Speech by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Defense of Mexico’s National Dignity and in Favor of Friendship with the U.S.
Speech by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of Mexico, in the Act in Defense of Mexico’s National Dignity and in Favor of Friendship with the US, in Tijuana, Baja California, June 8th, 2019. Photo courtesy, AMLO Sitio Oficial.
“Friends of Mexico and the United States, Representatives of the Legislative Power, Governors, Municipal, state and federal public servants, Representatives of indigenous communities, peasants, workers, entrepreneurs, religious communities, migrants, friends:
The United States and Mexico are not distant neighbors. We share a border of three thousand 180 kilometers long, a zone of mutual cultural influence and shared national histories as our countries have been intertwined in numerous episodes of hostility, but also of cooperation and understanding.
The great Zarpaso of 1847, and interventions of the twentieth century in our territory, in addition to other grievances, have had a counterpart history in the friendships between our governments and the fraternity of the peoples of both nations.
"No hay tarifas, Presidente, y salimos con la dignidad intacta": @m_ebrard
— Gobierno de México (@GobiernoMX) June 9, 2019
For example, President Benito Juárez received invaluable help from Abraham Lincoln in his fight against the French invaders and at other times the United States gave refuge to heroes of our history as Mariano Escobedo, Vicente Riva Palacio, Francisco I. Madero and Jose Vasconcelos. We do not forget that the United States stood with Mexico and refused to recognize the usurper, Victoriano Huerta, in 1913, when he seized power after a coup d’état.
Moreover, many Mexican journalists, social and political leaders of our country, chose to fight the Porfirista dictatorship Mexico from the US territory. They did so to save their lives because, at that time, while in the United States was a nation of law and punished dissenters through jail time, in Mexico they were shot in the back, when the famous and terrible “escape law” was applied to them.
Later, the governments of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lázaro Cárdenas maintained exemplary relations despite the 1938 Petroleum Expropriation; A few years later, Mexico fought alongside the United States in World War II, not only with the Mexican aviators of the 201 Squadron that fought in the Pacific but, also, sending workers, laborers and braceros who helped guarantee food production to the neighboring country. and raw materials in the United States.
In the middle of the last century, technology and capital goods from our northern neighbors were fundamental for the process of industrialization promoted in our country; towards the 1960s, programs for the development of the Northern Border began, with the support of progressive bilateral trade. With the growth of our economy and the domestic market, US companies found an attractive investment zone and almost all large corporations established subsidiaries in our cities.
In 1993, both countries, besides Canada, signed the North American Free Trade Agreement, which constituted one of the main economic blocs of the world. Consequently, in 1995, the government of Washington granted extraordinary financial support to overcome the devaluation of the peso and the financial crisis that arose at the end of Carlos Salinas’s administration and start that of Ernesto Zedillo.
One of the consequences of the imposition of the neoliberal model in our country was the massive expulsion of people from their places of origin, the loss of jobs in a dismantled industry and, with it, the greatest flow of economic refugees in our history. Millions of our compatriots crossed the Rio Grande in search of economic subsistence and better horizons and had to face discrimination, abuses and police persecution, but there were also sublime expressions of support and solidarity from a good part of US society.
Currently, the United States has a Mexican community of about 36 million people, of which 15 million were born in Mexico. This population makes a fundamental contribution to the economy and culture of the neighboring country and their political participation in the US is increasingly relevant. There are more than a million Mexican entrepreneurs in our neighboring country; in addition, Mexicans perform 30 percent of agricultural work, 20 percent of the tasks in construction and 15 percent in the tourism industry.
These compatriots also contribute to the Mexican economy with remittances for more than 33 billion dollars a year. A little cited fact is that living in Mexico are about 1 million 200 thousand Americans; that is, our two countries are protagonists of the largest demographic exchange in the world.
Just as the neighboring nation is the main destination for Mexican exports, ours is also the most important market for US exports.
