From the moment Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency, México has been his frequent target of hate. From labelling Mexicans as “rapists” or inventing numerous security dangers coming from México, Trump has demonized Mexicans and México alike. Throughout all the attacks, México and its government has remained relatively quiet. That ended last week.
Donald Trump has used México as a piñata to rile up his base. México has been a convenient scapegoat for years for both sides of the political isles of the United States. From job stealing immigrants for the Democratic Party base made up of unions to drug trafficking and even the threat radical Islamic terrorists transiting through México for the Republicans, Mexicans serve the purpose of distracting the underlining issues that are the cause of strife in the country.
Because of many historical events that makes up the Mexican psyche, México and the people of México allow the U.S. narrative about México to be led by anti-Mexican special interests. Some of the silence from México derives from the internal Mexican defeatism brought on by the loss of national territory to its northern neighbor to divisive internal politics. Although nationalism is amply displayed by Mexicans, it is nothing more than individual responses to many years of the Mexican piñata created in the U.S.
Internal politics also play a significant part in Mexico’s foreign policy. When Trump began his attacks upon NAFTA, the Mexican bureaucracy believed diplomacy would eventually prevail. For the most part, other than to cancel meetings with Trump, the Enrique Peña Nieto administration has attempted to create dialog channels with Trump. After his first meeting with Trump, before the election, Peña Nieto realized that Mexican public perception would not allow him to meet with Trump if the payment of The Wall remained a Trump topic to rile up his base, regardless of whether The Wall would ever be built.
Now that México is close to its June national elections, it is further hamstrung by internal politics to fully engage the Trump administration.
However, Trump’s attacks upon the migrant caravan and the mobilization of small National Guard units towards the U.S.-México border forced Enrique Peña Nieto to respond. It came down to nationalism and the reality that from this point on, it is too late to fully engage the Trump administration.
The NAFTA negotiations are too far along to make any substantial changes and are unlikely to be concluded before the June elections in México. Soon after, the United States will embark upon its own mid-elections. Even if Trump were to officially withdraw from NAFTA – unlikely – there is a mechanism in place that keeps the system in place for many months. Congress would also be involved in withdrawing making it difficult to complete it this year.
The Enrique Peña Nieto understands this and along with the national elections consuming the attention of the Mexican political circles, gave the Mexican administration the opportunity to make the point that Mexicans are united in defending themselves against continued attacks by Donald Trump.
Enrique Peña Nieto articulated that México and its People are united in repudiating Donald Trump and his hate for México.