Oh, Mexico, you bad, bad boy! Don’t you know you must do what Tio Sam tells you? 

You must re-open your factories (especially the maquilas at the border) and now! OK, they produce things like seat covers and other material you don’t use, but they are essential—to us! 

The logic behind opening in the middle of a pandemic? The U.S Ambassador, Christopher Landau, explains it so well, in clear Trumpian terms anyone can understand: “You don’t stop driving because you might have an accident!” Sí? Entendido? Claro? Then, AHORITA!, RIGHT NOW, por favor. (See? We said “please.”)

Oh, you say, 20,000 cases of CV19? 2,000 deaths? And climbing? And the peak not predicted until mid-May? Ni modo. 0r you wonder how it is that Donald Trump now loves and respects Mexicans, chummy enough to try to persuade them to turn against their own self-interest? Hmm, well, I don’t know how to answer that one. I’ll save for later—my head hurts too much right now. But I will include here some other opinions reflecting the Trump/Landau lunacy.

First, Gabe Ortiz warns: “Trump Pressures Mexico to Open Factories as Workers Die” (1 May 20, Daily Kos). Factory workers in Ciudád Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, walk-out in protest of lack of safety measures. Echoing Ortiz is the Latin American Times: “U.S. Government Campaigns for Mexico to Open.” New agreements offer not protection to workers—more masks or boots – but only legal protection to the owners, to cover liabilities.

Countries seem to be pursuing their own national self-interest. That makes Donald Trump mad! (He thought it was supposed to be about OUR interest.) That is the message from Kevin Sieff and Gabriela Martínez (Washington Post—motto: “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” May Day, 2020). They note, ironically, Mexico has allowed each state, like Trump, to make its own rules during the pandemic; Chihuahua closed down best they could. Wait! How DARE Mexico play by their own laws! (The new NAFTA rules also stipulate each nation, during war or crisis, is allowed to follow its own policies.)

Echoing the sanity of following Mexico’s own policies is Dr. Arturo Valenzuela Zorrilla, State Medical Director for Ciudád Juárez: he stresses the foolishness of opening factories where people are dying, before the crisis even peaks. López Obrador (AMLO), the President of Mexico, has brought in the Marines to try to deal with the cartels. But his approach to the CV19 is more like Trump’s. 

Early on, AMLO proposed religious amulets to counter the danger, and recommended continuing the traditional abrazo, or hug! (l hereby repent of my early hope expressed in these pages for AMLO.) So many sources are now shouting “shame” at Trump (and AMLO) for their willful ignorance of science and care for their citizens. 

Another observer, Julián Reséndiz, in an editorial, lamented the “thirty new cases of CV19 in Juárez on Thursday” and proclaimed it “remarkably callous” of Trump to use U.S. power to trample Mexico into submission during an international health crisis (San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 Apr 20). The only result will be more deaths “on both sides” of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo/U.S./Mexico border! 

So, Mexico is not really a “bad chico” for standing up for its national sovereignty, for defending its workers against Trump and the virus. Mexico remains our “good neighbor,” one we can no longer take for granted.      

Editor’s Note: the main image accompanying the above guest column shows workers in a maquila in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. (File photo: Joe Raedle/Newsmakers)

Editor’s Note: A related opinion piece appeared in the May 2, 2020, edition of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Click HERE to read the newspaper’s editorial. 

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