Seeking to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship.
President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and other top officials here Wednesday amid fresh strains over possible steel and aluminum tariffs and the ongoing feud about a border wall.
Kushner, a senior adviser to Trump, has been the designated point person for the United States’ relationship with Mexico since the 2016 presidential campaign. But ties have become more complicated in recent weeks, given that the White House recently downgraded Kushner’s security clearance, raising questions about how effective he might be in a meeting with a head of state or whether there are key issues he might not be informed about.
What appeared to be undetonated explosives were found on a ferry that runs between the Caribbean resorts of Playa del Carmen and the island of Cozumel, authorities in Mexico said Friday, less than two weeks after a blast shook another ferry plying the same route.
Quintana Roo state prosecutor Miguel Angel Pech Cen said in interviews with Mexican media that the boat was anchored 500 yards (meters) from the Cozumel dock and was not in service when the object was discovered Thursday. He said a company diver reported the object, and Mexican navy divers removed it and handed it over to the Defense Department for analysis.
The Wilson Center and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs are pleased to invite you to an event on public opinion on U.S.-Mexico relations. Over the last two to three decades, public opinion in the bilateral relationship has risen and fallen, and U.S.-Mexico relations have hit a rough patch since the election of Donald Trump. Today, Mexican public opinion of the United States has fallen to a historic low; however, U.S. opinion of Mexico is quite strong and on the rise.
Join us as we discuss two reports on U.S.-Mexico public opinion. The first, A Critical Juncture: Public Opinion in U.S.-Mexico Relations, reviews U.S. and Mexican perceptions of their neighboring country, first looking at broad attitudes and then delving into important topics in the bilateral relationship. The second, a report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, and Buendía & Laredo, For the First Time, A Majority of Mexicans Hold Unfavorable Views of United States, examines the phenomenon of declining Mexican public opinion of the United States, while American views of Mexico have become more favorable since all-time lows recorded in 2013. With NAFTA negotiations in the background, both Mexicans and Americans have come to believe that NAFTA has been beneficial to their countries.
Moderator: Duncan Wood, Director, Mexico Institute
Christopher Wilson, Deputy Director, Mexico Institute
Dina Smeltz, Senior Fellow on Public Opinion and Foreign Policy, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross published an important op-ed (These NAFTA rules are killing our jobs) in the Washington Post this past Friday, September 22nd. In it, he claims to offer a serious analysis to show that the trade deficit with Mexico and Canada and lower U.S. value-added in Mexican and Canadian U.S. imports are proof the United States is losing under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Secretary Ross aims to end the “loose talk” about industrial integration for automobile production in the region.
The problem with the article and the U.S. Department of Commerce paper it is based on is that they cherry pick statistics out of the March 2017, Trade in Value-Added (TiVA) database by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in an attempt to confirm the Trump’s administration bias that trade deficits are bad and lead to job losses. This wrongheaded approach (the trade deficit with Mexico does not harm the United States) does a growing disservice to the comprehension of the importance of international trade for the economy and further politicizes the issue. More worryingly, it shows civil service officers can be influenced so that their analysis comports with White House views on trade.
Afew months ago, at Mexico City’s Auditorio Nacional, workers were cleaning up after a triumphant viewing of “L’Elisir d’Amore,” broadcast live from the Metropolitan Opera House. Outside, in the bright sunshine, Reforma Avenue was closed to traffic for a protest. Angry people gathered on the theatre steps, waving Mexican flags and hoisting effigies of Donald Trump, and then began marching toward El Ángel, a century-old monument to Mexican independence. One protester carried a placard that read “Mexico Deserves Respect.” Another held a poster of Trump with a Hitler mustache and the tagline “Twitler.” A local activist known as Juanito carried a large American flag bearing an unflattering image of Trump and the message “Enough! Gringo Racist, Full of Shit Trump, Son of Satan, You’re a Danger to the World.” Juanito said that he was prepared to take up arms against the American incursion, demonstrating his resolve by pointing out the scars of old bullet wounds.
Trump began his assault on Mexico almost as soon as he announced his candidacy for President. In a rambling speech at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015, he blamed Mexico for stealing American jobs, and for allowing its worst elements to cross the border: “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists.” To solve the problem, he pledged, “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall.” These ideas proved popular with Trump supporters, and rants about Mexico were soon a regular feature of his campaign events. As he sharpened his routine, Mexicans became not only rapists and drug dealers but also murderers. Trump promised to overhaul U.S. immigration policy and to deport “bad hombres” by the millions. At rallies, he asked, “Who’s going to pay for the wall?” and the crowds howled back, “Mexico!” If Mexico would not pay, he suggested, he might cancel visas for Mexicans and block migrants living in the U.S. from sending remittances back home.
The Mexico Institute of the Wilson Center is pleased to congratulate Roderic Ai Camp on his award of the Order of the Aztec Eagle. Camp is being honored with the Order of the Aztec Eagle for his contribution to the promotion of Mexican culture in the United States through his work in academia.
The award was created in 1933 by Mexico’s then President Abelardo L. Rodríguez to recognize individuals who had contributed significantly to both Mexico and humanity at large. To this day, the country’s president is the only one who can issue this distinction. The Order of the Aztec Eagle is the highest honor foreigners can receive from the Mexican government.
Roderic Ai Camp is a member of the Mexico Institute’s Advisory Board and a former Mexico Institute Global Fellow. Most recently, the Institute launched his book Mexico: What Everyone Needs to Know.