Mexico-US: A Poisoned Relationship

Last Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, in a hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, said in response to a direct question from Republican Senator John McCain that a leftist Mexican president would not be good for the United States or for Mexico. In addition, although he stated that corruption is very widespread in Mexico, Kelly praised several members of the current Mexican government, among them the secretaries of Defense, Salvador Cienfuegos; of the Navy, Vidal Soberón; and of Foreign Relations, Luis Videgaray, who is currently in Washington.

Yesterday, Videgaray said that following these statements, he met with Kelly to convey the message that electoral decisions are a concern solely for the Mexican people, and that what we hope for from the United States is that they will respect the electoral process. He assured us that the Secretary of Homeland Security had understood the message and was equal to the situation.

Intolerable as it may be, the open interference by Donald Trump’s colleague in the political affairs of Mexico should not be considered in isolation but rather in the context of a growing and alarming poisoning of the bilateral relationship by electoral issues in the two countries. In this situation, it is impossible not to acknowledge that the Mexican government, not the government of the United States, opened the door to this undesirable state of affairs.

The invitation by President Enrique Peña Nieto to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, then both presidential candidates, was delivered by Videgaray himself. This invitation and the disproportionate reception of Trump, as if he were a head of state, in effect violated the basic principles of respect for the political matters of other countries. According to some analysts, this may have benefited the current U.S. president, and may have changed the presidential race in the neighboring superpower.

That background, which by no means attenuates Trump’s anti-Mexican rhetoric, nor his first decisions, blatantly colored by animosity towards Mexico and its citizens, left the national government without a leg to stand on and without moral authority to demand respect from Washington for political matters and, particularly, for local electoral processes.

In this context, the fact that Kelly took on the assignment of giving his opinion about what the next president of our country has to be like, what kind of profile, tendency and ideology he should have, is obviously unacceptable but by no means surprising.

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