Mexican politicians, commentators and media have hit back at President Donald Trump’s formal launch of his US-Mexico border wall project, calling it the act of an “enemy” and “unworthy” of the United States.
Shortly after President Trump signed an executive order for “the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border”, prominent Mexicans began reacting with outrage.
“From threat to reality: Trump’s words about the wall,” Mexican newspaper Milenio headlined its story, publishing a string of past tweets from the US president to show how he was following through on his pledge to bolster border security, crack down on illegal immigration, and shift investments and jobs back to the US.
‘Hostile and enemy act’
Left-wing daily La Jornada featured the president’s confident assertion to ABC TV that the border wall would be constructed quickly, with Mexico expected to pick up the bill.
“Trump: the wall, in ‘months’; Mexico will pay 100 per cent”, it reported.
Senator Armando Rios Piter called Mr Trump’s announcement a “hostile and enemy act” and urged Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to stay away from a scheduled meeting with the new US president, scheduled for 31 January.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a former Mexican presidential candidate and leader of the left-wing opposition party National Regeneration Movement, MORENA, portrayed Mr Trump’s plan as an act of aggression.
“President Trump: your wall attacks us and leaves the [US] Statute of Liberty as a myth. We’ll go to the international courts. Long live fraternity,” he wrote on his @lopezobrador Twitter account.
Influential Mexican journalist Leon Krauze also took to Twitter, calling the announcement a day that was “unworthy of America’s foundation #AmericanWall”.
‘Spit in face’
Prominent Mexican political analyst Jesus Silva-Herzog Marquez called it an “announcement of a humiliation”, and appeared unimpressed by Mr Trump’s offer of a “win-win” relationship between the two neighbours.
“Trump offers a sweet to Pena Nieto, while not hiding the stick,” he tweeted.
Major newspapers and commentators noted that Mr Trump’s executive order coincided with a visit to Washington DC by two of Mexico’s President Pena Nieto’s top envoys – Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Videgaray and Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo.
The former president of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, Agustin Basave, said on his Twitter account that Mr Videgaray – who organised a meeting between Mr Pena Nieto and Mr Trump last year – should cancel his trip.
“Trump welcomes his friend @LVidegaray by spitting in his face,” he said.
Not the solution
Earlier in the day, when Mexican newspapers were already braced for Mr Trump’s announcement, leading daily La Reforma also highlighted the fact the announcement coincided with the pair’s visit to Washington.
“They run into the wall,” the newspaper’s print edition headline observed.
The governor of the central Mexican state of Guanajuato, Miguel Marquez, added his voice to those calling for Mr Videgaray and Mr Guajardo to cut short their official trip to Washington for the sake of national honour.
In a radio interview, he said Mexico should keep “its head held high” and act “with dignity”.
On the prospect of the two ministers returning from the US early, he said such a move would not be “breaking ties” but said of the Mr Trump: “This is not how you should receive us”.
Mexico’s outrage also appeared to be shared by Latin American leaders meeting at a regional summit in Dominican Republic.
“A wall is not the solution to migration,” Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, said from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) summit, cited by pan-American TV news network TeleSUR.