Friday, November 18, 2016

Mexico and Trump


Over the last 18 months, we’ve witnessed an amazing response from Mexico about now president-elect Trump. It started with justified outrage at Mr. Trump’s remarks (I did not like them either) to a current level of hysteria that even serious Mexicans are having second thoughts about. As my good Mexican friend said: “Teniamos problemas antes de Trump”  or we had problems before Trump.     
Mexico will likely get to like President Trump for a couple of reasons, as my friend Allan Wall posted yesterday:
I don’t think a Trump presidency will be a disaster for Mexico.  
In fact, there are things that the Mexican government can do to work together constructively with Trump. 
After all, diplomacy is not about “liking people,” but about finding common interests between nations.  
And there is plenty there to work with between the U.S. and Mexico.   
Let’s look at some of the areas where Mexico and President Trump may find common ground.   
As Allan mentioned, most of the people coming to the U.S. are not Mexicans. Instead, Mexico has become an avenue to “el norte” or simply a pathway for people from Central America, and other places. Many of these people are flooding Mexico and creating problems that did not exist when Mexicans were going north and sending dollars south.   
Second, Mexico faces a Chinese threat, too. In fact, China is a bigger threat to Mexico because they are both promoting themselves as a destination for cheap labor. China is winning that fight because it manipulates its currency.
Third, the border wall, or “muro” as they call it south of the border, may have a lot more support in Mexico than they will admit. At the moment, the U.S.-Mexico border is chaotic and most Mexicans know it. The border, specially the isolated areas between the cities, is controlled by cartels who send us drugs while we send them cash. The wall won’t stop us from consuming, but it will complicate the easy path that cartels have to bring it north. It will also stop people from coming south with bags of cash and guns.       
And finally, don’t blame the peso’s slippage on Trump. It fell in March 2009 and I don’t remember anyone blaming President Obama’s campaign statements about renegotiating NAFTA.
Changes in the peso probably have more to do with the price of oil. By the way, the best medicine for the Mexican peso is a strong U.S. economy, i.e. more trade with Mexico!
Let’s give this thing a bit of time. My guess is that many Mexicans may conclude that “el Trump no es tan malo” or he is not so bad.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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