After much delay the Mexican government has officially spoken about Donald Trump’s proposal of Mexico paying for the wall at the border. Luis Videgaray, one of the strongest and loyal men of the Mexican president, has declared that not “one peso” will be spent on the wall using Mexican people’s money.
Videgaray is the Secretary of Finance in Mexico, all things money goes through him. And there resides the irony of his words – his office and himself have been involved in major corruption controversies. After all, he handles public finances – making Videgaray the man with which Trump will have to face inevitably (If the Donald secures the US presidency, of course).
3 major corruption scandals that make Videgaray’s “no” to Trump’s wall an irony.
Bear in mind the word major, since more allegations abound.
Dubious Mexican presidential campaign money.
As Enrique Peña Nieto’s strong man during the campaign of 2012, he helped secured big-time donors in order to make a dent on then favorite leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. As pressure mounted from special interest groups and the media, Videgaray made cash began to flow. The way he did it is still a polemic debate from Mexican opposition.
Videgaray secured impressive donations from Soriana market store chain (our equivalent of Wal-Mart). It was documented at the time how Videgaray’s party PRI distributed Soriana gift cards with petty cash in exchange for votes. Their campaign also received money from abroad who had interests in not letting Obrador turning Mexico in the next Venezuela. So most of the money he raised was illegal by Mexican electoral law.
Lavish mansions, dirty deeds.
A contractor with shady links to the President of Mexico, and especially Videgaray allegedly bribed them with vast lands and mansions that would make the late Queen of France look modest. Videgaray has his own luxurious mansion at Malinalco small town, while the President and his curvaceous wife have their colossal mansion in the upscale western Mexico City side.
The Mexican First Lady has already explained on national television that they pay with their own money their brand-new house, even when their children (the ones who called poor Mexican people disgusting) go for safari at Africa and do shopping sprees in Beverly Hills. The opposition thinks Videgaray did a good job covering whatever muddy deeds they have done with those contractors.
Controversial energy deals and taxes.
Videgaray has pushed every year for heavy taxes upon an already burdensome Mexican people. He says results will be seen on the long run, but on the short run he has been surrounded with shifty characters involved with corruption in Pemex (the state and only oil company) and other Energy sectors. Many ask where are the taxes he so vehemently rooted for are going. Utility bills are more expensive than ever in Mexico, but it seems that money is going to some pockets – but whose?
Mexican leaders soft spot is not nationalism (we’ve been invaded since 1521) or people’s dissent (hey, they let Texas go after all). All that Mexican government officials and White Mexican elites are money. As simplistic as it sounds it is what has brought misery to Mexico for centuries.
Now that Donald Trump is threatening the status quo not only in America but also in Mexico, Mexican leaders might think it is more troubling to give money for Trump’s wall than to keep purchasing mansions, silence of obscure deals, and political campaigns. If you summed it up, the wall would be a cheaper way out of a spat with Trump than what their mansions cost.
Opposition leaders calculate 10% of public finances in Mexico’s government goes to documented corruption – stealing or bribery. But Videgaray insists he will not pay a single peso from Mexico’s public finances. You see the irony, or at least the moral hypocrisy?
George Lopez just recently uploaded a gory image via his twitter account portraying El Chapo drug lord holding a beheaded Donald Trump. And he’s not the only Mexican in the US making this kind of allegory of drug war terrorism – Univision and Telemundo are doing so too through telenovelas (Mexican soap operas). One thing is portrayal through news outlets but enabling it is wrong. The world is appalled with drug war-related violence, Mexicans should repudiate it too and there are reasons why.
1. Violence generates violence.
As cliché as it sounds, it holds true in Mexico. For years, since the drug war broke in 2003 in Nuevo Laredo, rival groups have used the web to their fear-imposing advantage. Cartels attack each other through videos and imagery of their deeds, while using it as a recruitment tool.
