Trump on the 2018 Ballot

The Mexican presidential campaign has an unexpected protagonist, Donald Trump. He is the fifth wheel.

The president of the United States distracts people, angers them, worries them, makes things more complex. The facts are that, despite the efforts of the presidential candidates, it has been Trump who has driven the publicity agenda in the first week of the campaign. He does not even have to go on a campaign trip or give a morning press conference. He does it lying in bed at the White House through his Twitter account.

His name shows up on the front pages while the Mexican candidates attempt to attract the attention of the media but only manage to take second place. Trump once more has us biting our nails. Faced with his actions and notions, it is not clear whether it is better to laugh, cry, or simply turn to prayer. He plays with fire. His tantrums are dangerous.

His most recent affront, to deploy the National Guard along the border with Mexico, is, without doubt, a hostile act, but also absolutely ludicrous. Today there is still no clarity in either Mexico or the United States about the goals or the reach of his decision. It has been said that the National Guard will not carry weapons or detain migrants. In other words, if they aren’t going to arrest drug dealers or undocumented people or arms traffickers, then why are they being deployed? Mexico and the United States share a border that is longer than 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles). If, as was stated yesterday, 3,000 troops will participate, that is equivalent to nothing.

In addition, the operation will be very expensive, which has alarmed “gringos” who do not want to spend a fortune on an idea that makes no sense whatsoever. How many thousands of dollars will be spent to keep, let’s say, 3,000 men well-equipped in an area that is practically desert? We are in the 21st century, and if the Americans want to watch their border more effectively, there are already satellites, drones and video cameras with night vision. To make a human wall is more antiquated than the Great Wall of China.

We cannot just stand by with our arms crossed. The whole federal government, the governors of the states of the Republic, the members of Congress and the presidential candidates have all begun to speak out. They have brought forward all kinds of thunderous language about the defense of national sovereignty and some are already almost like the Heroic Cadets,* at the point of self-sacrifice.

The members of the National Guard are going fry in the 40-degree-Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) border heat, surrounded by two-legged and four-legged coyotes. Perhaps the presidential candidates will have to campaign at the northern border for the media to pay attention. For now, they just have to talk about the issues. What is obvious and concerning is that they let it be known they don’t know what to do. They don’t have the faintest idea.

Lopez Obrador, the leading candidate, has a clear idea.** The first person he is going to offer the presidential airplane to is Trump, who, the Tabasco politician supposes, is dying to buy an airplane already used by his Mexican colleague. There was talk about a large human caravan of activists, dressed in white, co-existing with the members of the National Guard along the border, which will only make for another 3,000 dehydrated people.

To deploy personnel from the National Guard is a dangerous idea. A false step could lead to a diplomatic affront with unavoidable consequences.

*Translator’s Note: The Heroic Cadets are six young military cadets who, in 1847, died fighting at the Castle of Chapultepec in Mexico City rather than surrender to the United States Army. They are among the most venerated of Mexican patriotic heroes.

**Translator’s Note: Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a leading presidential candidate, has criticized the Mexican presidential airplane and said that he would sell it. López Obrador is from the state of Tabasco.

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