Writing today on Twitter, President Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico tweeted that the Mexican government has informed the White House that he will not be present for the "working meeting planned for next Tuesday." On Twitter last night, he repeated his refusal to pay for the border wall contemplated by President Donald Trump and suggested that the meeting was off.
 
Earlier today, Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that "it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting" with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto the latter country "is unwilling to pay" for a wall on its border with the United States. Peña Nieto broadcasted a statement on television, YouTube and Twitter last night in which he repeated his defiant refusal to pay for the wall. In addition, he said he is taking steps to “protect” the rights of his compatriots who are living in the US.
Today on Twitter, Trump wrote, "The U.S. has a 60 billion dollar trade deficit with Mexico. It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA with massive numbers of jobs and companies lost."
Trump continued along those lines, saying "If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting."
As it stands now, Trump and Peña Nieto are no longer scheduled to meet on January 31. They met for the first time during Trump’s campaign, but this is the first bilateral meeting since Trump took office. During his campaign, Trump’s most-oft repeated promise was that a wall would be built along the nation’s southern border, while also promising that he would use American advantages in the area of trade to finance its construction. One solution that has been discussed is placing a surcharge on remittances being wired by Mexicans living in the US to Mexico.
 
In an interview with David Muir of ABC News broadcast last night, Trump confirmed that he wants to see works on the wall to begin within "months." He did not directly answer a question from the interviewer over whether American taxpayers would initially pay for the wall.  "All it is is we'll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico," Trump said. When Muir said that Peña Nieto refuses to pay for the barrier, Trump was emphatic. "I think he has to say that. He has to say that," Trump said. "But I'm just telling you there will be a payment. It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form, and you have to understand what I'm doing is good for the United States. It's also going to be good for Mexico. We want to have a very stable, very solid Mexico."
Yesterday, he signed two executive orders related to immigration and the construction of the wall, telling DHS employees that they will "restore the rule of law."
 
"A nation without borders is not a nation," Trump said. "Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control as it gets back its borders." For his part, House Speaker Paul Ryan told MSNBC that the US has "a lot of different ways" to make Mexico "contribute" to building the wall.
 
Trump is not popular in Mexico, especially among leftist politicians. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a presidential aspirant who leads the leftist Morena party, tweeted “President Trump: you wall offends us and gives the lie to the Statue of Liberty.” Lopez Obrador has recently taken a detour towards the political center and has called on Mexicans to support their president. All the same, Lopez Obrador said he will plea before international courts over the supposed illegality of the proposed border barrier. “Long live brotherhood,” he tweeted. At a recent  political event near Mexico City, he called on the Mexican government to haul Trump before the United Nations for alleged “racial discrimination and violation of human rights.”
 
The grand old man of Mexican leftists, Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas -- whose grandfather, as president in the early years of the 20th century, seized American petroleum interests  -- called on Peña Nieto to cancel his trip to the US and “seek a dignified policy” instead. Cárdenas is the founder of the leftist opposition PRD party and has sought the presidency three times. He claimed that high-ranking Mexican officials who had gone to Washington to initiate negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement had “the door slammed on their noses.”



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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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