The first negative results of the anti Trump Mexican politics are felt, in fact, the traders of different secondary border towns like Eagle Pass and Brownsville, Texas, and Sonora, Arizona, are heavily affected by the absence of Mexican shoppers and shops are completely empty , all this is two to the high value of the dollar compared to pesos but also by the boycott that Mexicans living near the border have DECIDED to do for the American economy. Do not do well either larger cities like San Diego and Tucson where, according to Functional data provided by the merchants store, the sales have declined between 50% and 80%.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, said in a message to the nation that the fuel price increases are not a government decision. In fact, he recalled that Mexico depends for about 50% of its fuel needs from the importation and that in the last year the price of oil has increased by approximately 60% . For these reasons now fuels in Mexico are more expensive. Peña Nieto said that mantaining the price of fuel artificially low would be an enormous cost to the government coffers, that would paralize all the services that with difficulty the federal government is trying to expand for the citizens. Finally, the President has announced further cuts in public spending that will be given mainly by salaries cuts of higher levels state and federal employees.
The increase in fuel prices will not affect the upper echelons of the Mexican bureaucracy. In fact, the Congress, the Supreme Court and other federal agencies have already allocated extra funds for the reimbursement of fuel costs to their employees higher up in the hierarchy. Meanwhile, in the streets the protest continues, the situation is very critical. In 23 states there are more or less vilolent protests, ranging from simple road blocks up the assaults to service stations, through the acts of vandalism against state properties. The union representatives of agricultural workers have joined the common protesters to trigger a protest that could go far beyond the dissatisfaction for the rising of fuel prices.
The public protests in Mexico against the increased fuel costs do not stop, the national and international press reports of 22 demonstrations, such as roadblocks, assaults and looting against several service stations, assaults, even armed, against the governments palaces state. Fortunately there have been only few clashes with security forces, no deaths or injuries, only 10 arrests. Meanwhile, in the federal capital there is a confrontation between the various political forces: the opposition would want to artificially lower the price of fuel or at least lower the federal taxes to bring down the price, while members of the majority and of the most respected economic institutes of Mexico recall that the fuel taxes are already close to the minimum allowed and that the rise in prices is due to the general rise in price of petrol.
Enrique Peña Nieto, President of the Mexican Republic, during an official ceremony said it was in favor to extending the internal safety functions of the armed forces. Also the President recalled that under his administration were presented innovative laws against kidnapping and against torture. The protection of human rights is a fundamental point in the agenda of the federal government. In fact, Peña Nieto has committed to continue on the path of fight against violence and announced that it will intervene to support the indigenous communities most in need.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, leader of Morena Party, said that he is ready to occupy the border between the US and Mexico if Trump should effectively proceed with the construction of the wall. Obrador presents itself as a defender of the right to employment of Mexican citizens but also as a defender of the free trade agreament between Mexico and the US, also Obrador seems to want to mobilize the international public opinion coming to hypothesize that the construction of the wall would constitute a violation of fundamental human rights.
On the 8th of November the American people elected the republican Donald Trump as the next President of the United States. However, the election results took almost everyone by surprise. In fact, the victory of Donald Trump was absolutely unexpected, mainly because of the polls that had predicted the success of Hillary Clinton. In any case, the election results show a deeply divided country between two completely different visions of America and opposite ideas of the US role on the international stage. In order to understand why Americans elected Donald Trump in spite of predictions, it will be useful to examine his domestic policy proposals as well as his foreign policy goals.
Donald Trump’s domestic policy can be summarized by the slogan “Make America great again”. He ran his campaign focusing on the American working class and emphasizing the idea that America has a great potential that has not been put into practice so far. The reasons, according to Trump, can be found in an excessive privilege of the financial economy at the expense of real economy. Real economy boosts the economic growth and makes it possible to achieve prosperity, while financial economy is considered responsible for the housing bubble, burst in 2007. Trump referred to his sustainers as a great movement willing to change America. His rhetoric has been considered as populism by a large part of the country, but the majority of the population saw in it a way to feel they had the power to change the direction of America. According to some experts the voters took a stand against the establishment. The refusal of the traditional political class is not something isolated in the international stage as we could see in June the Brexit referendum, as well as the recent electoral results in many European countries. The main tools to make America great again, in Trump’s opinion, are a tax cut for companies, more restrictive rules on migration and inflexible laws for criminals and terrorists. The tax cut is thought to sustain the economic growth by helping companies to remain in the US instead of delocalizing their production abroad. Trump’s position on migration has been largely criticized, because he proposed to build up a wall at the Mexican border and to expel all irregular foreigners living in the US. Finally, his position about criminals and terrorists has been considered racist by a large part of the US citizens. In particular, he proposed to introduce strict laws to solve the racial issue in the US, but this kind of measure alarmed the Afro-American population that has been protagonist of many protests during the last year, because they feel discriminated by the police. The rigidity of Donald Trump about the race issue is going to cause even more friction between the government and the Afro-American communities in the country.
