In what her government has called “a sign of solidarity,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto today, Friday.
High on the agenda during her two-day state visit to Mexico will be their mutual political dilemma: President Trump.
From the launch of his presidential campaign two years ago through his early days in the White House, Trump made Mexico his punching bag. He called Mexican immigrants criminals, pledged to tax imports from Mexico and insisted that Mexico would pay for construction of a border wall.
But in recent months, he has extended his ire to a much wider circle of nations, many of which, like Mexico, are longtime U.S. allies.
That includes Germany, which the president has criticized for its trade surplus with the U.S., for resettling large numbers of Syrian migrants and for not spending enough on defense to meet its commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Europe “can no longer rely” on its longtime friend the United States, Merkel said at an election rally in Munich saying people on the continent must “take our fate into our own hands.”
Merkel appears poised to do that on her visit to Mexico, where she and Peña Nieto will discuss trade and how to move forward on combating climate change after Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement.
SBS – After catalysing one of the more poignant viral hashtags at the beginning of this year, Vicente Fox has returned to deliver a message to the President of the United States amid the noise surrounding James Comey’s testimony. “Mexico will not pay for the f—– wall,” Fox opens the video, shared on social channel Super Deluxe.
Fox News – A contingent of the U.S. Congressional Hispanic Caucus traveled to Tijuana to speak with a group of deported veterans in hopes of streamlining the pathway to citizenship for non-citizens who have served in the U.S. military.
LAT – Mexico Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray called President Trump’s proposal to build a border wall “an unfriendly, hostile act” that will further aggravate increasingly tense relations between the longtime allies. “It is not part of a bilateral discussion, and we will not collaborate in the construction,” he told a group of Mexican legislators. “It’s a waste of resources.”
Reuters – The United States has offered to help fund Mexico’s efforts to eradicate opium poppies, the U.S. assistant secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs said, as Mexican heroin output increased again last year.
By David Luhnow and Jacob Schlesinger / Wall Street Journal
Earlier this year, U.S.-Mexican relations hit their worst crisis in decades when Presidents Donald Trump and Enrique Peña Nieto quarreled over who would pay for a proposed border wall, prompting the Mexican president to call off a planned trip to Washington.
But then a funny thing happened: Trump, at the urging of senior aides, stopped attacking Mexico on Twitter and in public statements, opening up space to officials from both countries to markedly improve ties since then, U.S. and Mexican officials say.
“The relationship is much more constructive,” a senior Mexican government official said. A senior U.S. official agreed, saying the greater contact between the sides had improved ties.
Mexican officials say they are more confident now that the two countries can strike a deal to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump attacked repeatedly on the campaign trail as the worst trade deal the U.S. ever signed.
“We’ve gone from panic to concern,” another top Mexican official said.
CNSNews – Mexico’s insistence that the government of Venezuela return to “democratic norms” is not an effort to take the lead in Latin America’s response to the country’s worsening economic and political crisis, according to political analysts here. Instead, the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto believes that to remain silent is not in Mexico’s best interests, said Jorge Chabat, professor of international studies at the Center for Research and Teaching on Economics (CIDE) in Mexico City.
Reuters – U.S. officials should be respectful of the Mexican 2018 presidential election, Mexico’s foreign minister said on Thursday, after a top U.S. security official suggested a win by a leftist candidate would be bad for both nations.
Reuters – Mexico’s foreign minister Luis Videgaray will travel to Washington next Tuesday to meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly in hopes offurthering the bilateral and regional agenda between Mexico and the United States.
KPBS – The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce signed a historic memorandum of understanding with Mexico’s Senate on Tuesday, expanding the influence of San Diego and northern Baja California leaders on Mexican legislation related to ports of entry, trade and immigration.
Global News – Anaximandro and Sully Amable were all set to enjoy a night watching a pirate show on a boat in the waters off of Cancun. That’s when some U.S. tourists aboard the ship started chanting “build the wall,” in a reference to U.S. President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. The chanting didn’t stop even after it clearly made Mexican workers and tourists aboard the ship uncomfortable.
Reuters – Mexican presidential hopeful Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has filed a complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights against U.S. President Donald Trump’s planned border wall and his administration’s treatment of immigrants.
LAT – A top U.S. drug official made a strong case Thursday for continued cooperation with Mexico on fighting drug-trafficking, saying successful law enforcement already has created a virtual wall. In a subtle dig at the Trump administration, William Brownfield, the State department’s senior diplomat involved in drug policy, said that despite a crisis drug epidemic, the United States and Mexico were in a better position than ever to combat it.
VoA – U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly met Thursday with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and members of his cabinet, in what is expected to be the first in a series of high-level meetings focusing on drug trafficking, trade and immigration.
The two key members of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet were hoping to soothe concern and anger about the new U.S. administration’s policies toward Mexico.
Politico – U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel soon to Mexico City, an announcement that came following a meeting between Tillerson and his Mexican counterpart on Wednesday, the State Department announced.
Independent – Pope Francis has issued a thinly veiled rebuke of Donald Trump’s cornerstone policy to build a wall along the border with Mexico. The pontiff did not refer to the US President by name or directly mention his plan to build a fence along the border but instead emphasised the need to forge bridges rather than walls.
The Hill – House Democrats are moving to strengthen U.S.-Mexico ties amid tensions between President Trump and his Mexican counterpart. Reps. Eliot Engel (N.Y.), Albio Sires (N.J.) and Joaquin Castro (Texas) introduced a resolution “reaffirming a strong commitment” between the two nations.
Hurriyet -Turkey’s flag carrier Turkish Airlines is planning to launch direct flights to Mexico City in a move to improve access and relations between Mexico and Turkey, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu said.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for unity and understanding on his first day at the State Department amid internal dissent over policies of President Donald Trump, which have also antagonized a range of allies. Within hours of starting the job, Tillerson reached out by phone to counterparts from Mexico and Canada, spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and met with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, department officials said.