National Guard troops watch the border in Arizona in 2010. National Guard troops watch the border in Arizona in 2010.

Business, candidates signal support for EPN

Foreign affairs secretary hopes White House will reflect on tone of communication

Mexico’s business community and presidential candidates have closed ranks behind President Enrique Peña Nieto after his call for United States President Donald Trump to show respect for the sovereignty and dignity of Mexico.

Peña Nieto rebuked Trump yesterday over his repeated threats to Mexico and plans to send National Guard troops to the Mexico-U.S. border. He also urged him to vent his “frustrations” on the U.S. Congress rather than Mexico.

The president of the Mexican Employers Federation (Coparmex), Gustavo de Hoyos, expressed his support for Peña Nieto in a post on his personal Twitter account, adding that it is now up to the government to follow through with concrete actions.

“I support the stance of the head of state Enrique Peña Nieto and the Mexican Senate, who demand respect for Mexico from Donald Trump. The Mexican government’s foreign policy actions, including [those on] trade and security, must be consistent with that position,” he wrote.

The head of the Mexican Business Council, Alejandro Ramírez, also took to Twitter to offer his support.

“. . . I support the president and the Mexican Senate in their call to the United States President Donald Trump to respect the dignity and sovereignty of Mexico. It is not with threatening attitudes that good agreements are reached,” he said.

The Confederation of Industrial Chambers (Concamin) and the influential Business Coordinating Council (CCE) also backed the president’s stance.

The four presidential candidates running for election July 1 put aside political differences to endorse the president’s strong declaration, adding credence to Peña Nieto’s words that “nothing or nobody is above the dignity of Mexico.”

The candidate for the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party expressed his solidarity with the president in a video posted to social media.

José Antonio Meade reiterated Peña Nieto’s position, stating “Mexico demands respect” and also called on Trump “to deal with us as what we are; a sovereign and important country with dignity.”

“. . . Let the world know that Mexico is united with clarity, conviction and courage . . . beyond the electoral processes and our natural differences, we are a strong and united country that has been fueled by a history of struggle and dignity when threats come from outside,” he said.

Ricardo Anaya, the candidate for the right-left coalition “For Mexico in Front,” also supported Peña Nieto’s response to Trump’s continuing criticism of Mexico but urged the government to go further.

“It is right that a position has been established by the federal government but it’s not enough. We need to tell the authorities of the United States with complete clarity that everything that the governments of the United States and Mexico are negotiating is conditional upon President Donald Trump stopping his threats and his attacks on the people of Mexico,” he said.

In a Twitter post, frontrunner Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the “Together We Will Make History” coalition said that he is “pleased that President Peña Nieto has responded as he did.”

At a rally in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, López Obrador also said that Trump’s plan to send the National Guard to the border is “not the most prudent” idea and declared that a bilateral relationship based on “friendship, mutual respect and cooperation” is in the best interests of both countries.

Independent candidate Margarita Zavala added her support for the president, reiterating that when it comes to Mexico’s national dignity, the whole country speaks with one voice. On Twitter, she also announced that she had sent a letter to Trump urging him to reconsider his proposal to militarize the border.

In a television interview last night, Foreign Affairs Secretary Luis Videgaray said the government hoped that Peña Nieto’s stern response to his United States counterpart would provide food for thought north of the border.

“We hope that they reflect in the United States, in the White House, about the tone of the communication that has prevailed this week . . . practically every day we’ve had some kind of aggression or unjustified comment about the reality they want to present about Mexico or the relationship with Mexico,” he said.

Videgaray added that he hoped the reflection would “take the relationship to where it should be, which is in a tone of respect and cooperation.”

He also said that “if the deployment of the National Guard results in a militarization [of the border], it would have grave consequences on the bilateral relationship.”

The United States government has not offered a response to President Peña Nieto’s address.

Trump told reporters yesterday he would like to see 2,000 to 4,000 National Guard troops sent to the border for an indefinite period. But the Pentagon said the numbers have not yet been determined.

Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Secretariat said yesterday that U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen had advised Mexico that the troops will be unarmed and not directly engage in immigration or customs controls.

Source: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp), The Hill (en)

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