Mexico’s Forceful Resistance. De Jorge Castaneda

Credit Mikey Burton

Jorge Castaneda, político, intelectual y comentarista mexicano. Ocupó el cargo de Secretario de Relaciones Exteriores de 2000 a 2003

Jorge Castaneda, político, intelectual y comentarista mexicano. Ocupó el cargo de Secretario de Relaciones Exteriores de 2000 a 2003

Jorge Castaneda, 27 enero 2017 / THE NEW YORK TIMES

MEXICO CITY — It has been just over a week since President Trump took office, and he already has a diplomatic mini-crisis on his hands. First, he demanded that Mexico pay for his wall along our mutual border — on the very day when Mexican diplomats were to meet with White House officials. When President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico rejected that idea out of hand, Mr. Trump tweeted that he should consider calling off a planned visit to Washington next Tuesday. Which is just what Mr. Peña Nieto did.

For Mexico, the cancellation, and the rise in tensions with the United States, are a sad and serious affair.

Sad, because no Mexican wants a breakdown in bilateral ties. Five successive presidents have pursued a new course with our northern neighbor, putting behind us the apprehensions and resentment of the past. The North American Free Trade Agreement, American support during the mid-’90s financial NEW YORK TIMEScrisis, immigration negotiations in 2001, expanded drug enforcement and security cooperation, and the encouragement of a new mind-set for Mexicans where being neighbors is no longer seen as a problem but as an opportunity: All of this is being questioned and jeopardized.

This is why Mexico today faces a tough choice, given the asymmetry between both countries: accommodate Mr. Trump and get the least-bad deal possible, or lay out a series of red lines or list of American demands Mexico cannot accept and adopt a policy of forceful resistance. It could then attempt to wait Mr. Trump out, hoping that he will open too many fronts simultaneously, that domestic opposition to his excesses will grow, and that Mexico’s allies in the United States and abroad will eventually rebalance the unequal correlation of forces.

Mr. Peña Nieto had no choice but to cancel his trip. But he had partly boxed himself into a corner because of previous indecision or procrastination.

He knew some time ago that Mr. Trump would insist on renegotiation. He knew that several roads could lead to a favorable outcome for all three member countries, but that there could also be dire consequences for Mexico if the road chosen led to a revised Nafta requiring drawn-out deliberations in the legislative bodies of Canada, the United States and Mexico. The agreement would then fall hostage to partisan bickering, with no guarantees of approval. The uncertainty that would entail might easily place new foreign investment in Mexico on hold.

Mexico should have a red line on trade. Everything that can be done without new legislative approval in all the three countries is fair game, but nothing else. Better to have the United States invoke Nafta’s Article 2205, which says that a country can withdraw from the agreement six months after giving notice.

A similar red line should have been drawn by Mr. Peña Nieto on the prickliest, if not the most substantive issue: the wall. Again, incomprehensibly, Mr. Peña Nieto painted himself into a corner by stressing the wall’s payment, rather than its very existence. The crux of the matter should never have been who would pay for it, but rather that it was an unfriendly act toward a friendly country, sending a disastrous symbolic message to Latin America. The real issue is that it will generate countless social, cultural and environmental problems along the border; raise the cost and danger of unauthorized crossings; and attract even more organized crime.

Mexico should now clearly draw another red line. If the United States wants to build a wall, we will use every tool available to delay it and make it more expensive. But we will also point out that President Trump’s wall better be a very effective one. Because it will have to deter, without any further Mexican cooperation, drugs, migrants, terrorists and “bad hombres” from entering. If Mr. Trump “breaks” the border arrangement that our two countries have enjoyed for nearly a century, he “owns” it (the Pottery Barn rule).

Finally, on deportations, Mexico must also publicize its nonnegotiable bottom line. More money and agents for immigration enforcement, punishing sanctuary cities and attempting to send so-called criminals to Mexico is likewise an unfriendly act. Especially when one recalls that the same policy toward El Salvador in the late 1990s made it the most violent country in the world.

Mexico must say clearly that we will encourage all our potential deportees to demand a hearing upon arrest and to refuse voluntary removal; that we will provide legal support, on our dime, for all arrested undocumented Mexicans; and that we will deny entry to anyone whom American authorities cannot prove is a Mexican citizen. These are not simple decisions and are not exempt from the risk of retaliation. But neither is a 20 percent tariff on imports from Mexico, a proposal the White House suggested on Thursday it might embrace.

