Mexicans on Trump’s election: ‘The power he has over us is terrifying’

We hear how the US president-elect is viewed on both sides of the border where he has promised to build a wall

President-elect Donald Trump has promised to build a wall along the border between the US and Mexico. After his electoral triumph over Hillary Clinton, many are wondering whether hell actually pull this off, or any of his other controversial pledges.

Mexicans, along with many other minorities in the US, were railed against by Trump during his campaign. In the run-up to the election, he vowed to rid the US of bad hombres. Yet despite this adding to his record of xenophobic language, Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States.

The real estate billionaire promised to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) on grounds that it favoured Mexico at the expense of US workers. He has also threatened to tax the money sent home from the US by Mexican migrants to pay, in part, for the aforementioned wall.

We spoke to Mexicans in the US and Mexico about the election of Trump, and how they think his presidency might affect their lives. Heres what they said.

Americans underestimate the consequences that damaging our economic ties can have on them

I feel shocked, saddened, dismayed and deeply disappointed. As bad as that sounds, the worst part is feeling powerless. We dont have a say in an event that can have catastrophic consequences to our economy. In the US we are seen as collateral damage. Even those opposing Trump seem indifferent to the economic and human pain this situation can inflict on us.

I understand the economic pain that people in the rust belt are feeling. Successful trade agreements transfer some jobs from one country to another but are net job creators to all involved countries. Under Nafta, the US gained jobs in the south at the expense of the rust belt. Similarly, Mexicos north gained and the south has suffered, but this is the result of failed compensating measures within both countries. Nafta boosted wealth across the subcontinent. Cutting ties with Mexico will also harm the US. It surprises me that during the campaign no one pointed this out and Americans perceive that trade is a zero-sum game.

If, as president, Trump adopts a pragmatic stance, the damage can be limited to a further decline in my purchasing power owing to the peso devaluation and a difficult business environment while expectations are better anchored. If he feels obligated to deliver on the promises made to his voters and revokes Nafta, things could be much worse.

Our government has little leverage because Americans underestimate the consequences that damaging our economic ties can have on them. They are self absorbed and busy inflicting pain on one another.

Enrique, 53, Mexico City

Deportations of Mexicans … will probably send us into an even deeper recession

The power Trump has over us, over our economy, over our geography, our perception of our freedom of movement, over the way the world will see us is terrifying and he is not even the president yet.

Today we woke up to find the exchange rate at 20.50 pesos for the dollar. We went from 18.70 per dollar on election day, to 20.20 yesterday and 20.50 today. Its expected to reach 30 by the end of the year. We have been humiliated in front of the world.

The deportations of many Mexicans, who live and work in the United States, who send money home and who contribute tremendously in that way to our economy will probably send us into an even deeper recession.

We are more than willing to welcome in any American who wishes to make Mexico their home for the next four years, bring your families, come live here, bring your dollars, help us out. We are a friendly, welcoming country with amazing weather, fantastic food, great cities with interesting museums and landmarks and restaurants and cafes. We hope they will seriously consider it. That goes for British people who want to escape the post-Brexit UK.

In our collective imagination, the American democracy was something to aspire to. The spell has been broken in many ways. In Mexico, even the least educated among us believe this man to be a buffoon. His ideas are uninspired and poorly expressed, that his misogyny is worse than any machismo we have ever seen. We are surprised by how much and how many Americans love him, adore him.

We are now wondering where to turn to for inspiration and what way of life and ideology will now inspire us.

Is this America? we ask ourselves.

Flor, Mexico City

He has created a dangerous stereotype of Latinos in the US

I have a visa and I can travel throughout the US whenever I want, which is a lot. But I am concerned of the increase of hate or that as a result of the stereotype. I live in Cancn, a place visited by a lot of American tourists. I worry that they will think that I am undocumented, or that they think I am a drug dealer or a rapist.

It is not fair that a presidential candidate has blamed Mexico because of issues they have. He has created a dangerous stereotype of Latinos in the US. Yes, there are a lot of undocumented migrants, but a lot of us are living legally in the US.

Many drugs go the US through the Mexico border, but what they forget is the US is the first drug consumer worldwide. What they dont say is that they are in part responsible for the drug cartel violence in some areas.

In Mexico we make jokes about it. We now say that we are no longer the country with the stupidest president in the world.

Milton, Cancn

The silver lining is that Mexico perceives Trump as a common enemy

Factional politics in Mexico can find common ground to make front to his politics and maybe force the common efforts by different parties before the 2018 Mexican presidential election. I really hope Margarita Zavala will engage in alliances with other parties to win the presidency.

Mexico will suffer irremediably if Trump imposes tariffs on imports renegotiating Nafta for example or tax the remittances. The fiscal situation in Mexico is already strained owing to low oil prices and corrupt politicians with vast regions of the country in hands of narcos or organised crime. Trump adds chaos to the already dismal state of government with inept and corrupt politicians like President Enrique Pea Nieto and the foreign secretary, Claudia Ruiz Massieu.

Prices are going to soar, inflation and currency devaluation will spike making day-to-day expenses more difficult. Recession is already showing its claws and jobs cuts are on the rise in major banks as we speak.

The silver lining is that Mexico perceives Trump as a common enemy.

Federico, Mexico City

Hillary Clinton ended up being popular in the wrong country

At first it was a feeling of disbelief, then it was a surprise we did not stop laughing with all the irony. In Mexico those fear campaigns of the media work very well, its surprising that they wouldnt work at all in the US. All that money spent to promote Clinton and his hate campaign would have been used for something useful. Hillary Clinton ended up being popular in the wrong country.

Many things could change in Mexico. If Trump complies with the construction of his wall, good things could happen in Mexico. The reactivation of the local economy destroyed by Nafta, the reactivation of small businesses currently neutralised by big foreign corporations.

If the wall is also for the Mexican oligarchy, it could fall from power and give way to a leftwing government that Mexico needs so badly. The fall of the government without the support of Washingtons neoliberals would be wonderful.

I hope that Trump will comply in the destruction of Nafta and keep away US corporations and mining companies that have damaged our country so badly.

After that, I hope that he fulfils a good relationship with Mexico without interventionism or imperialism: simply keep away and in peace.

Chio, Mexico City

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/13/mexicans-on-trumps-election-the-power-he-has-over-us-is-terrifying

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