Wednesday, March 8, 2017



Mexican presidential candidate attacks Trump as the 'bad hombre'
LOS ANGELES TIMES 18 hrs ago (2)

Mexican presidential candidate Margarita Zavala in Cartagena, Colombia, Friday April 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

MEXICO CITY — Mexican presidential candidate Margarita Zavala issued a warning to the United States in an op-ed published in The Washington Post on Tuesday.

"It is up to the United States to decide whether it wants to continue a strong partnership, or whether it will let one bad hombre destroy it," Zavala said.

The "bad hombre" she was referring to? That was President Donald Trump, who has famously used the same phrase to describe members of Mexican drug cartels and some of the immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

Zavala, a former congresswoman for the right-leaning National Action Party and the wife of former Mexican President Felipe Calderon, attacked Trump's "ignorance" of the strong ties between the U.S. and Mexico, and called him dangerously impulsive.

"When the American president can undo with a tweet what has taken us decades to build, Mexicans have to wonder whether the United States is a reliable partner and what the future of our relationship will look like," she said.

Zavala, who recently met with U.S. leaders, including Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, during a trip to Washington, isn't the only candidate in Mexico's 2018 presidential elections who has seized on Trump to generate support at home.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a leftist candidate who narrowly lost in the last two presidential elections, has highlighted Trump's vows to tax imports from Mexico and other attacks as a way to generate nationalistic fervor. Lopez Obrador is also in the U.S. this week, holding rallies in border cities including El Paso.

The leading candidates to replace President Enrique Pena Nieto have both attacked Pena Nieto for capitulating to Trump. The president invited then-candidate Trump to meet with him in Mexico City last fall, provoking outcry from Mexicans who feel insulted by Trump's attacks on their country, starting with his criticisms of Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers on the day he launched his campaign in 2015.

Still, Zavala said her countrymen can make a distinction between Americans and their elected leader.

"Mexicans know that our differences are not with the American people, but with an American president who began his campaign with racist attacks against Mexican immigrants, whose cruel policies have entire communities living in fear and who seems intent on making an enemy out of a friend," she said.

"Frankly," Zavala continued, "the United States is fortunate to have Mexico as a neighbor and partner."


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