Oh my Gosh!
The advent of Donald Trump as U.S. presidential candidate is forcing Enrique Peña Nieto to appeal to long forgotten Mexican politicos to confront the nasty gringo entrepreneur-turned-politician with equally nasty Mexican ones.
Suddenly on Wednesday, once infamous Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) career politician Humberto Roque Villanueva reappeared on the scene to defend the nation in his role as undersecretary of Population, Migration and Religious Matters.
Villanueva has held this position at the Interior Secretariat for over a year, but his tenure has been one of keeping a low profile, leaving secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong to do the talking on all subjects related to Gobernación.
Yet, Roque Villanueva reappeared to publicly announce that Mexico is readying for a potential victory by Trump come the November elections and it is taking actions on two fronts.
One, which is under Villanueva’s duties as Migration undersecretary, is to ready the nation for a potential massive deportation of undocumented workers and bear the financial brunt that the application of taxation to remittances may mean to the finances of Mexicans who receive them.
Also, Villanueva says that President Peña already made abrupt but radical changes at the Mexican Embassy in Washington by removing his buddy and former mentor Miguel Basañez Ebergenyi and replacing him with Carlos Sada Solana, a man who knows the ropes in the consulates.
This is all fine and dandy except for the fact that it was Roque Villanueva who was announcing the new official anti-Trump preventive strategy. Villanueva’s presence indeed has a double-entendre meaning and a warning to U.S. diplomacy of the shape of things to come should there be a Roque versus Donald clash.
Indeed, when Roque Villanueva was appointed to his new post in 2015, the announcement went unnoticed. In fact, he had been out of political sight for nearly 20 years. Many political observers are still trying to find an explanation as to why this political mummy was pulled out of the Pantheon of the Cursed and revived.
In case you’re wondering about who this formerly revived politician is, well, his most infamous stint came on March 17, 1995, when as the head of the PRI at the Chamber of Deputies he shoved a 50 percent increase down the throats of Mexicans on the value added tax on most merchandise.
And the way of celebrating was a mockingly nasty gesture — for years known as the Roque Sign or roqueseñal — in which then Deputy Villanueva told the rest of his peer in Congress, with the obscene sign, we’ve just screwed you.
This gesture, typical of lewd Mexico, is carried out by bending your arms, clenching your fists, and pull backwards several times. It means a male has done sexual intercourse with a female.
The one difference is that the sign was aimed at the non-PRI deputies who voted against the VAT increase.
The citizenry was finally to pay for the broken dishes left behind by the Carlos Salinas de Gortari administration which ended on November 1994 and left the nation bankrupt.
The increase on the VAT was adding insult to injury to an economically battered population and on top, there was Roque Villanueva, on behalf of then President Ernesto Zedillo and the PRI, telling the Mexican people “we’ve screwed you again,” literally.
To many of us who have a good memory, the revival of Roque Villanueva is definitely a sign that Peña Nieto has run out of talented and trustworthy people within the PRI and is resorting to reviving some of the old ones.
Who ever said the old PRI was on the way out? Definitely not Roque Villanueva or, for that matter, President Peña Nieto who disinterred Roque from political oblivion.
One virtue Roque has in this new role is that he is nastier than Donald Trump, and that’s something!