Mexico’s most effective leverage in this unfortunate and needless conflict lies in its stability on the United States’s southern flank. Washington should count its blessings. For a century, the United States has been an accomplice to Mexican corruption, human rights violations and authoritarian rule. But it has also supported Mexico economically, abstained from seeking regime change, tolerated mass migration from the south and generally treated Mexico with respect. The quid pro quo was immensely and mutually beneficial. Messing with it is worse than rash: It is reckless, for both countries.

La amenaza Trump. Columna transversal de Paolo Luers

paolo3Paolo Luers, 27 enero 2017 / EDH

Al radicalismo irracional de Trump hay que contraponer posiciones igualmente radicales, pero racionales. Racionalmente radicales.

Las amenazas de Trump contra México son radicales. Mandar a erigir un muro en todo la frontera con México ya es una medida radical. Se podría decir que cada país tiene el derecho de construir las monstruosidades que quiera, siempre y cuando su gobierno logre convencer a sus ciudadanos de pagarlas. Pero el reiterado anuncio de Trump que va a cobrar a México el 100 % del costo de su muro, es una amenaza real y radical. Trump dice diario hoyque puede cobrar a México aumentando el precio de las visas, poniendo un peaje para cada paso de frontera, reteniendo un porcentaje de las remesas – y por supuesto: estableciendo tasas altas para productos mexicanos, dentro del contexto de la renegociación que quiere imponer del NAFTA, el Tratado de Libre Comercio entre México, Canadá y Estados Unidos.

Las extorsiones que Trump ya está haciendo a compañías, no sólo norteamericanas, sino también alemanas y japonesas, para que dejen de fabricar carros en México y concentren sus inversiones en Estados Unidos, es un ataque a México que ningún gobierno puede tolerar. Por suerte, tanto los japoneses como los alemanes ya lo mandaron al carajo.

La suma de todos estos ataques a sus vecinos, de por sí insultantes, contempla una real amenaza. Trump quiere hacer su pedazo de América grande a costa de México. Quiere rescatar puestos de trabajo industriales, quitándolos a México.

Todo esto requiere una respuesta radical de México. Los últimos gobiernos mexicanos, de Felipe Calderón y Peña Nieto, han convertido a su país en el campo de batalla de la guerra contra el narcotráfico desde los países productores hacia los consumidores en Estados Unidos. Han prestado su territorio, sus fuerzas armadas, sus policías y han puesto decenas de miles de muertos en esta guerra que únicamente sirve a los intereses de Estados Unidos. La respuesta radical de México a los ataques radicales de Trump tiene que ser: suspender esta guerra contra los carteles que transportan droga a Estados Unidos; legalizar el consumo en México; y comenzar a atender el fenómeno de las drogas como un problema de salud pública, ya no de seguridad nacional. Esta guerra de todos modos nunca fue mexicana, fue una guerra de Estados Unidos, que no la quería pelear en su propio país, con sus tropas, poniendo su propios muertos. De hecho, esta guerra tan sangrienta en México, por arte de magia siempre terminó en la frontera de Estados Unidos. Adentro de Estados Unidos no hay enfrentamientos y no hay masacres.

México no es indefenso en este pleito que le armó Trump. Que Trump construya su muralla. Ya veremos si va a detener la droga, una vez que México ya no siga prestando su territorio y la vida de sus ciudadanos para detenerla.

México debe suspender  también todos sus operativos contra los migrantes centroamericanos. Este último año, México ha deportado más migrantes a Centroamérica que los propios Estados Unidos – aunque solo van de paso. Igual que en el caso de la droga, México hace el trabajo sucio para resolver problemas no propios, sino del vecino del Norte. Veremos si el muro de Trump va a detener a los migrantes centroamericanos, si México deja de detener y perseguirlos. No lo creo.

Los gobiernos de Centroamérica deben unirse a México en esta defensa contra los planes de Trump. No sólo por solidaridad, sino por interés propio. Son los migrantes de Centroamérica que van a aguantar la primera ola de persecución. Ya lo dijo Trump. Y si Estados Unidos comienza a poner impuestos a las remesas, no será solamente para los mexicanos, sino igualmente a los centroamericanos. Tenemos muchas razones para hacer un frente común con México. Nuestros países, sobre todo Guatemala y Honduras, pero también El Salvador, igual han sido reclutados por Estados Unidos para pelear su guerra contra el narcotráfico. Todo el apoyo que recibimos de Estados Unidos es condicionado a esto. Hasta las políticas de seguridad pública nuestras se supeditan al intento de Estados Unidos de detener las drogas y los migrantes antes de que lleguen a sus fronteras.