2. Open wounds.
Contrary to the life George Lopez have lived, the bulk of Mexicans in Mexico had to bear for years the traumatic burden of war. Entire cities taken over either by a drug cartel or Mexican army – or both. Lives disrupted forever. Thousands displaced because of massive deaths, kidnappings, and psychological harassment. The war still rages in Mexico and I wonder if sending meme-like images from a cozy celebrity home will make anyone an anti-Donald Trump activist.
3. Bad image
One thing Mexicans and other nations agree is disavowing from violence carried out by small factions or a government. We feel we are not violent, thus spreading this imagery that propagates a wrong idea of who we are. It’s like saying all Americans are KKK members, which is not true. If a Mexican enables this type of images born out of a drug war, then it could seem that he identifies with that violent culture. Does George Lopez buy into this drug cartel terrorism propaganda? I know most Mexicans in Mexico don’t.
4. Insulting to real activists.
Cheap images born out of drug violence undermines honest work made by many activists that fight for the rights of Mexicans or racism against minorities in the US. People have given their life, literally – hence insulting their legacy and their work to bring prosperity to war-thorn Mexico. Many groups in Southern Mexico have rose in arms against bloody drug cartels, meaning people are against this culture of violence. Not repudiating violence in Mexico makes you part of that violence.
5. Not art.
I know art, I am an artist. Actually there is amazing counter-government artwork and street art in Mexico. Propagating hate imagery that was created by violent Mexicans to murder and provoke fear to other Mexicans is supporting it. It’s the same mimic principle done by ISIS terror cells within the US and Europe. So, please – Mexican or not Mexican, don’t do it.
I have suffered from the war in Mexico, people I know have too. It is no laughing matter as it is for George Lopez. I feel personally offended by it, especially coming from a person that could do so much for our people via other fronts — but not with cheap shots. Whatever issues against Donald Trump could be said, it can be said in a vast myriad ways. Especially when the drug war and illegal immigration is the fault of corrupt Mexican government, not Donald Trump.
Jorge Ramos is a great journalist and leading figure of Univision channel, but I’ve never seen anyone (not only him) in the Hispanic media debating so passionately against the government of Mexico and other deeply corrupt and racist state-nations in Latin America. Why is such blunt candor by Ramos so heavy against Donald Trump and not against those like the Mexican leaders, who not only created the conditions of poverty but also advocate for illegal immigration into America.
We all may know now that Jorge Ramos was kicked out by Donald Trump from his own press conference, but afterwards he did have a long and interesting exchange of ideas between the two of them.
Tonight, many feel offended by Trump’s action of “deporting” Jorge Ramos out of his press conference. On the other hand I feel more offended at how the Hispanic media gets touchy with Republican candidate Donald Trump and not with the myriad of corrupt leaders in Mexico. Shouldn’t we be looking first at ourselves? Shouldn’t we Mexicans be more worried about what went wrong in Mexico that created this Illegal Immigration crisis? No one in the Hispanic media cares about pointing fingers south of the border — be that the drug wars, politicians, the racist system, or even economics. For Hispanic and Mexican media it’s all about Trump, like he created the problem.
There is a widespread notion amongst Mexicans that outspoken billionaire Donald Trump is an awful person to lead America. The big reason? Because he’s racist, Mexicans say. And still no Mexican or Hispanic media has ever addressed to diligently the fact that the government of Mexico is racist. Mexican officials, many elected or appointed, are callously racist against natives, Afro-Mexicans (black Mexicans who live in the coasts and Coahuila), and even YES… even against Central American illegal immigrants.
High (very high) officials like Lorenzo Cordova from the National Electoral Institute (INE) was taped in audio mocking indigenous peoples way of talking and their “Lone Ranger” kind of attitude. Did Hispanic Media picked that up the way they’ve done with a still not elected candidate? The Mexican government daily deports illegal immigrants that come mainly from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. And none of the Mexican leaders are called bigots like the Hispanic media and Mexican people is so fascinated in doing so with Donald Trump.
Do you think Donald Trump is racist? Newsflash! Mexican government is far more racists to its own people. He may be loud, and even offensive, but not as racist as Mexican government officials that force people entering from the Southern border to sing the National Anthem to catch undocumented Central Americans.