On the eve of the conclusion of the Mexico-United States-Canada Treaty (T-MEC), had President Donald Trump imposed a progressive tariff on Mexican exports to the United States, the measure would have caused significant damage to both economies and significantly weakened the region’s trade alliance. Fortunately, from the beginning, we have made proposals to the US government to resolve the immigration problem once and for all, and those proposals contributed to the productive negotiations that took place in Washington.
We maintain a policy of respect and good neighborliness with the government of the United States and a fraternity with its population. We take this opportunity to tell the American people, once again, that we have no intentions of being a source of harm. We are determined to collaborate with the US in all areas, especially in the face of the growing concern with the migratory flows coming toward the United States.
The migration phenomenon is not happening in a vacuum; it is caused by serious material deficiencies and insecurity in Central American countries and in marginalized sectors and regions of Mexico, where there are human beings who undertake pilgrimages to mitigate their hunger and poverty or to preserve their lives.
For our part, we are confronting the crisis by attacking it at its roots, that is, by promoting development, welfare and security and, in Mexico, and we are working on it. But to apply this proposal to other nations of Central America and the Caribbean, it will be essential to work in collaboration and with the participation of the United States, Canada and other developed countries.
I want to mention a poignant piece of information: of the 521,000 migrants who entered our country through the southern border, during the course of this year, with the intention of reaching the United States, 159,395 are minors and 43,875 traveled alone. It is clear that, faced with this bitter and painful reality, the solution cannot be the simplistic solution of closing borders or the use of force. The most effective and most humane solution we can work toward is to solve the migration phenomenon by targeting the lack of employment opportunities and the causes of poverty driving migrants out; the goal is to make migration optional, not forced.
Consequently, we reaffirm our commitment to help prevent migrants from crossing through our national territory to reach the United States, but we will never do so in violation of the human rights of travelers, starting with their right to life.
Under this criterion, it will be unjust to punish Mexico for proposing a halt to migration flows through the promotion of well-being and security in its points of origin, or because Mexico seeks fraternity between societies and peoples.
I confess that as a citizen I reject acts of retaliation and the law of Talión; I am a pacifist, inspired by the examples of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. However, as head and representative of the Mexican state, I cannot allow anything that threatens the economy of our country or anything that imposes an asymmetrical injustice on the government of Mexico, or stand by any measures that threaten the dignity of our nation or humiliate our country.
To President Donald Trump I do not raise a closed fist, but an open and frank hand, as we reiterate our disposition toward friendship, dialogue and collaboration.
We also express our determination to stay out of the internal affairs of our neighbor, in accordance with our policy unless matters concern the sovereignty of our people.
I am proud of the professional, political and diplomatic work of the Mexican delegation that was in charge of this complex issue, headed by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Marcelo Ebrard. I also thank the solidarity of the Mexican people, of all social classes, of all sectors, of all currents of thought, who did not hesitate to show their support in defending the dignity of Mexico and in preserving friendship with the people of Mexico and the U.S.
Whats Next? To fulfill punctually the commitments we made, to reinforce our border, to apply the law and to respect human rights. We intend to promote the immediate application of our development project, CEPAL, to boost productive activities and to create jobs in Central America and in the south-southeast of Mexico.
Next week we will be offering employment, education, health and welfare opportunities to those who wait in Mexico for their asylum application to enter the United States, legally.
I add that thanks to goodwill, we have birthed excellent political conditions to achieve, in a timely manner, the ratification in the Senate of the Free Trade Agreement between Mexico, the United States and Canada.
Mexico is a country with many natural riches, with a noble and hardworking people. We have a legacy of great civilizations and cultures with extraordinary social ethic. We are mutualistas, we practice “doing good without looking to whom.”
If we place our differences aside, as we have demonstrated in these past days, and come together, without hatred, and driven by honesty, humanism and a sense of justice, there will be no adversity we cannot overcome. We are building a new prosperous, peaceful and fraternal homeland where well-being and happiness will reign forever.
Viva Mexico! ” Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, President of Mexico