Y una vez que Trump impone que el NAFTA se modifique para favorecer a Estados Unidos (“America First”), algún ingenuo puede creer que con nuestro TLC no va a pasar lo mismo. De todos modos, el FMLN nunca entendió los beneficios del TLC. Pero también vemos a algunos industriales salvadoreños bailando de alegría porque Trump suspendió el Tratado del Pacífico, porque los asiáticos nos hubieran hecho competencia. Posiblemente bailarán igual cuando Trunp joda a los mexicanos, porque también los ven como competencia. Entonces, ¿quién bailará en el entierro nuestro?

Nuestro presidente, en vez de andar en reuniones de CELAC, que solo sirve para los intereses de Cuba y Venezuela, debería ahora estar reunido con los presidentes de México y Centroamérica para construir una defensa común contra las amenazas radicales de Trump. Hablando paja del “imperialismo” no resuelve nada.

‘Buena suerte con el muro’: el video que busca mostrarle a Trump lo complicado que será su plan

Fue creado con más de 200.000 imágenes satelitales de la zona fronteriza con una extensión de 3.144 kilómetros.

<p><a href=”″>Field of Vision – Best of Luck with the Wall</a> from <a href=””>Field Of Vision</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Mónica Cruz, 25 enero 2017 / EL PAIS-VERNE

Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 11.19.35 PM.pngEste miércoles, Donald Trump firmó un decreto para la construcción de un muro entre Estados Unidos y México. Este fue el emblema de su campaña y una de sus estrategias para detener el flujo de migrantes indocumentados a su país. Desde que Trump anunció el plan en el verano de 2015, varios analistas y políticos han cuestionado su viabilidad, especialmente por la extensión de más de 3.144 kilómetros de la frontera. Por esta razón, este miércoles los tuiteros en Estados Unidos han rescatado este video de octubre de 2016, realizado por el medio The Intercept, que muestra a través de fotografías satelitales esta gran distancia y las condiciones geográficas complejas de la zona. La versión en Vimeo del video tiene más de 560.000 reproducciones. Se titula: Best of Luck with that wall (Buena suerte con ese muro).

El cineasta Josh Begley y la documentalista Laura Poitras (una de las periodistas que publicó los documentos filtrados de Edward Snowden), crearon el video a partir de más de 200.000 fotografías satelitales tomadas de Google Maps y unidas para dar la impresión de que una cámara viaja a través de ella de punta a punta. “La frontera sur (de EE UU) es un espacio que se ha reducido a metáfora”, escribe Begley en un artículo de The Intercept. Ya ni siquiera es geográfica. Parte de mi intención es insistir en esa realidad geográfica. Al enfocarse en ese paisaje físico, espero que la audiencia obtenga un mayor sentido de la enormidad de todo esto y tal vez imagine lo que significa ser un blanco político en ese terreno”.

El presidente ha cambiado los detalles del plan como su altura y costo de construcción, pero la meta de obligar a México a pagar por él no ha cambiado. El Gobierno mexicano ha negado en varias ocasiones obedecer a este plan. Desde que Trump anunció el plan en el verano de 2015, varios analistas y políticos han cuestionado su viabilidad, especialmente por su costo. Un estudio realizado por el Washington Post estima un que este sería de aproximadamente 25.000 millones de dólares y no 12.000 millones de dólares como ha dicho Trump. Uno de los factores que aumentaría el costo del muro, según el artículo, son las zonas montañosas, las que están divididas por el Río Bravo o cerca de los océanos Pacífico y Atlántico.

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Mexico’s Potential Weapons if Trump Declares War on Nafta

 Workers on an auto parts production line in the Bosch factory this month in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. President Trump has threatened to impose a 35 percent tariff against Mexico. Credit Pedro Pardo/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Workers on an auto parts production line in the Bosch factory this month in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. President Trump has threatened to impose a 35 percent tariff against Mexico. Credit Pedro Pardo/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Eduardo Porter, 24 enero 2017 / THE NEW YORK TIMES

How could Mexico inflict the most damage on the United States?

NEW YORK TIMESIn normal times this question would not be top of mind for Mexican policy makers. Mexican governments over the last quarter-century have consistently pushed back against the nation’s historical resentment toward the United States, hoping to build a more cooperative relationship with its overbearing northern neighbor.

But these aren’t normal times. As President Trump prepares the opening gambit in his project to either renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement or pull out, Mexico’s most important strategic goal is narrowing to one word: deterrence.

It must convince Mr. Trump that if he blows up the trade agreement on which Mexico has staked its hopes of development, by weaving its economy ever more closely into that of the United States, the United States will suffer, too.

The critical question is whether Mexico’s threat will be convincing.

