fear, and to live free of misery.

That’s the thinking behind our politics when it comes to the migration issue. Human beings don’t abandon their hometowns because they want to, but because they need to. That’s why, when I first took office, I proposed to partner in helping develop Central American countries by making productive investments that will create jobs and address the root cause of this terrible issue.

You must also know that we are complying with our responsibility to prevent, to the extent possible and without violating human rights, passage through our country. It’s worth reminding you that, before long, Mexicans will no longer need to go to the United States, and that migration will be optional, not forced. That’s because we are fighting corruption, Mexico’s main problem, like never before! And that’s how our country will become a great power with a social dimension. Our fellow citizens will be able to work and be happy where they were born, where their families, traditions and cultures are.

President Trump: You can’t solve social problems with taxes or coercive measures. How does one transform, overnight, the country of fellowship with immigrants from around the world into a ghetto, a closed-off space that stigmatizes, mistreats, chases, expels and cancels legal rights to those who are seeking —with effort and hard work— to live free of misery? The Statue of Liberty isn’t an empty symbol.

With all due respect, while you have the sovereign right to say it, the slogan “America First” is a fallacy, because until the end of times, and above national borders, universal justice and brotherhood will prevail.

More specifically, my fellow president: I propose that we deepen our dialogue to find alternative solutions to the root cause of the migration problem, and please, remember that I don’t lack courage, that I am not a coward or timid, but that I act based on principles: I believe that politics, among other things, was invented to avoid confrontation and war. I do not believe in the Talion Law, in a “tooth for a tooth” or an “eye for an eye,” because, if we go there, we’d all end up toothless and blind in one eye. I believe that people of the state, and even more so, as people of the nation, we are obligated to find peaceful solutions to our disputes and to always practice the beautiful ideal of non-violence.

Lastly, I propose that you instruct your staff, if it’s not an inconvenience, to meet with representatives of our government, led by Mexico’s secretary of foreign relations, who are heading to Washington tomorrow so we can find a solution that benefits both our nations.
Nothing by force, everything with reason and by the Law!

Your friend,
Andrés Manuel López Obrador
President of Mexico

Translation via Vox

My emphasis. Apparently the Mexican president is warning that he doesn't roll over for bullies.

The vast majority of migrants coming across our southwestern border in hope of asylum come from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala these days. Only three percent are from Mexico. No wonder AMLO understands that the U.S. and Mexico need to be in this together.

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