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Peace, love… and nationalism

1 June 2019

Those who saw a comparison between the surprising election of Donald Trump to the US presidency, and AMLO usually overlooked their one point of convergence:  their supporters including not just those hungry for change, but also those hungry for a return to “traditional values”.  Where Trump’s “Make America Great Again” seems to hark back to a “golden age” of the 1950s, AMLO’s 4th Transformation looks back further (as you might expect in a country with, as he said, 10,000 years of culture)… to the 1930s and 40s, when the Revolution was consolidated, and Mexico had a small, but respectable place at the table of nations that counted as a “moral example” to others… protesting (futilely) against the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, providing refuge to Spanish Republicans, European Jews, Polish civil servants, and thousands of others.  And… above all, when nationalism and patriotism over-rode economic concerns, following the oil expropriation of 1938.

In his discourses on the issue of the day… one with economic and human rights dimensions… AMLO, like Lazaro Cardenas, turns to the Mexican people, and their sense of patriotism, in the face of an economic threat by foreign powers. My translation from “La política migratoria no variará, advierte AMLO a Washington” (Fabiola Martínez and Alma E. Muñoz, La Jornada, 1 June 2019, page 3):  emphasis mine.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that the country’s immigration policy will not be modified, and expressed confidence that the US government will rectify its intention to impose tariffs on domestic products, in retaliation for a supposed inaction by Mexico in the face of the flow of people.

The president focused on this isse yesterday; first in a press conference and then on tour in Tlaxcala. He reiterated that Mexico’s migration policy is based on respect for human rights, preventing abuse, and in defending the rights of all, without taking into account their place of origin.

He pointed out that migrants are people and above all things brothers and sisters.

In the preview of his government’s position during upcoming negotiations with Washington, López Obrador said that his government will proceed with prudence and patience to inform and convince, the United States that Mexico’s policies are correct.

He stressed: We must help insure that migrants do not enter the United States illegally, but we also have to do it while respecting human rights. No authoritarianism, they are human beings.

In this flow of people to the north, he said, there are thousands of children, many travelling alone, so his government will continue to act to protect people.

He added: My conscience is clear.

He asked the Mexicans to have confidence that this episode will be overcome and, in a message to the northern neighbors, insisted that hardening trade does not benefit any of the countries involved.

They [the United States] are going to rectify [the proposal], because the people of Mexico do not deserve a deal like the one they want to apply, he said.

For now AMLO said his government will continue the process of approving the North American trade agreement, within the commitments made with the United States and Canada. Although the process is in the hands of the Senate, as head of the Executive he is in favor of continuity in the regional treaty.

In a day devoted to discussing migration, in Apizaco, Tlaxcala, AMLO said that Mexico will become an economic power with welfare and justice where migration is optional, not mandatory. That is, whoever wants to leave will do it by choice, not necessity.

This is how he wants to presesent himself as a defender of migrants, both from our countrymen and from those who leave their homes, affected by poverty and violence, in search of a better life.

“We are all human beings, regardless of color, skin, regardless of language, of the country to which we belong, we are human beings. And universal brotherhood is above other considerations”, he said.

Lopez Obrador opined that the Trump’s threat will lead to national unity, and called on Mexicans from all sectors to be vigilant, close ranks, and face this situation together.

He added that there will be solidarity and support for his government, even from its adversaries.

He mentioned the message of solidarity received from businessman Carlos Slim and family, delivered through the Secretary of the Interior, as well as a strong support in social networks and even by demonstrators outside the National Palace.

A few hours after Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on imported products, López Obrador made it clear that he will act with prudence and good manners, without falling into provocations.
He reiterated what he had said the day before, in a letter addressed to his counterpart, that conflicts in bilateral relations should be resolved through dialogue.

“We are not going to answer out of desperation. As I say in the letter, we do not consider applying the ‘law of the jungle’, it is not tooth for tooth, eye for eye, because we would all be gumming their food and one-eyed. “

This Friday’s morning press conference was shorter than usual; Minutes after 8 A.M., the President met with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Marcelo Ebrard, to finalize stategy. Two hours later, Ebrard left the National Palace to travel to Washington.

The President indicated that it will be widely documented that Mexico has not remained passive over the issue of migration, whose origin of which, he said, is the critical situation in the countries that people are fleeing.

We already have a plan in operation on the southern border, giving migrants options to work like never before.

For now, he explained, it is up to Mexico to wait and present in 10 days reports on the results of the negotiations, while analyzing other options.

“There are legal mechanisms, which we wiill not ignore — like the World Trade Organization — but we do not want to talk about it for the time being … We do not want proceed though the legal process immediately,” he said.

It is better to act prudently, with a cool head, he concluded.

Just a reminder: I’m happy to keep this website going, and am in a position to dedicate considerable time and effort to it, but it does entail some expenses that aren’t covered by my limited income.

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