The News
Wednesday 24 of April 2024

Silence and Unity

Luis Videgaray and Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong with Rex Tillerson and John Kelly,photo: Cuartoscuro/SRE
Luis Videgaray and Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong with Rex Tillerson and John Kelly,photo: Cuartoscuro/SRE
The form of things to come in the Mexico-United States relations has… toned down

Two major events occurred Tuesday regarding the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The most significant event came at the end of the day when in his 59 minute speech to Congress —25 minutes of speech and 34 of Republicans applauding— President Donald Trump rehashed all of his campaign speeches and promises but he did not mention neither Mexico nor NAFTA even if he once again promised to “build a beautiful, beautiful wall along the Southern border.”

Clearly, Trump is going to lay off bashing Mexico and Mexicans and NAFTA will go into a much needed renegotiation without the very improper name calling by the leader of the free world.

That was indeed a major event.

The other one happened in Mexico at the Chamber of Senators in Mexico City where Foreign Relations Secretary (SRE) Luis Videgaray spent four grueling hours informing the whole of the Senate about what he’s been doing regarding the “Trump threat” since he became Foreign Relations Secretary on Jan. 4. This session of the Senate took place before the Trump speech to the U.S. Congress.

Videgaray had to answer all of the accusations from Senators who do not care for and do not agree with President Enrique Peña Nieto (namely senators Manuel Bartlett, Layla Sansores, Dolores Padierna and Gabriela Cueva) who on a daily basis accuse Peña Nieto of “pussyfooting” when attacked by President Trump.

Videgaray, addressing the above-mentioned senators by name, defended Peña Nieto telling them, “Let there be no confusing the good forms of democracy and diplomacy with infirmity. Let there be no confusing prudence with lack of clarity. Let there be no confusing between lacks of stridency with lack of strategy. The President of Mexico and his government are confronting a historic challenge with a clear vision and a clear strategy.”

Videgaray named two issues that were up front for the Mexican government: the fate of millions of Mexicans who live undocumented in the United States, and the future NAFTA negotiations.

On defending the migrants —a relevant source of income through remittances— Videgaray said that, “We shall not hesitate to go to international organizations and the U.S. authority itself if the civil rights of undocumented migrants are trampled on.” That includes the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights.

And on NAFTA, Videgaray mentioned Mexico’s positioning:

“Mexico wants to continue in a relationship of ample collaboration, of close communication, but for that it is necessary that the integral relationship be genuine, of association, of constructive dialogue in which we leave behind threats and offenses.”

On several occasions he mentioned the recent visit of U.S. secretaries of State and Homeland Security Rex Tillerson and John Kelly to President Peña Nieto in which the President drew the line in what is acceptable and what is not.

At that moment on Tuesday,Videgaray did not know it, but perhaps Tillerson and Kelly requested President Trump to lay off Mexico and NAFTA. Mexico also requested respect for the 2004 Totalizing Agreement in which the economic rights of deported migrants are respected in terms of recovering savings and social security benefits.

Videgaray told Senators that regarding NAFTA, Mexico is open to “any modification that does not imply damage. If it’s something that detracts the essence of benefits for our nation, it is preferable then not to be in NAFTA. The President would not admit it and I am sure the Senate either.”

Most important for President Enrique Peña Nieto was that all of the different ideological factions in the Senate acknowledged that this moment in history is one of protecting the nation and not of political differences and bickering. The Senate showed unity behind the Administration in these times of confusion and distress that arose from the recent U.S. electoral campaign and its outcome.

The form of things to come in the Mexico-United States relations has… toned down.