U.S. critics may be decrying billionaire Donald Trump’s presidential campaign as a joke, but Mexican officials are taking it very seriously. They think Trump, who has called Mexicans “rapists” and proposed building a wall along the southern U.S. border, could be doing permanent damage to Mexico’s reputation, the Washington Post reported. So they’re fighting back.
Claudia Ruiz Massieu, the secretary of foreign affairs, told El Universal she is worried Trump’s comments could be causing hostility toward Mexicans.
“The electoral dynamics in the United States, where we have seen signs of a rhetoric that seeks to divide, isolate and decry our Mexican compatriots living there, has shown on one hand that there is a lack of information on who we are, what Mexico is and what we contribute to the U.S. economy and its development. But this dynamic in the election campaign has spread to other sectors of society, and that is what motivated us to stop and say, at this stage, what do we have to do as the government of Mexico?” she asked in Spanish. “How can we communicate to the public our reality?”
Evidence of Mexico’s game plan could be seen earlier this week when the nation named as its new ambassador to the U.S. Carlos Manuel Sada Solana, an expert in law and defending Mexico's interests. He was chosen take over for Miguel Basañez Ebergenyi, who served less than a year, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“There is a clear need for the Mexican government to do something about this, and there was intense domestic pressure on this front,” former Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan told the Post.
Mexican journalist Leon Krauze called out the government last year for not working hard enough to combat Trump’s derogatory comments about immigrants and keeping “an unjustifiable distance” from the U.S. presidential campaign, the Atlantic reported. But people on the ground in Mexico haven’t kept their opinions about the candidate so quiet: Last month, resident Leonardo Linares told reporters he was burning Trump in effigy as part of an Easter observance signifying Christianity’s triumph over evil.
“With all of the stupid things he has said about Mexicans, I thought people would like to see him burning as Judas,” Linares told the Guardian.