Another Twitter tirade by United States President Donald Trump is placing further pressure on already strained bilateral relations between Mexico and the U.S.
Two political experts said this week that an upcoming meeting between President Enrique Peña Nieto and Trump became even riskier following the latter’s latest online comments about Mexico.
In a statement last week, the Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretariat said a meeting between the two leaders is being planned for an unspecified time in the next few weeks.
But now one analyst believes that Peña Nieto should call off his trip to Washington while another warned that the meeting could be a complete fiasco.
Trump took aim at Mexico on Twitter yesterday, writing that efforts by United States authorities to deport violent criminals were being undermined by weak immigration policies south of the U.S. border.
“MS-13 gang members are being removed by our Great ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and Border Patrol agents by the thousands, but these killers come back in from El Salvador, and through Mexico, like water,” the U.S. president wrote.
“El Salvador just takes our money, and Mexico must help MORE with this problem. We need The Wall!” he concluded.
The vice-president of the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations, Susana Chacón, told the newspaper Reforma that the comments merit canceling the bilateral meeting, adding that as soon as it was announced, she knew it was a mistake.
“Why pay [Trump] a visit just to be given another slap?” she questioned.
“They’re thinking politically, not strategically, commercially or in security terms and that could be completely counterproductive,” Chacón said.
She also expressed regret that Trump’s latest attack came just days before the start of the seventh round of North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiation talks scheduled to commence in Mexico City tomorrow.
The analyst added that the meeting could also be damaging to the presidential campaign of the ruling party’s candidate, José Antonio Meade.
An academic from the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) agreed that that there was little to gain and a lot to lose if the meeting goes ahead.
“I don’t see what Peña Nieto and his presidential candidate can gain . . . I see [the meeting] as very high risk because of this new humiliation on the eve of the supposed meeting . . .” Carlos Heredia said.
“I don’t know if they are thinking that Trump is going to behave himself and say something that helps them [but] the risk of it turning into a diplomatic and even political fiasco is extremely high, even though they want to capitalize electorally,” he added.
Heredia also asserted that the meeting’s outcome is basically a foregone conclusion.
“. . . Maintaining a sterilized setting is impossible. We already know what’s going to happen: statements from Trump that are humiliating for Mexico and the president,” Heredia stressed.
The CIDE academic also said that he wasn’t surprised about Trump’s latest disparaging remarks, telling Reforma that it was a tactic the president had used previously in the lead-up to important meetings and one that played well with his supporters at home.
Finally, Heredia pointed out that it was misguided to say that MS-13 members arrived in the United States via Mexico given that the gang originated in Los Angeles.
Source: Reforma (sp)