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Off the wall…

27 February 2017

matias-romeroMexico’s great 19th century diplomat, Matias Romero (who, as a 20-somethng, had won the support of the Lincoln Administration for the Juarez government through the simple expedient of accompaning shopaholic Mary Lincoln through Washington department stores, and kept a well-stocked bar for his good friend, Ulysses S. Grant) was never able to convince the United States that the river dividing Texas and Mexico had changed course after 1848, and that the hastily arranged Mesilla Treaty (Gadsden Purchase) of 1855 was never properly surveyed, leading to some doubt as where the border actually was. Lincoln, Grant, and Juarez all had more pressing issues than some minor border disputes, and never got around to resolving where exactly the border was in what was then a barely inhabited, and poorly surveyed, region. Perhaps Romero should have plied President McKinley with tequila and we wouldn’t have this problem now.

A small part of Mexican territory was retuned by the Lyndon Johnson Administration, only after international court rulings had definitely ruled that El Chamizal… by then a community within Juarez, was Mexican territory, but it was more a good will gesture, mainly for saving the world from a nuclear holocaust. Mexican President Adolfo López Mateos and the then Ambassador to Cuba — Gilberto Bosques Saldivar (following up on saving a mere 400,000 people from the Nazis) — did as much behind the scenes during the Cuban Missile Crisis by working with the Cubans, as any US and Soviet negotiators did working with each other.  A small price for the US to pay and one that regularized the status of the residents of that small community.

LBJ, for the most part, was a friend to Mexico. The sitting US President… that’s a very different story. There’s obviously no point in Mexican diplomats working with his administration, and … even if a few kilometers (welll, possibly as much as 250 miles) of the border is misplaced, let’s not make it any easier for the U.S. to build a wall. Former Chihuahua governor Patricio Martinez sees an excellent way to screw with the plans.

My translation from “México debe exigir a EU la devolución de 400 km, plantea senador del PRI” (Andrea Becerril, Jornada, 26 February 2017)

At the current juncture, with Donald Trump’s multiple aggressions towards Mexico and his i insistence on building a wall, “it is time for the federal government to demand that the United States comply with the treaties of Guadalupe Hidalgo and La Mesilla, which establish the boundaries between both countries, including the more than 400 kilometers misplaced on the existing border”.

rgv-map-largeThat means, as PRI Senator Patricio Martinez stressed, territorial extentions by the United States, which Porfirio Diaz, though then Ambassador to the United States, Matias Romero, claimed in 1890.

Diaz was unsuccessful, but Mexico should send a new diplomatic note to Washington to rectify the border limits,as defined in the two 19th century treaties. If Trump refuses, Mexico should seek the intervention of the International Court of Justice, in The Hague.

Senator Martinez emphasized that Mexico had already gone before that court setting a precedent when it recalimed El Chamizal from the United States, and forced the neighbor to the north to return territory on the north bank of the Rio Bravo del Norte/Rio Grand River, after channel diversion.

Martinez, the former governor of Chihuahua , asked the new Mexican ambassador to the United States, Gerónimo Gutiérrez during his Senate confirmation hearing, to deal with this issue, and in a subsequent interview, vowed he will continue to press for rectification of the frontier.

He deplored that the Senate has been sluggish in taking action on this matter, after he proposed a joint congressional commision to examine the boundry between Mexico and the United States.

“Since nothing was done in a matter of paramount importance given the crisis in our relationship with the United States, I decided to have the necessary topographical and technical studies done, hired highly qualified international personnel with the most modern equipment and expertise.”

His intention, he said, is to document what has been known since the time of Díaz, that the treaties of Guadalupe Hidalgo and La Mesilla, which set the border between the two countries are not applied, and there are differences and errors in favor of the United States which must be corrected.

Faced with Trump’s decision to build that wall that offends us all, the position of the Mexican government must be firm and demand that the border be revised. If any portion of the proposed wall, or the existing wall is within Mexican territory, it will have to be moved.

donald-trump-wallThe treaties, he remarked, as they were written must be religiously followed, and the Mexican government must make this clear to both the United States and to international tribunals.

It can not be overlooked, he said, that we are a harassed, aggrieved, offended nation with millions of citizens who have the right to live, to work in the United States, and to those who have systematically violated their human rights.

One possible devious idea I had, is let Trump build his stupid wall, and run highways right to the sections that are in Mexican territory, and knock down the wall.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 27 February 2017 10:51 am

    It seem that the Mexican government is not doing its citizenry or itself any favors by continuing to act as if Mexicans somehow have the right to cross into the USA, regardless of visa status, any time they like. Right? They are only continuing to encourage disrespect for the law, and they also weaken any claim that illegals from south of Mexico don’t have the right to cross into Mexico. Heck, they even require gringos to get visas before traveling in Mexico. If they didn’t believe in such things, why do they do them themselves?

    Your article also fails to take into account that Mexico, for better or worse, has a fairly weak negotiating position. It sits next to the world’s richest superpower, a country which has had its way with much stronger opponents. Does Mexico really think that the USA is going to cede an inch of territory? Does Mexico really think that destruction of a border wall won’t be met with rather serious consequences?

    Maybe Mexico should stop fulminating and start working on some practical solutions.

    By the way, I hate to break it to them, but there’s already a wall along much of the border. Why don’t they knock down a bit of that, just to see what happens?


    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where we wonder why Mexico doesn’t build a wall on its southern border and ask the USA to help pay for it.

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