The News
The News
Wednesday 23 of September 2020

Mystery Dinner

Carlos Slim,photo: Flickr
Carlos Slim,photo: Flickr
Was Slim representing the interests of the Mexican government and President Enrique Peña Nieto?

Last weekend’s six-hour long meeting between U.S. president-elect Donald Trump and Mexico’s richest man Carlos Slim is not, strangely enough, the talk of the day in Mexico. The twosome dined at the Mar-A-Lago resort Trump owns in Florida.

But the surprisingly scant commentaries on the meet — which was widely covered by The Washington Post and The New York Times — can be interpreted definitely NOT as official business. It was what it was, a business, not a political meeting.

First of all, it was almost secretly brought about. On Dec. 9, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski quietly visited Mexico and Carlos Slim. His objective was for Slim to come to dinner with Trump at the Palm Beach resort — an invitation Slim immediately accepted. This gathering was apparently mediated by American Society of Mexico president Larry Rubin.

That is just about all that’s public knows. In many ways the Trump invitation was rare because over the electoral campaign both businessmen had frontal clashes which got underway with Trump venting out his hatred for Mexican undocumented border crossers whom he deemed as “rapists and drug dealers.” Slim answered immediately by cancelling a contract with Trump for the Miss Universe contest on Univisión, where Slim apparently has vested interests.

Slim also sternly criticized Trump’s economic policies of slapping countervailing duties on all goods produced in Mexico literally saying that if Trump did this, he would send the United States into bankruptcy.

There’s more but why go into it if certainly in their gathering last weekend they must have settled the score and much more (a lot of talking can be done in six hours), mainly if there is a pre-arranged agenda as there surely was.

“U.S. President-elect Trump was kind enough to invite Carlos Slim to a very cordial dinner, with a very good animus for Mexico,” Elías Ayub, Slim’s son-in-law tweeted in Spanish on Monday.

The truth of the meet is that nobody knows what these two talked about and what role Carlos Slim — if any — is now playing for the Mexican government, with President Enrique Peña Nieto being the great absentee at dinner.

Nobody believes they talked business simply because from now on Trump can’t do personal business with anybody unless he’s willing to knowingly breach the U.S. Constitution, which this apparently mad-cap president-elect is competent at doing. So in theory the “doing business” interpretation of the gathering is out.

Then what? Was Slim representing the interests of the Mexican government and President Enrique Peña Nieto who is apparently slated to have a similar gathering with Trump before Jan. 20?

Definitely, Slim cannot represent the interests of President Peña Nieto particularly at a moment in which his entire economic and diplomatic cabinet is setting up defenses to protect as much as possible the potential economic damage Trump has threatened to do to Mexico.

Did Slim consult his visit to Trump with Peña Nieto? He definitely didn’t have to as this was a very personal invitation, but in reinterpreting Ayub’s tweet there was a good mood between them “for Mexico,” whatever that may have meant.

Furthermore both Trump and Slim have kept tight lips on the nature of their conversation but it will not come as a surprise that Trump, now down from the arrogance street car he rode during the campaign, may have come to reality regarding the bilateral business and political nature of the two nations, which obviously Slim understands a lot better than Trump.

People are reading between the lines wondering if former Mexican Treasury and Public Finance Secretary (SHCP) Luis Videgaray and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who framed Trump’s visit to Peña Nieto last Aug. 31 had anything to do with the meeting this time. Apparently the answer is no, they were left out of the mediation.

For all we known it was “a cordial dinner” (six-hours?) that smoothed relations between Mexico and Donald Trump, as Mexico has no problems with the United States.

Larry Rubin, by the way, was quoted as saying that they did talk about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but at this point neither Trump nor Slim have any authority in doing anything about it.

Indeed there is still a shroud of mystery about the Mar-A-Lago affair!