The western media have had relatively little to say about Mexico electing an openly socialist president on Monday, other than to gloat at this aspect of his campaign:
Mr López Obrador was scathing in his criticism of US President Donald Trump during his campaign, something that analysts say won him extra votes from Mexicans angry at the insults Mr Trump had aimed at Mexicans.
The media have yet to acknowledge the catastrophe hard-left policies have brought about in Venezuela, in part because they were busy cheering on Hugo Chavez in his early days; it’s going to be interesting what mental gymnastics they perform covering this new guy in Mexico. Note that this has received very little coverage:
More than 100 politicians in Mexico have been killed since September in the lead-up to the country’s election this Sunday, and more than 13,000 Mexicans have been killed since January.
100 politicians murdered in the run-up to elections? I think this warrants a sturdier description than “a campaign marred by violence”, as the BBC puts it. Contrast this with the sneering which takes place when Russians go to the polls and put Putin back in office.
The fact is, Mexico is a failed state in a low-level civil war, and has been for some time. The ruling classes have reached an understanding with the drug cartels that if the former get left alone to run the capital, the latter can have a free reign everywhere else. Trump gets this, which is why he railed so hard against Mexico during his campaign, much to the annoyance of the country’s president and former president who like many others were not expecting a White House incumbent to speak the truth so bluntly.
Trump also realises how this is linked to both NAFTA and immigration. Mexico does very well out of being able to build stuff using cheap labour and flog it to the United States, as well as shift on goods imported to Mexico for the sole purpose of ending up over the border. While it may bring the costs of goods down in the US, it’s had the effect of destroying industries and employment – especially in industries which regulation has made prohibitively expensive in the US. By relocating to Mexico, a company can halve its costs and avoid US regulations. Everyone wins, except those who’ve lost their jobs thanks to people in Washington DC and New York who would despise them if they knew they existed. And it was they who voted for Trump by the million.
The immigration issue is more serious, though:
Mexican presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) said Tuesday that migrants from all over the world who decide it’s “a necessity” have a “human right” to migrate to the United States.
“Soon, very soon, after the victory of our movement, we will defend migrants all over the American continent and the migrants of the world who, by necessity, must abandon their towns to find life in the United States,” Lopez Obrador said during a rally in the Mexican city of Culiacán, eluniversal.com reports.
For decades successive Mexican governments have relied on the leaky border with the US to avoid undertaking desperately-needed reforms in their own country. So long as the US can provide economic opportunities for Mexicans who support their families with remittances, there is no incentive for the Mexican government to run the place competently. In effect, a porous border and lack of immigration enforcement in the US acts as a pressure relief valve for Mexican idiocy, but it’s placing an ever-increasing cost on the US which cheap gardeners and docile maids are no longer able to offset.
Trump understood this way back in his campaign, hence the refrain about building a wall. For all those wailing at him, few acknowledge the appalling mismanagement that has gone on in Mexico from one generation to the next, but the election of Obrador is going to force this into sharp focus. If this new chap starts enacting hard-left policies as he’s promising, the numbers pouring over the border will increase exponentially regardless of whether the Mexican government is encouraging it or not. I think we’re going to see attitudes to illegal immigration in the US harden yet further, and in a few years Trump’s current stance might look almost liberal. The call for a proper border, perhaps with deployment of the military, will get louder until it’s impossible to ignore. I’d not be surprised if this becomes the biggest political issue in the US by the 2024 presidential election. It’s ironic that the election of one of Trump’s biggest critics on immigration might well be the one most responsible for finally getting his wall built.