Now that it’s clear the campaign rhetoric Donald Trump employed to disparage Mexico is being put into action with moves toward building a border wall, the pride and ire of the rest of Latin America are rising up in Mexico’s defense.
Bloomberg News reports that from Brasilia to Buenos Aires to Bogota, Latin Americans in the streets and in the seats of power are joining to condemn a diplomatic stance from the new U.S. president that turns its back on a postwar world order with the peacekeeping, share-the-wealth U.S. at its center.
In an unusually outspoken statement published late Thursday by an otherwise U.S.-friendly administration, the Brazilian government expressed concern about the construction of a wall between “brotherly nations.” The head of the South American Union Unasur, former Colombian President Ernesto Samper, classified Trump’s demand as “provocative” and “humiliating.”
For many the latest move reinforces stereotypes of Latinos as second-class citizens that had started to dissipate as more Latinos flocked to American shopping malls and universities during the recent decade-long economic boom.
“They treat us like dirt there,” said Juliana Villa, a 37-year-old worker at an insurance agency in Bogota who lived in the U.S. “I wouldn’t want to live there again. I think the wall is terrible; it’s frightening in the middle of the 21st century.”
With U.S. intervention in the region long viewed with suspicion, Mexico’s proximity to the northern behemoth has often been seen as a curse as much as a blessing, with one former leader lamenting his country’s location: “Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the United States.”
Few countries are as integrated with the U.S. economy as Mexico, and for some the threat posed by the wall remains distant. Argentine authorities, for example, remain confident the nation’s trade with the U.S. isn’t large enough for its economy to suffer a significant impact from further protectionist measures.
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