THE SIAMESE TWINS OF NORTH AMERICA

A recent PEW poll revealed that most countries around the world are quite interested in following the Trump Political Show. They do note, however, that Latina America is the only region not much interested. That may be true in Central and South America because in Mexico Trump dominates newscasts and political talk shows as much as he does in the United States, especially now that NAFTA is being renegotiated and immigration continues to be a hot topic.

Though most of the news is presented from a kind of MSNBC angle, that is critical and from the left, once in a while, there are political analysts that offer intelligent, nuanced, and incisive interpretations of the many political shenanigans coming out of Washington which help to understand the strange world according to Trump. Of course, el Trompetas would not hesitate to dub all these news and political commentary programs as nothing more than fake news, but I doubt that the President or anyone else in the United States care what Mexicans opine, which is quite sad (to use one of his favorite adjectives) because the United States and Mexico are in many ways joined at the hip, as it were.

Since the early 1900s, the U.S. and Mexico have developed a relationship of dependency that has benefitted both countries. During this time Americans have relied heavily on cheap labor to fuel their economy, which Mexico has readily provided, while at the same time creating at home a huge market for American products. Mexico, on the other hand, has become extremely reliant on its northern neighbor to provide jobs for the overflow of Mexican workers, particularly in the countryside that has suffered because of the failure of the agrarian reform stemming from the Revolution of 1910. This has further created a strong dependency on the monthly money remesas the workers send back to their hometowns that alleviate the plight of many people in Mexico who otherwise would have a hard time making ends meet.

Perhaps even more important is the mass movement of people that has transpired in the last century between the two neighboring nations. It is said that 10% of the Mexican-born population resides in El Norte and at least one million Americans, mostly retired so-called “snowbirds”, make their home in states such as Jalisco, Guanajuato, and Oaxaca. The numbers of the latter will increase as baby-boomers look to retiring in places where the weather and economy allow them to live a comfortable life. Maybe this could be a good future immigration trade: we’ll send the U.S. young Mexican workers and the Americans will send us their elderly who want to enjoy sunny lives south of the border!

In view of all of this, you would think Mexico and the United States would see that the two countries are to a large degree intricately attached and that it’s to their advantage to establish more cordial relations. That has never been and is far from being the case today; and Trump, of course, is not making it any easier talking all that nonsense about a beautiful wall and conflating the criminal activities of “La Mara” with Mexican immigrants. Unfortunately, his ridiculous tweets are picked up by the American media and analyzed by some self-appointed spokesperson for the Latino and Latina (sorry, no X for me) communities of the United States, mainly in a superficial and political way, hardly ever truly explaining to the American public the complex socio-economic relations that bind the two nations.

By contrast, in Mexico people at all levels of society seem to follow the Trump Political Show because his policies have the potential for producing major changes in their way of life, especially if NAFTA is terminated “with extreme prejudice” to borrow a famous line from Apocalypse Now, which somehow comes to mind when I think of present-day Mexico. For the longest time, Mexicans have put their economic eggs in mainly one basket, the American. So now, they follow religiously every little move Trump makes, for they know that the end of NAFTA could be disastrous for Mexico. This is why even Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the leftist candidate and front-runner in this year’s presidential election, supports the treaty which he used to rail against. Trump is aware of this and wrongly thinks that he has the upper hand, that is why he is so confident, speaking loudly and carrying a big stick. Unfortunately, what he and most Americans are ignorant of or fail to understand is that socially and economically the United States and Mexico are like Siamese twins who share vital organs and, if separated, both their lives may be on the line.

 

 

 

 

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