Like no other U.S. presidential election
in modern times, the stunning victory of Donald Trump is shaking up Mexico’s political scene and shaping the landscape
for the country’s own presidential transition in late 2018.
Especially if the U.S. president-elect makes
good on his promises to deport undocumented immigrants, build a bigger border wall, and toss out the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA); questions of the U.S.-Mexico relationship and Mexican sovereignty will likely play much bigger roles in
the next presidential and congressional Mexican elections than in previous ones. Whiffs of a political shift are in the air.
post-election plunge in the value of an already weakened peso, which hit a low of 22.50 pesos to the dollar at some money
exchange houses in Ciudad Juarez the morning of November 9 before settling back towards the 20-peso rate of exchange, coupled
with a downturn in the Mexican stock market, exhibited the widespread apprehension over Trump’s victory. Banco Santander
analysts predicted a volatile peso until the economic plans of the new U.S. administration are known.
members of the Peña Nieto administration downplayed the negative significance of the November 8 U.S. election, with
officials such as Finance Secretary Jose Antonio Meade and Bank of Mexico head Agustin Carstens stressing Mexico’s macroeconomic
indices. Quickly moving to calm national nerves, President Peña Nieto reported that he and Trump
had a “cordial” telephone conversation November 9 and mutually agreed on the need for a new binational agenda.
A possible meeting between the two leaders could happen before Trump’s January inauguration, per the daily La Jornada.
Trump’s triumph elicited other political reactions more suited to a national emergency – or an upcoming Mexican
presidential election. Notably, Mexico’s two leading 2018 presidential hopefuls made back-to-back public statements
in the hours surrounding the U.S. vote. In a Facebook message posted the evening of November 8, the left-leaning Morena party’s
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called on Mexicans to stay tranquil.
“There will be no bigger problems because
we are going to make use of our right of sovereignty, whoever is in the presidency of the United States,” the former
Mexico City mayor said.
Eight hours later, in a video uploaded to social media, the conservative National Action Party’s
Margarita Zavala, who had earlier expressed desire for a Hillary Clinton victory, released her own message without mentioning
“This is the hour of uniting all of us to defend all we have achieved and all that we are
as a country. We are a strong nation that could assume a strong position of respect before any nation of the world,”
the wife of ex-president Felipe Calderon said. “Let’s not forget who we are: We are Mexico.”
victory proved to be the occasion for another potential presidential candidate, Nuevo Leon Governor Jaime “El Bronco”
Rodriguez Calderon, to blast off a trial balloon via Twitter.
Mexicans across the political spectrum voiced
alarm at Trump’s triumph. Jorge Castañeda, who served as foreign minister during the administration of President
Vicente Fox, termed the Republican candidate’s victory “a catastrophe for Mexico.”
he doubted Trump would deport an estimated 11 million undocumented residents of the United States, Castañeda nonetheless
predicted the new U.S. president would deport about two million Mexicans, a number similar to the Obama Administration’s
deportation record. The U.S. election results “demand that Mexican elites lend more attention to the bilateral relationship,”
“The abhorrent thing that is sick and crazy is that Mexico is at the center of the U.S. campaign
and we don’t do anything.” The Mexican academic also predicted that Trump would seek to renegotiate but not scrap
NAFTA, and add to the size of a border wall that in fact already exists on sections of the line between the U.S. and Mexico.
Corral, the new governor of the border state of Chihuahua, said he would reach out to the Peña Nieto administration,
fellow border governors and Chihuahua-born migrants, many of whom live in California, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. While
deploring the U.S. election as scary, Corral said it was also time to refocus discussion on immigration, push border economic
development and protect Mexican immigrants in the United States from persecution.
“The government of the Republic,
the president of the Republic, should turn their eyes to see the northern border at this moment as a strategic bastion,”
society organizations also began weighing in on the Trump victory. Based in Saltillo, Coahuila, Casa del Migrante urged Mexico
City to establish a “diplomatic and political counterweight” with other Latin American nations for the purpose
of protecting their nationals in the United States.
for consistency in principle and practice, the migrant assistance and advocacy organization proposed a revamping of Mexican
immigration policies. “It is more important now than ever for the Mexican State to change its restrictive migration
policy into one that takes up the challenge and opportunity of transforming this country back to what it once was: a Mexico
disposed to protect and give entrance to all human beings that need its protection,” Casa del Migrante stated.
La Jornada, November 10, 2016. Articles by Israel Rodriguez, Rosa Elvira Vargas and editorial staff. Aristeguinoticias.com, November 9, 2016. Article by Isaias Robles. Arrobajuarez.com, November 9,
2016. Lapolaka.com, November 9, 2016. El Universal, November 8,
2016. El Diario de Juarez/El Financiero, November 8 and 9, 2016. Proceso/Apro, November 8 and 9, 2016.
Articles by Alvaro Delgado, Juan Carlos Cruz Vargas, Mathieu Tourliere, Luciano Campos Garza, and editorial staff.
with authorization from Frontera NorteSur, a free, on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news source; translation FNS. Frontera NorteSur (FNS), Center for Latin American and Border Studies, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico