Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Writ on the Wall : Sharing a Continent

"This election reminded us of the bad image Mexico has in the U.S. It has also served as a mirror in which we have painfully seen our reflection."
"We will not have to wait for the presidential baton to be passed to feel the devastating effects, not only in economic terms but also the existential crisis it will cause."
Jorge Castaneda, former Mexican foreign minister

"This moment forces the world, including Mexico, to rethink its relationship with the United States."
"This moment, which really is the end of an era, the end of the U.S. hegemony, is also the beginning of a new chapter for us in Mexico."
Martinez Velazquez, co-founder, Horizontal, cultural/political online magazine, Mexico City 

"Mexico and the USA are friends, partners and allies, who must continue collaborating for the competitiveness and development of North America."
"I trust that Mexico and the United States will continue to strengthen their bonds of cooperation and mutual respect."
Mexican President Enrique Pene Nieto

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto delivers a message after U.S. Republican candidate Donald Trump won an unexpected victory in the presidential election, at Los Pinos presidential residence in Mexico City, Mexico, November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Mexicans have been living in dread of a nightmare scenario being blasted at them over the airwaves, social media and the printed media for months through the bombastic aggressive statements emanating from the spontaneous mind and mouth of the Republican presidential contender with his calumnies against the Mexican character and the relatively impoverished nation ridden with drug violence, serving the appetites of American users, spoken of with contempt for undercutting the wages of American workers through cheap production.

They had good reason to hope against hope that the worst-case scenario would not occur, that the threats that burst now and again from the mouth of Donald J. Trump, candidate extraordinaire, would fizzle as the Democrats transferred the presidency from Obama to Clinton, in cue with all the pundits and prognosticators, the respected polling agencies and the dependable news media. Trouble is, that isn't what happened, and now the world, including Mexico, is awaiting the transfer of power.

And all that it will entail, given the many shocking pronouncements that emanated from the overheated mind that produced them which coincidentally had few facts to back up the contentions made, much less an understanding of the mechanisms that he threatened to dissolve. From membership in NATO, to tearing up the NAFTA agreement between Canada, Mexico and the United States, to deporting millions of undocumented Mexican migrants from the United States.

Donald Trump will enter the White House distinguished by the fact that he represents a dread figure, one whose volatile temperament, ignorance of facts other than those he invents, derision of others, mean-spirited nastiness and penchant for cheating government out of taxes owing, coasting on the struggles of others to provide the wherewithal to financially fuel social programs he takes advantage of, makes him a pariah of the first order. A pariah, nonetheless, who won the American presidential election.

And whose win is fuelling fear and trepidation across the political spectrum and across the globe, let alone in his own country, with countless vigorously heated protesters taking to the streets to deny that this man could possibly represent the most powerful figure of authority in the world, much less their president. His predecessor changed America by removing it from its traditional spheres of influence and power, and President Obama's successor plans to transform America into its pre-war isolationism of America First and Only.

Who can blame Mexicans from feeling vulnerable over their future? The peso suffered its largest drop in decades, and the threat of a wall to be built between the U.S. and Mexico to disrupt vital trade is hugely worrying to the national authorities in Mexico; a wall that Trump insists Mexico must pay for, as an added insult. "It's an unmitigated disaster", stated Jorge Castaneda, "There are very few tools to fix the relationship."

But facts and conditions may just get in the way of Trump's plans to disassociate his country from his neighbours and cut off trade agreements and business relationships. Mexico happens to be America's third-largest trading partner after Canada and China. Two-way trade in 2015 accounted for $531-billion. Moreover, American goods and parts shipped to Mexican factories for assembly, receive those finished products shipped back into the U.S. and vice versa; trade between the two is inter-relatedly linked.

Although Donald Trump knows nothing about these significant details, millions of Americans are dependent on the jobs they hold, directly linked to trade with Mexico. Trump's claims that Mexico has benefited to the detriment of the United States, through the NAFTA agreement, were welcomed by his blue-collar supporters, but like just about everything else the man said, that data was conjured out of his imagination. The trouble is, the senior partner, in size, influence and economic clout is able to bully its junior partners.

A worker reads a freshly printed newspaper with the headline reading 'We will tremble' at a printer of the local daily Norte in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

The immediate fallout of this presidential transfer will reflect an economic crisis for Mexico with many Mexicans standing to lose employment, while the entire nation will suffer through a steep additional depreciation of the peso. A situation that could very well conspire to turn greater numbers of Mexicans toward migrating illegally into the United States in a desperate last-ditch effort to find employment of the menial kind that no Americans are interested in performing themselves, at low wages.

The vast majority of the 35-million Mexicans in the United States are actually American citizens or have the status of legal residents, while one to three million Americans live in Mexico. And according to the Pew Research Center, greater numbers of Mexicans have chosen to return to Mexico than the numbers that continue to migrate to the United States; a net outflow, which a sudden economic shock could very well reverse.

"You generate an economic crisis in Mexico, and all of those gains we have seen in terms of zero migration go down the tubes", Agustin Barrios Gomez, a former Mexican congressman, president of the Mexico Image Foundation, dedicated to promoting Mexico's image abroad, stated as a prediction based on an obvious and experienced interpretation of cause and effect.


A U.S. worker inspects a section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall at Sunland Park, U.S. opposite the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, November 9, 2016. Picture taken from the Mexico side of the U.S.-Mexico border. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez



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