Nov. 23, 2016
I think we were all somewhat surprised at the outcome of the recent presidential election in the USA. Some have asked me for our perspective on this development and its potential impact on Mexico. I could write a general epistle regarding what has transpired up till now regarding the President-elect and the Mexicans, but I will limit my comments to national sphere, until we see how things turn out.
In the long run Mr. Trump could be the best thing that ever happened to Mexico (on a national, not spiritual, level) – if his election forces the Mexican ruling class to face reality and fix some of their own problems, instead of exporting them and their people to the USA. For the moment the Mexican press continues on the warpath with accusations of racism and xenophobia used in every reference to the President elect. They have convinced almost all the public that he is a reincarnation of Hitler who wants to put their people (who reside illegally in the States) in concentration camps!
In regard to immigration I believe that the Mexicans will be surprised at how this plays out. Once there is real control at the border and of the visa-overstays, many of those who do not have a criminal record may get some kind of legal status that is not a path to citizenship (this seems to have been the Trump plan from the beginning). Then Mexico will end up building its own wall to keep out the Central Americans. Over time those who remain in the States will be forced to assimilate or leave the country.
The re-working of NAFTA is more complicated but needs to be done. There is real panic here over the possibility of the trade agreement coming to an end. Since 85% of Mexican exports are sold to the USA, the cancelation of the agreement would bring about economic Armageddon in short order. Many have never made the connection between NAFTA and immigration. NAFTA disrupted Mexico’s corn production so badly that only 75,000 Iowa farmers grow twice as much corn as three million Mexican producers – and at half the cost. Most of this corn is exported to Mexico. This resulted in a massive unemployment crisis and waves of poor farmers (and/ or their children) immigrating illegally to the States. The reverse is true in the automotive sector. U.S. auto producers pay Mexican workers less for three days work than they pay U.S. workers for one hour of work in Detroit. That is only one explanation for Mexico becoming the fourth largest auto manufacturer and these jobs leaving the States.
NAFTA created losers and winners, but mostly enriched the multinational corporations that sell their products in both countries. There are ‘victims’ everywhere and inevitably the ‘gringos’ receive most of the blame. This kind of victimization is claimed by almost everyone in the ‘Third World’ and is standard procedure here. The real problem is a false nationalism that is really just a pretext to hide their own racism that flows from a deep insecurity that is always just below the surface of the culture and shows up in many different ways. The Biblical explanation is simply our fallen sinful nature that can only be changed by Grace.
On another subject… we are still on hold regarding the purchase of the building. The closing was held up by a claim for back property taxes from the Municipality. The seller must resolve this issue before we can close the deal. It is standard procedure here for the authorities to ‘invent’ back tax charges and they are frequently successful at extorting money from those who cannot prove otherwise. We hope that this will be resolved next week and will help to protect us from something similar once we take possession.
Missionary Tom Montgomery and Family