Trump and Mexico: The Weak always Take the Rap

By Salvador Marti Puig on June 12, 2019

Graphic: Leonard Beard

Threatening and mistreating the weak is a natural behavior among bullies in hard times. This is what Donald Trump has done with Mexico when it is evident to all that his election promises have not been met. This is the logic used by Trump a few days ago when he threatened to progressively increase Mexican import tariffs by five percent per month if the Government of that country did not commit to hold back in its territory migrants flowing into Mexico who are trying to reach the United States.

As it is known, President Lopez Obrador reached a rapid agreement with Washington for new control measures in Mexico’s southern border, deactivating  ( but for how long) the threat posed by the U.S. President. The result has been the militarization of the south of the Republic and an increase in the victimization of migrants who are coming, particularly, from Central America.

This is a serious and shameful event since armed conflicts ended in Central America 25 years ago but the truth is that violence still prevails. There are no dictatorships or civil wars today but other equally harmful phenomena, such as drug trafficking mafias or violence from the mara gangs. The result is that Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are today among the most dangerous countries with most violent homicides in the world.

In this context, they have become expellers of population. This is the phenomenon of forced migration, a consequence of generalized violence and the lack of capacity of the governmetns to protect their citizens. This is why hundreds of thousands of people are arriving in the southern border of Mexico. They are people who undergone a serious situation of vulnerability and victimization with no options other than to flee for their lives.

Among the most vulnerable people are the unaccompanied children, families in transition who are at the risk of being separated and the LGBTI community. They all seek refuge but most of the time it is denied. It is important to point out that violence is not something that occurred propelling them to leave their country of origin but it is also what they face during the whole journey.

I can go into details about this reality because, together with colleagues and thanks to the Social Commitment Unit of the University of Girona, I work on a project aimed at supporting non-profit organizations defending the human rights of these groups of people. This activity is carried out at Tapachula city, close to the Suchiapa River which divides Guatemala and Mexico and very close to Arriaga, which is the starting point of the train called The Beast because it is loaded with migrants without identity papers.

Given Trump’s threats and the measures taken by Lopez Obrador to calm the rage of the first one, all colleagues at Tapachula say the same thing; the hell lived by migrants at Mexico’s southern border will only get worse. The lesson is always the same: the weak are the ones that always suffer the consequences.

Source: El Periodico, translation, Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau