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Trump’s Mexicans? Business interests meet with Trump advisers.

14 December 2016

Carlos Mota, who I guess you would call the “business gossip columnist” for El Financiero caught wind of a rather interesting meeting that seems to have been purposely kept out of the media spotlight, but leaves some intriguing (and troubling) clues as to the future of U.S.-Mexican relations.

My translation:

Last Wednesday (7 December), three of United States President-elect Donald Trump’s closest advisers arrived in Mexico City. Their mission was a private meeting with this country’s most prominent business executives, to establish cose relations with the business community, and lay the foundation for close relationships between the two parties. I can not reveal the names of the Mexican businessmen gathered here, nor of Trump’s advisers; but I can say that the meeting involved those at the highest level, those from the U.S. people who have Trump’s ear.

As far as I know, no member of the Mexican government was so careless as to shake hands with the Trumpista party. There was no official meeting.

But with the Mexican entrepreneurs who attended the meeting, there was surprising level of complete identification between the parties. A meeting that was supposed to last an hour and a half stretched out to six hours of informal discussions that veered close to fellowship and even friendship between the parties.

At the meeting, Trump’s team would have revealed that the president-elect’s intention is to increase the flow of trade with Mexico, something that apparently calmed the Mexicans and and even hopeful about future business relations with the United States to a degree that the conclusion was that they are better off with the Republican than they would have been with the Democrat candidate. Also, the most prominent of the Mexican entrepreneurs calculated that if Trump’s promise to create 25 million jobs in the United States over the next decade held true, millions of these jobs would have to be done by Mexicans. I understand that there was applause for this.

Trump’s team revealed interesting facts about their new boss: he is extremely impestuous, and has no self-control when he uses Twitter. This is not a serious flaw, according to the U.S. team, saying such reactions were likely to be curbed soon. They added that there are three Donald Trumps: the candidate, the president-elect, and the constitutional president. And they had a request: they asked the Mexican businessman to provide in the following days a list of some well-to-do US businessmen who have shown closeness to the Mexican business leadership. The purpose? Select an ambassador.

Things were not there. Amid the fellowship and geniality expressed over Mexican and Lebanese cuisine was any invitation to the Mexican side to visit Florida in January, for a stay at the impressive Trump-owned tourist resort in that state.

One could speculate on who was at the meeting (though mentioning Lebanese cuisine suggests the Harp-Slim clan was represented) but it matters less than the observation that the business elites don’t feel in the least threatened by Trump’s anti-Mexican rhetoric, or by Trump himself.  One assumes that the Mexican moguls were those with significant investments in U.S. business, and who understand that Trump’s populism and nationalism is as thin as his skin when it comes to Twitter… if money is to be made, a Trump presidency is not about to rock the boat.  That is, money for the elites.

The “calculation” by one Mexican attendee, that jobs in the United States (of what kind… Obama created millions of new jobs, but at lower wages, too) looks like an attempt to create a talking point for selling Trump to Mexicans.  We’ll get the “sloppy seconds” of the jobs.

And, most intriguing is the suggestion that the Mexican business elites are proposing the next U.S. ambassador.  I had some strong reservations about Obama’s appointees … Carlos Pascaul and Anthony Wayne both coming from war-zone diplomacy which more than sent the signal that Mexico’s relationship with the United States was dominated by the “drug war”… but even more reservations about a return to the “dollar diplomacy” era.  For the Trumpistas, Mexico is just an investment source, not a country.  And, while it should be flattering that for once the United States is asking what kind of ambassador Mexicans will accept, the sense that the decisions are being made for us not by our elected representatives or our government, but by those whose financial interests lie in the United States does not bode well.

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