Whether Donald Trump’s suggestion he might send US troops to Mexico was a threat, as this article suggests, or a friendly offer, as the White House today claimed, the idea of US troops on the soil of a country that lost half its territory to the United States in various wars is raising a firestorm in Mexico. From Proyecto Puente, Dolia Estevez’s scoop which sent a minor shockwave through Mexico yesterday:
The President of the United States, Donald Trump, told his Mexican counterpart, Enrique Peña Nieto, that the United States does not need Mexico, and in a threatening tone, suggested that the Mexican Armed Forces are incapable of fighting naroctraffickers, and that perhaps he would have to send American troops to Mexico so that they could take on the job, confidential sources on both sides of the border say.
The threat by the American leader was delivered during the telephone conversation between the two leaders which took place last Friday.
Trump threatened that he would force Mexico to pay for the wall by imposing a tariff of ten percent on Mexican exports, and of 35 percent on exports of products which would hurt Mexico the most.
Not long after the phone call, the spokesman for the White House, Sean Spicer, told the press that if Mexico refuses to pay for the wall, the United States could impose a 35 percent tariff on Mexican exports.
During the conversation, Trump suggested that “Mexican soldiers are not doing their job well,” in the fight against narcotrafficking, to which point he suggested that “maybe I” will have to send American troops so they can take on the job of beating the cartels. He emphatically affirmed that he is not going to keep allowing drugs coming from Mexico to keep “massacring our cities and communities.”
Trump told Peña Nieto that in truth he did not want to travel to Mexico last August- when he was already the [Republican] candidate, and he got an invitation from the presidential palace to meet with the PRI president-but that [his son in law]Jared Kushner convinced him. Kushner, married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, is one of his most influential advisors.
Peña Nieto’s response to the unexpected attack by Trump was far from firm and dignified. On the contrary, according to several accounts, Peña Nieto babbled, while trying to explain that Mexico had a different perspective, which consists of keeping the relationship on a constructive footing.
The accounts of the conversation are entirely consistent with Trump’s contempt for Mexico and with his offensive and arrogant personality.
During the call, Peña Nieto was present along with the foreign minister, Luis Videgaray and the sub-secretary for North America, Carlos Sada.
On Trump’s end of the line were his strategist Steve Bannon, considered the power behind the throne, and Kushner, the son in law with whom Videgaray arranged last year’s [very controversial in Mexico]meeting at the presidential palace.
Both the Presidential Palace and the White House issued press releases about the call, which was apparently sought by Mexico; however neither side detailed content of the call.
Both press releases said the conversation lasted an hour. However, in truth it was lengthened due to the need to communicate via interpreters. The actual interchange only lasted about twenty minutes.
In further developments, Foreign Minister Videgaray met in secret on Tuesday with Craig Deare, Trump’s Security Council member charged with Latin American affairs, and with Admiral Kurt Tidd, chief of the Southern Command of the US Armed Forces, as well as the US Ambassador, Roberta Jacobson.
The apparent motive of the meeting was to discuss Mexican cooperation in stopping the flow of Central American migrants who try to enter the United States through Mexico.
Jessica Simon, spokeswoman for the US embassy in Mexico, decline to confirm or deny the meeting, saying she had nothing to say regarding Jacobson’s schedule.
For his part, Rafael Lugo, the Mexican Foreign Ministry’s head of social communications did not respond to an email seeking corroboration of either the secret meeting or the contents of the phone call between Trump and Peña Nieto.
Dolia Estevez Translated from Spanish by International Boulevard
03 Feb 2017