This past Wednesday Presidential hopeful Donald Trump and Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto held a joint press conference in Mexico City after meeting individually. As two of the most widely disliked politicians in the United States and Mexico, the pair fell short of improving their popularity.
At the beginning of his introduction, Peña Nieto stressed the importance of transparency and constantly revisiting the relationship between the two nations to ensure a positive future.
“Any close relationship needs to be visited and renewed from time to time. We always need to be open to discuss what has worked and what hasn’t,” Peña Nieto said at the press conference.
If there’s one thing that hasn’t worked, it’s been Peña Nieto. The displeasure against him is strong and growing, reflected in the 74 percent of Mexican citizens who disapprove of the job he is doing, according to reports from the AP earlier this month.
Not only that, but Peña Nieto came under fire last month for a $7 million house his wife bought from a government contractor under questionable circumstances. And just when it seemed like things couldn’t possibly get worse, a scathing report from Carmen Aristegui uncovered that Peña Nieto had plagiarized 28 percent of his college thesis at the Universidad Panamericana. Displeasure with Peña Nieto has grown steadily since the disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College in September of 2014, who to this day remain missing.
While Mexico’s citizens have demonstrated their discontent with both Peña Nieto and Trump, the Latinx community in the United States hasn’t been shy about their disdain for the presidential hopeful either, evident in the 80 percent of Latinxs who have a negative view of the Republican nominee.
Trump wasted no time in pitting the Latinx community against himself when he announced his campaign last year, following the announcement with a series of false comments connecting crime and violence to Mexican immigrants. In referring to Mexican immigrants, Trump went on to say, “Theyre bringing drugs. Theyre bringing crime. Theyre rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
During his press conference with Peña Nieto, Trump seemed to have a change of heart. Instead explaining, “And I happen to have a tremendous feeling for Mexican Americans not only in terms of friendships, but in terms of the tremendous numbers that I employ in the United States and they are amazing people, amazing people.”
This sort of praise holds little weight as Trump continues to stress the construction of a 1,900-mile wall along the southern border of the U.S. to thwart immigration. While former Mexican presidents Vincente Fox and Felipe Calderón have adamantly expressed that Mexico would not pay for the wall, Peña Nieto has yet to address the issue publicly, further contributing to his downward spiraling approval ratings.
If one thing is for certain, it’s that the citizens of Mexico and the Latinx community in the United States want a positive, hopeful future to look forward to. A future that has no room for a president who has watched silently as more than 52,000 of his citizens have been killed, or a would-be president who, “is still proposing the largest mass deportations in U.S. history… denying citizenship to 4.5 million children who have at least one undocumented parent and canceling Obama’s executive actions to defer deportation for some undocumented immigrants,” according to Jorge Ramos.
On Nov. 8 of next year the people of the United States will have the fate of the future in their hands. As uncertainty about what that future will hold, Mexico’s citizens and the Latinx community in the U.S. are certain that Trump cannot be apart of it.
Parker Asmann is an Editorial Board Member for the Chicago-based publication El BeiSMan as well as a regular contributor to The Yucatan Times located in Merida, Mexico. He graduated from DePaul University in 2015 with degrees in journalism and Spanish, as well as a minor in Latin American Studies.