Though in theory last Sunday Mexico marched united against Donald Trump’s “fascist” antics, in practice the demonstrators were utterly divided and even against each other.
What caused the division among the 18,000 (police appraisal) protesters in Mexico City was the organizers themselves, for politically-oriented individuals who forgot the motive of the demonstration.
Two or maybe three groups headed by different women with political careers verbally clashed head-on during the event held during the early afternoon on Mexico City’s main thoroughfare, Paseo de la Reform.
One of the marches was organized by Laura Elena Herrejón who marched under the banner of “United Mexicans” who argued that their objective was to repudiate Donald Trump’s personality and nothing else. Now, Ms. Herrejón is a well-known activist for President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and defied the other side to link the march as a protest against President Peña Nieto’s economic and political policies because “dirty linen is washed at home.”
Also organizing this particular “faction” of the demonstration was Isabel Miranda de Wallace, a woman who has carried out a campaign against kidnappers in Mexico after losing a son to organized criminals, whom she finally managed to get locked up. She participated in the last election for Mexico City mayor representing the National Action Party (PAN.) Their joint march included around 300 followers, a clear minority.
The other group called #VibraMexico was organized by María Elena Morera which besides bashing Trump, their war cries also included offenses against President Peña Nieto and saying no to the gasoline price hikes (gasolinazo) that have annoyed most Mexicans.
The sour point of the march came when Ms. Morera and her group confronted Wallace (by far better known than the organizer Herrejón) for organizing a demonstration at the same time as the one that included the anti-Peña protesters.
Morera instigated her followers to start verbally abusing Ms. Wallace calling her “assassin” and “criminal” which forced Wallace to leave the Angel of Independence, where the two groups came together, in a hurry and protected by several bodyguards.
Still that did not break up the march which continued down Reforma Avenue now with the participants fully venting their wrath not only at Trump, but at President Peña Nieto, making it clear that this was not a demonstration to support Peña Nieto, but to question his administration.
“No to the Gasolinazo” read many signs as well as “Out with Peña.”
The real question is why did Morera and Wallace organize a small-fry march knowing that there was a larger demonstration under organization in the web under the hashtag #VibraMexico? Perhaps to show that Mexicans were behind their president, like him or not, particularly nowadays when Mexico’s finest ally, the United States of America, is apparently turning against it.
The virulent reaction from Herrejón’s #VibraMexico “faction” (if ideology had anything to do with the demonstrations) toward Morera and Wallace’s group showed the deep division out there on Reforma among Mexicans who would have liked to show Donald Trump a united front. But this did not happen in what turned out to be the largest demonstration in the nation.
There were approximately 20 demonstrations in cities throughout Mexico but the Mexico City one got the bulk of the attention. The political not just anti-Trump but also anti-Peña Nieto sentiment prevailed in one degree or another in all of them but in all of them one thing was clear:
Mexicans are anti-Trump, not pro-Peña Nieto.
The one question remaining is if he wants the support of the people why now at moments of diplomatic and economic distress didn’t Peña Nieto himself call for the support of Mexicans?
The answer is that he did not, but had he gone publicly anti-Trump, most likely a scant group of government paid officials would have shown up.