Mexico’s main challenge as it confronts a hostile Trump administration is the enormous asymmetry of the bilateral relationship. Ending Nafta would hurt the United States: Six million American jobs depend on exports to Mexico, according to Mexican officials. But to Mexico, it could prove devastating.

Mexico has relied on the pact to draw foreign capital into the country, not only ensuring multinational companies stable access to the largest consumer market in the world but also guaranteeing that their investment is safe, noted Luis Rubio, who heads the Center of Research for Development in Mexico City.

The makings of a Mexican strategy for defending its interests started coming into focus on Monday, when President Enrique Peña Nieto declared that negotiations for a future relationship with the United States would not be limited to trade.

“We will bring to the table all themes,” he said in a speech. “Trade, yes, but also migration and the themes of security, including border security, terrorist threats and the traffic of illegal drugs, weapons and cash.”

His hope is that by introducing broader uncertainty about the bilateral relationship — Will Mexico still cooperate in the fight against drug trafficking? Will it stop foreign terrorists from using Mexico as a way station into the United States? — Mexico can raise the stakes enough for Mr. Trump to reconsider his “America first” approach to commerce.

“Mexico has a lot of chips to play,” said Jorge Castañeda, a former foreign secretary who has staked out a combative approach.

Let Mr. Trump pull the United States out of Nafta, he argues. Instead of stopping Central American migrants at its southern border, Mexico should let them through on their way to the United States. “And let’s see if his wall keeps the terrorists out, because we won’t,” Mr. Castañeda added.

The view from Mexico City is not uniformly bleak. Some analysts believe there is a potential for a situation in which a new Nafta benefits all. “I have always believed one should never let a good crisis go to waste,” said Arturo Sarukhán, a former Mexican ambassador to the United States. “There is an opportunity that we could end up modernizing and improving Nafta.”

The view that there is a potential silver lining to Mr. Trump’s hostility toward Nafta is also popular in some Washington circles. The quarter-century-old agreement is due for some modernization anyway, if only to deal with things like data protection, online crime and e-commerce — which were not around in the early 1990s. Nafta’s weak provisions on labor and environmental standards could also be improved.


How Deals Like Nafta Have Affected U.S. Trade

While trade has contributed to the growth of the American economy, the changing dynamics have also prompted concerns about lost jobs and the rising trade deficit. But when something is manufactured in the United States, the product is typically made up of parts and pieces from around the world.


Many aspects of Nafta could be upgraded, trade experts say. It could do with new rules to open up government projects to bidders from all three Nafta partners. Allowing long-haul trucking companies from Mexico and the United States into each other’s markets could make trade between the two more efficient. What’s more, the Mexican-American border could benefit from more infrastructure investments to integrate energy networks, reduce clogged lines at border crossings and the like.

Now that Mr. Trump has formally nixed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would have tied North America and nine other nations from the Pacific Rim into one large trade bloc, some of its provisions could be drafted into a new North American deal.

Gary Hufbauer of the pro-trade Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington suggests that the name “Nafta” be retired — it has a bad reputation. But a lot of its substance could remain, perhaps in the form of separate bilateral agreements with Canada and Mexico.

“Trump wants some easy victories,” Mr. Hufbauer pointed out. If he can score political points using his Twitter feed to persuade a few companies to keep jobs in the United States, why risk hurting the American economy by abandoning the North American trade deal? “Maybe that’s the reconciliation,” Mr. Hufbauer said.

Still, it’s hard to reconcile the proposal for an improved, more effective trading pact in North America with Mr. Trump’s frequent portrayal of trade as a zero-sum game that inevitably shortchanges the United States.

In Mr. Trump’s eyes, improving Nafta seems to mean eliminating Mexico’s trade surplus with the United States and limiting investment by American multinationals in Mexico. But one can’t quickly eliminate a $60 billion trade surplus with a new Nafta — not unless it has some incredibly draconian limits on imports or local content requirements that could be as damaging to Mexico as abandoning the pact altogether.

Many Mexican officials fear that it is precisely this kind of draconian change that Mr. Trump has in mind. It would be politically profitable, at least in the short term. And it would signal toughness to China — a more formidable rival that is next on Mr. Trump’s list. If Canada stays out of the fray, cutting a separate deal with the United States to replace Nafta, Mexico would be left alone in an existential fight for its future.

In this case, Mexico may have no choice but to raise the stakes and hope to arrive at the negotiating table with a threat at least as credible as Mr. Trump’s promise to pull out of the deal.

Mr. Trump’s negotiating position does have some soft spots. For one, said Mickey Kantor, the American trade negotiator who concluded the Nafta negotiations during the Clinton administration, “he is under pressure to deliver a deal.”