Let’s now focus on Donald Trump’s foreign policy. His project can be identified by the word “isolationism”. As regards the economic relations with other countries he would like to introduce protectionist measures, because he thinks that the economic problems of the US are mainly due to the globalization process. This is not an isolated position if we look at the United Kingdom which will probably get out of the EU single market. The idea of focusing on America’s problems rather than carrying out military interventions worldwide is the argument that convinced voters. Americans do not understand the reasons of the great involvement of the US in the Middle East as well as in other parts of the world, as they are not achieving any advantage from that interventions. Trump argued, during his campaign, that the US should spend less money on NATO and interventions abroad, giving more military independence to their allies and using all the money to improve Americans’ standard of life. This isolationism in foreign policy leads to some important consequences. Firstly, the relations with the EU is going to change, in the military field as well as in the economic sector. In fact, Trump expressed his opposition to the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership which should be signed by the US and the EU. Nevertheless, the most important change in international relations would be a change of attitude towards Russia. For his part, President Putin expressed his willing to restore peaceful relations with the US. The main consequence of a reconciliation between the US and Russia would possibly be an agreement on the Syrian and Ukrainian crises. The stabilization of the Middle East as well as the solution of the Ukrainian crisis would remove the threat of a direct confrontation between Russia and the US. On the other hand, the future relations with China are uncertain. Trump made some declarations against China’s economic strategy and he expressed the will to be economically more independent from China. However, we should bear in mind that China possesses the major part of US external debt. Another aspect of Trump’s foreign policy, which would affect the entire world, is whether he will decide to respect or not the agreement on climate change negotiated in Paris the last year and entered into force few days ago. Finally, it is not clear if Trump will continue the reconciliation with Iran, and if he would respect the nuclear deal with that country.
In conclusion, it is too soon to make predictions about how America and its relations with the rest of the world will change. It mainly depends on whether Trump will respect his electoral program or not. According to his first public declarations he is probably going to moderate some points of his electoral program (in particular his positions about race, gays, Muslims etc. ). Trump announced his will to cooperate with Obama’s administration in order to preserve the most important achievements that have been reached over the last 8 years. Obama, for his part, expressed his support to the new President in order to allow him to succeed in his mandate.
In Mexico, teachers keep on protesting against the education reform, which was introduced by the government at the beginning of 2013. Over the last month, the tension between the government and the CNTE (Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación) has increased, leading to the “Nochixtlán massacre” on the 19th of June, in which 8 civilians were killed.
The education reform was approved by Enrique Peña Nieto’s government in order to enhance the quality of the Mexican education system. In particular, the government wants to remove the corruption, and the lack of transparency in the selection process of the educators. One of the measures stated by the reform is a selection of the teachers based on merit, in addition to a periodic assessment of their preparation. This point of the reform has been criticized by a great number of educators, especially in the southern States of Mexico: Oaxaca, Guerrero and Chiapas. These areas of the country are inhabited by a majority of indigenous. The teachers argue that the criteria for the assessment process are not appropriate for the specific characteristics of these areas of Mexico. They suspect that the evaluation process is a way to dismiss them. The teachers affirm that their role in that poor areas of the country is irreplaceable as they speak Spanish as well as the indigenous languages. In that remote areas of Mexico, the educators establish an important connection with the children, teaching them Spanish, as well as with their parents, communicating effectively with them in the local languages. Furthermore, it may be difficult to convince teachers residing in other parts of the country to move to such isolated areas, where sometimes there is no electricity or telephone connection.
For these reasons, the teachers, represented by the CNTE, organized long lasting strikes and they blocked the circulation of vehicles in the main streets. The population of the areas affected by the protests has sometimes backed the teachers, even though the government declared that Mexicans support the education reform.
The episode occurred on the 19th of June in Nochixtlán (Oaxaca), should be mentioned for its seriousness. The police cleared out the block of a street organized by the CNTE. The government declared that the police had to open fire in response to the violence used by the demonstrators. However, the inhabitants of the town said that the police started shooting at them, so they tried to protect themselves through rudimentary weapons, such as stones. Nevertheless, the balance of the clash has been the death of 8 civilians (even though the inhabitants of the town affirm they are 11) and 3 police officers injured. The United Nations asked the Mexican government to investigate on what happened in Nochixtlán.
After the episode of Nochixtlán, the government decided to change strategy proposing to the CNTE to restart the negotiations. On the 5th of July the government representatives and the CNTE met in Mexico City in order to explain their proposals for the solution to the conflict. They scheduled a new meeting for the 11th of July, few day before the start of school holidays on the 15th of July.
The teachers are willing to negotiate, but they firmly claim the abolition of the education reform. Moreover, they affirm that if the government use violence, they will respond by all means available. It is important to bear in mind that in the south of Mexico there are armed groups related to the indigenous population, such as the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.