Yesterday afternoon I stared in disbelief at the news on the screen of my cellphone as I travelled by train from Solana Beach to Los Angeles. Through the windows I could see numerous blots of color scattered over those sprawling tomato fields along the Pacific coast. The cheerful clothing worn by thousands of Mexican and Central American peasants stood out under the sun in stark contrast to the hard and exhausting labor they were performing.
I felt a deep sadness, indignation and shame.
Enrique Peña Nieto’s invitation to Donald Trump is a betrayal.
It was an endorsement and official recognition of someone who has insulted us, spit on us and threatened us in front of the entire world for more than a year.
It lacked dignity and helped shore up a political campaign of hate toward us, toward half of humanity, and toward the most vulnerable minorities on the planet.
Enrique Peña Nieto’s invitation to Donald Trump is a betrayal
It meant placing the futures and lives of 16 million Mexicans at risk.
Rather than undocumented, 40% of Mexican and Central American immigrants are really refugees. They are boys and girls fleeing hunger, rape, extreme poverty and threats against their lives by criminal gangs back home. They have been denied a job and a safe and dignified life by their own countries. Rather than a problem of security and terrorism, it is a humanitarian crisis.
Yet never in my life have I seen a Mexican begging on the street in the United States. They are honest, hardworking people who contribute to and benefit the economies of both countries in invaluable ways. But, in the interests of both sides, they will remain a community of 11 million invisible people.
Rather than undocumented, 40% of Mexican and Central American immigrants are refugees
Our government should have named Trump 'persona non grata' a long time ago. Because he preaches hate and division in his own country and shamelessly distorts reality, countless US television stations, international corporations, heads of states and members of his own party have ended relationships and contracts with an individual whose terrifying sociopathic and fascist outbursts have polluted the world and hurt the fundamental values that Americans are proud of.
Yet, unexpectedly, our president has asked him to visit our country, giving him an opportunity and a platform that Trump has used to crown himself in Arizona, jokingly promising his followers that the “amigo” who had just opened the door of his house to him did not know yet that he was going to pay for a wall, or that Trump was going to send him back millions of his dirty and criminal people.
Our president, with his insubstantial shyster language, did not articulate or demand anything specific from his visitor. Trump has had the unprecedented honor of being the first American presidential candidate to visit our country, thus soiling the memory and history of our nation.
One hundred and sixty-eight years ago, Antonio López de Santa Ana gave away almost half of our territory. President Peña Nieto has just given away the little bit of dignity that was left us.
After this act, and as a Mexican citizen, I say that Enrique Peña Nieto no longer represents me. I cannot accept as representative a government that, rather than defend and dignify our compatriots, denigrates and puts them at risk by inviting someone who, like Trump, is not worthy of representing any country.
In these difficult times, it is worth remembering the wise words of Martin Luther King Jr.: “There is nothing more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
English version by Dyane Jean-François