If Mexico stands its ground and even allows Nafta to dissolve, it would send its own signal to China: Resistance is not futile. And Mr. Trump’s threat to raise tariffs against Mexico to 35 percent could easily be challenged under the rules of the World Trade Organization.

This is, of course, a hugely risky strategy for Mexico. When Mr. Trump entered the presidential race in June 2015, a dollar was worth about 15 pesos. Now it’s worth about 22. A frontal confrontation with the United States might send it to 40, Mexican officials fear, fueling capital flight.

And yet that may be Mexico’s strongest card.

As noted by C. Fred Bergsten, director emeritus of the Peterson Institute, an irony of Mr. Trump’s approach to Mexico is that by weakening the peso so much, he is going to increase the bilateral trade deficit, increase Mexico’s competitiveness and make it more attractive for American companies to invest there. “That is going to swamp anything he achieves with his company-by-company efforts,” he added.

That’s if Mexico manages to hold on. The more ominous situation is one in which the United States pushes too hard and Mexico — its economy, its unpopular government, its public order and political stability — buckles. The United States has enjoyed a peaceful southern border for 100 years, since Pancho Villa made his marauding raids into the Southwest during the Mexican Revolution. “That is worth pure gold in this and any other world,” Mr. Castañeda said. “Mexico’s best argument is ‘Don’t mess with that.’”

Una artista borra la frontera de Estados Unidos y México

Ana T. Fernández pinta una franja del muro para generar el efecto visual de que desaparece

Parte del muro fronterizo pintado por Ana Teresa Fernández. /

Parte del muro fronterizo pintado por Ana Teresa Fernández. /

Elena Reina, 22 octubre 2015 / EL PAIS

Se ha abierto una puerta en el enorme muro oxidado que separa México de Estados Unidos. La artista Ana Teresa Fernández, de 34 años, ha marcado de azul cielo una pequeña parte de la frontera para borrarla en la mente de los mexicanos, aunque el efecto visual dure apenas unos segundos. La vista hacia el vecino del norte se extiende, por primera vez, hasta el horizonte. Es el único punto donde no la interrumpen unos barrotes.

El PaisLa pintora mexicana llamó a este proyecto Borrando la frontera, pero reconoce que tiene un efecto contrario. “De una manera u otra, al momento de esconder algo o quitarlo empiezas a darte cuenta de su presencia”, comentó Fernández, natural de Tampico (Tamaulipas). Porque aunque en ese tramo sea más agradable, es todavía más evidente que los barrotes siguen ahí, partiendo el océano en dos.

“Este muro se ha convertido en un pañuelo de lágrimas, un símbolo en donde lamentar las vidas que no lo han podido cruzar”, señala la artista. Fernández expuso esta idea en una muestra celebrada el año pasado en Berlín, bajo el nombre de Border-Bridges, con motivo del 25 aniversario de la caída del Muro de Berlín. Comenzó pintando la frontera de Tijuana y este mes lo ha hecho en el tramo que cruza la localidad de Nogales, Sonora, donde han participado por primera vez organizaciones estadounidenses y mexicanas, así como los vecinos del municipio.

Los vecinos de Nogales ayudan a la artista a pintar la frontera. / Nick Oza (The Republic)

Los vecinos de Nogales ayudan a la artista a pintar la frontera. / Nick Oza (The Republic)

La artista, que reside en San Francisco, vivió durante varios años en Tijuana, donde podía observar a diario cómo muchos compatriotas intentaban llegar a San Diego. “El muro en California existe más que nada para los mexicanos”, apunta. Quiere utilizar su creación como una plataforma visual para exigir mayor respeto a los derechos humanos de los migrantes no solo en Latinoamérica, sino a nivel mundial.

En el norte recuerdan la frontera con cada comentario polémico que lanza Donald Trump, el candidato republicano a las elecciones presidenciales de Estados Unidos. Al otro lado de los barrotes están, no sólo los miles de mexicanos que desean penetrarlos, sino los más de 100.000 centroamericanos que expulsa México para que de ninguna manera alcancen un punto en los casi 3.000 kilómetros de línea fronteriza.

En el muro que hoy pinta Ana Teresa Fernández han muerto desde 1998 hasta 2014 más de 6.000 personas. El 6% de las muertes de migrantes en todo el mundo. La artista ha querido borrar ese recuerdo en 10 metros de ancho y seis de alto. Aunque matiza: “No lo hacemos desaparecer. Estamos jalando el telón del cielo hacia abajo”.