Donald Trump has won himself a place in Mexican politics because of the sheer absurdity of his comments. His xenophobic remarks against Mexican immigrants in the United States have even drawn responses from Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who, in early March, compared the Republican presidential hopeful to Hitler and Mussolini. “That’s how they got to power,” Peña Nieto said in reference to Trump’s strident rhetoric.
But the New York businessman does not care and is continuing down the same path. Should he become president, he had promised to block remittances from the United States to Mexico to force the Mexican government to finance his proposed $10 billion border wall, causing further indignation in Mexico. “Trump is a venom-spitting psychopath,” says Gustavo Madero, a National Action Party (PAN) congressman.
We would live through a political campaign of manure-slinging during which he would try to bring out the worst in the most racist sector of society PAN congressman Gustavo Madero
“It would be a disaster if he were the Republican candidate,” adds Madero. “We would live through a political campaign of manure-slinging during which he would try to bring out the worst in the most racist sector of society, radicalizing it even more and empowering it.” Trump’s impact reaches beyond the United States and “is harmful for the entire international political system,” the politician adds.
Madero says the amount Trump demands Mexico pays to finance the wall is equivalent to its total spending on the judiciary ($6.3 billion) or healthcare ($7 billion).
Trump’s fantasy of being able to stop undocumented Mexican migrants from sending money home would face a number of practical problems. “It is not economically or financially viable. You can’t know who sends remittances, whether they are legal or not, because transfers are basically anonymous. You would have to change so many laws that it is practically impossible,” says economist Gerardo Esquivel. His colleague, José Antonio Romero Tellaeche, agrees with this analysis. “That sounds pretty preposterous,” he says, adding that “the political result would be counterproductive. Mexico has been submissive to the United States but this, instead of pressuring it, would be explosive.”
Remittances are the most stable source of income in Mexico. The Bank of Mexico reports nearly $24.8 billion sent in remittances in 2015, more revenue than the oil and tourism industries reported that same year.
It seems unlikely that anything could break this interdependence between Mexico and the United States. “Our relationship will not be blocked. No matter how many walls they try to build, nothing will stop our commercial and cultural relations,” says Mario Delgado, a congressman for the leftist party National Regeneration Movement (Morena). “There is something there that many Americans do not want to see. They insist that Trump is an isolated accident and not the result of a system in which economic power has more and more control and influence over political power.”
Still, many American citizens and even Republicans are looking for alternatives to what seemed like an inevitable Republican nomination for Trump. After losing the Wisconsin primary on Tuesday night, the Trump campaign threw a temper tantrum by the means of a fiery press release. “Ted Cruz is worse than a puppet – he is a Trojan horse, being used by party bosses attempting to steal the nomination from Mr. Trump,” the statement said. The Texas senator carried Wisconsin with 48.3 percent of the votes while Trump fell in second place with 35 percent. Ohio Governor John Kasich received 14.1 percent of the votes.
English version by Dyane Jean François.