I have had to defend the United States from Mexicans, especially educated Mexicans, during my 52 years living in this country.
This includes very difficult times, including the Vietnam War, Iraq, race issues, immigration issues and many others including President Donald Trump’s outrageous language.
Mexicans who criticize the American government’s behavior want you as an American to challenge them, not bend over backwards and apologize so they will like you — they won’t.
I know from countless confrontations and I can say I never made an enemy defending my country.
First and foremost, an expat is an ambassador, regardless of which country he lives in. Ambassadors stand up for their country as should expats. “My country right or wrong” is as meaningful today as it was when I first came to Mexico.
I can tell you unequivocally that it is more important for an expat to be respected than to be liked.
If you don’t like Trump, discuss it with fellow Americans, but never apologize to a Mexican. Rather, if asked to comment on Trump you might remind the host nation that:
1. The United States has a $58 billion trade deficit with Mexico.
2. Forty per cent of the Mexican work force is employed by a U.S. company or its subsidiary. That represents billions of dollars invested in the Mexican economy.
3. Mexicans in the U.S. send billions of dollars in remittances to their families in Mexico. Why is that?
4. What does Mexico do to safeguard its northern and southern borders? The Obama administration gave Mexico $75 million to beef up its security on the Guatemalan and Belize borders. Why do thousands of illegals from Central America and other parts of the world keep pouring into Mexico on their way to the U.S.?
Mexicans who complain about the U.S. (you may find that few do including those that worked illegally in the U.S. and got caught) are usually the leftist intelligentsia graduates of UNAM, the National Autonomous University of México. We used to refer to them as “champagne socialists.”
Americans living in San Miguel de Allende are a different story. Since few speak the language to maintain a conversation, they go to cocktail parties (at least three every day), and think they know how Mexicans feel. Since they can’t talk to cab drivers, electricians, painters, mechanics, etc., they think that lawyers, doctors and notaries are their friends. They are just after getting your dollars.
The others who serve Americans and lived illegally in the U.S. speak well of their experience. But then you have to speak the language.
People like Mark Bilker are a disgrace. Hopefully they will return to the U.S. before they get other Americans who are as lacking in cross-culture doing some real harm.
Beldon Butterfield is a writer and former publisher and media representative. He is retired and lives in San Miguel de Allende.