Mexico's new president sounds a lot like Trump on border security
American progressives are in danger of their own heads exploding, which must explain why they are ignoring the latest news from Mexico. AMLO, AKA Andrés Manuel López-Obrador, Mexico's leftist president-elect, seems to understand the importance of secure borders, disappointing his leftist counterparts in the United States, who are all for open borders.
Mexico's President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is planning his own border police force to stop undocumented immigrants [sic], drugs and guns from crossing into the country from Central America, his future chief of public security said.
Picked by Lopez Obrador, Alfonso Durazo stressed that the new force would be part of a larger regional development effort to ease the poverty and violence that lead so many Central Americans to cross into Mexico. The police corps will be sizable, he said, and will be deployed to Mexico's northern border as well. He declined to offer more specifics as the details are still being decided.
"We're going to create a border police force that will be highly specialized," Durazo said in an interview. "They need to apply the law," including stopping undocumented migrants and human traffickers from crossing into Mexico, which Durazo says often takes place with the help of corrupt officials.
President-Elect Andrés Manuel López-Obrador of Mexico.
Photo credit: Eneas De Troya via Wikimedia Commons.
That sounds positively Trumpian. And, to the shock and dismay of American progs who peddle the notion that Trump hates Hispanics, it appears that Trump and AMLO are off to a cordial start:
Trump congratulated Lopez Obrador via Twitter late on July 1, saying he "look[ed] very much forward to working with him."
The next day, Lopez Obrador said he had a "respectful" phone call with Trump and said his team was "conscious of the need to maintain good relations with the United States.
That can be dismissed as boilerplate politeness as a new chief executive takes over a neighboring country. But there are signs that the two men are finding a lot more common ground than a simplistic left-right spectrum framework would suggest:
Trump apparently feels some kind of affinity for Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the leftist politician known as "AMLO" who won an overwhelming victory in Mexico's July 1 presidential election.
The US president sees some "of his renegade self in AMLO," writes Mark Feierstein in an article for Americas Quarterly. Feierstein was senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs on the National Security Council during the Obama Administration and is now a senior adviser at the Albright Stonebridge Group.
Trump has even taken to calling Mexico's president-elect "Juan Trump" in private, a senior government official told Feierstein.
As mayor of Mexico City, AMLO showed a pragmatic bent. As a leftist, he may have cover to make hard decisions that would be denounced as heartless should a conservative advocate the same policies. And even more fundamentally, if he wants to be effective in improving lives for Mexicans, he will have to take on Mexico's version of the D.C. swamp – a corrupt establishment that rules no matter which party has power. In Mexico, the Caucasian descendants of the Spanish elite, joined by other European heritage immigrants, runs a country populated by a majority of indigenous stock.
Many years ago, this came through to me in vivid terms when I visited a large factory in Mexico, employing thousands of people to manufacture products intended for the U.S. market. The management team were all tall, well dressed males who spoke good to excellent English and exuded European charm. Over lunch, they explained their operation and strategy, and then they took me on a tour of the vast factory floor. As I looked out from an elevated vantage point, I could see that everyone laboring there was of indigenous heritage, at least a foot shorter than the executives, with round faces and brown skin. It was apartheid unlike anything I had ever seen in a comparable U.S. operation.
What American progressives do not understand about President Trump is that he sincerely wants Mexico's new president to serve Mexico's interests and lead his country to economic development that will keep people happy at home. I would guess that he expressed this in no uncertain terms in that initial phone call and that AMLO believed him – at least for now, until contrary evidence develops.
Nothing is certain, and events may intervene to sour the relationship. But for now, at least, Mexico's swamp-fighter is finding common ground with America's anti-establishment president.