I’m more scared that Hispanic media and public figures like Jorge Ramos are so focused on Donald Trump instead of the epicenter of all troubles, the overwhelming crooked Mexican government. Mexico is not only a failed state in every sense (I’m a living example after fleeing from the northeastern war-thorn part of Mexico) but leaders and dependencies literally push Mexicans to become illegal immigrants. They paste posters and pay ads that recommend Mexicans what to carry or what to watch out for when traveling up north illegally. Mexico even implemented a group of watchers at some point, who aided migrants with water and food supplies on they way to our northern neighbor… instead of stopping them to care for them here.
Hispanic media should focus more on a government that incites illegal immigration, with all the dangers which it comes with it like rape and murder, instead of the candidate that’s pointing at it. I care for my people, and my heart aches that my brethren have to pass through hell — apparently for Mexico’s leaders their journey may very well be business as usual and good riddance.
Much has been debated in recent days not only by Donald Trump, but by many in the GOP race for the White House. Porous, invisible, non-existant, weak, and open — these are the adjectives associated to the US-Mexico border. What is true and what is not about this hotly debated issue.
By Miguel Omaña.
For years since I was a young child I witnessed a border, no question about that. The limit between both countries does exist, and it is at some point blatantly present. In the case where I lived a river divided both nations, the Rio Grande (or Rio Bravo as it is called by Mexicans). And even when laws, full equipped port of entries, and the Border Patrol has existed, yes, there is a before and after pivotal moment.
The morning that changed the US – Mexico border forever.
The morning of Tuesday September 11th 2001 we woke to a harsh new world, one in which terror and war would reign in never-before seen deadly events. By noon there were rumors the border was going to be shut down. At nightfall the border did not close, but the American side did step up security for good (till our days). Security became strict, even harshly rude towards Mexicans. Two cities once considered sisters were forever seen with distrust thanks to a man inside a cave in Afghanistan, two cities with predominantly high Mexican population.
We used to call ourselves the Two Laredos or Los Dos Laredos. Nuevo Laredo is located in northwestern Tamaulipas state and Laredo situated in Southern Texas. Family and friends sprawl across the border, so much, that the United States government decided pre-9/11 to implement a Border Crossing Card (known as BCC in Department of State lingo or mica in Spanish, which means card). The Border Crossing Card was only for those Mexicans living in the border, so they can cross whenever they want to shop (mhm, mhm, economic boost) and traveling. The photo-issued card was relatively easy to obtain at the US consulate. The rest of the Mexicans needed (and still need) a valid US tourist visa stamped (or rather pasted) on their passports. Basically anyone who lived in the border next to the US could travel into the States.
Stories float about people who used to lend their cards to friends or relatives to go and shop into the US. There was no need to go and stay inside the United States. At least not in a small town like Nuevo Laredo or Laredo. And to go into the rest of the country you need a permit, this would be the second lock because Mexicans need to ask permission at the bridge to go to… say Houston. So the officer would ask you (and still do) exact address and such. A full inspection would come after being approved, with K9 sniffing officers and the whole shebang. Today they use gamma-ray detectors, anti-bomb devices, and the such. If a tire was suspicious to the sweaty officer who’s been under the sun the whole day, he would check it.
The difference 9/11 brought was that the border went into an all-out strict mode. New cards and enhanced visas are swiped like credit cards every time we enter into the United States. If not sure, the officer heavily relies on sending people into “Secondary”, a place where you are sit down and asked to-the-point CSI-like questions. Each entry into the US is saved in the system. And the info can be pulled from any port of entry (not only bridges, but also airports, etc).
One time I crossed through another city, and the officer raised his eyebrows and came towards me with a wary look, “did you cross last week via Laredo?” I was about to answer yes, when he interrupted me with an as-a-matter-of-factly tone, “because the system shows you did.” I explained to him I was visiting that other city, McAllen, Texas. But truthfully I was amazed, and this was a year or so after 9/11.
I know, I know — people can swim.
I tell you about bridges and documents, not only because that is the only way I knew of crossing into the US but also because I worked at a US consulate in Mexico, and became savvy about such things. Yes, yes, Hillary Clinton used to be my boss at some point in my life. But hey, it was an honest paying job and the only time I have ever worked under Uncle Sam’s Old Glory — most Mexican’s dream. Sniff, sniff.
Of course there is a river, one of the most famous ones in the history of mankind — and I know, I know, people can swim. So yes, there were and people are still crossing the river illegally into the United States. Some swim with nothing but one arm while the other grabs a supermarket plastic bag. Others travel across the river on a tire, a piece of wood, you name it — I’ve almost seen it all. One time I saw a man cross the bridge and just did a parkour jump above a high fence a few yards away from Custom officials and cameras. Some just try to cross across the bridge with forged documents and are immediately returned.
After 9/11 infrared cameras were installed in turret-like installations all over the border. Wherever you were standing at the shores of the Rio Grande, you could see at least one of those tall metallic structures. Some are manned (by Border Patrol agents) some are not. When they installed them I was wowed. But that was not all, just before I left the border the US beefed up their security on the Rio Grande, using low-flying helicopters and high-speed boats. Both the boats and the helicopters patrolled the whole river unchecked, even near the shore of the Mexican side. The word militarized came to my mind at that point almost five years ago. Five years before Donald Trump’s comments that was happening in the border!
So back to the question. Does America has a porous border?
Yes and no. No border will ever be secured, ask modern-day Israel, the Roman Empire, the Chinese Empire, and many more. And still, technology and gadgets have been used since the Reagan administration. The myth Donald Trump and others want to expose of an ultimate open border is not true. And yet, illegal immigration keeps pouring in.
Though I found a flaw in the system, something not even Fox News would tell you even when they should. (Geez, maybe I should work one day at Fox News and become the first-ever Mexican anchor.) Here it goes… When you cross by car or walking across a bridge or port of entry, they check you up and down like a barely explained already. I will write more on that someday. But when Mexicans travel by air into an International Airport inside the United States, we are received more courteously and checking just the essentials on our backgrounds. If celebrity-turned-candidate Donald Trump wants to tackle a porous border, he shouldn’t be just visiting Laredo, Texas like he did days ago, but any international airport in America. I understand people are using more the border to cross illegally, but there are weaker spots if you look elsewhere. And for what I know, America should be interest in looking for weak spots, not publicity stunts.
There is another issue any GOP candidate hasn’t firmly addressed. Laws are strangely fashioned towards Mexicans. There are up to 15-year waiting cues to enter legally with a green card, and more years to become a US citizen. Of course, of course America is the land of order and law, and it should remain that way in order to be a beacon of example to other corrupt nation-states like Mexico. I could go on and on about those waiting lines, but that’s not what concerns me. Those waiting lines policies aren’t even available to any Mexican national! If a normal Mexican person wants to legally reside in the US they have nothing but to cross their arms and sniff. America has the toughest immigration rules in the world. Many Mexicans are actually turning to Australia or New Zealand to migrate. The problem is the distance. Some do gather some money and leave. But to reside legally in the United States is basically next to impossible for your average Mexican.
Many presidents have tried to curtail this issue by creating programs like the brasero program, or the temporary worker. But it is challenging for most Mexicans to find an adequate program, because there is simply none for the average family. Some have gathered lots of money and used it to invest in America and create a company. That’s great. But not many are money savvy. This is America’s Achiles heel. And yes, this is also Mexico’s problems, where people go and not comply with rules (however odd they may be).
So here we are, 2015, with a huge problem that has started to create tension between two people. Mexicans blaming Trump and his supporters as racists and bigots. Americans calling out how inclined Mexicans are to trespass and violate laws. And both are right. Americans have these issues because they are immersed in a nation already divided by racial turmoil (i.e. Ferguson) and exhausted by a long war on terror. Mexicans have these issues because they have lived in a violence-is-all corrupt system which have made them poor and uneducated. Whoever understands both sides will find the solution, if not, walls will be erected and hatred will erupt.