On Sunday, President Donald Trump challenged Mexico to do more to stem the tide of migrants from Central America who are seeking to reach the United States. As news circulated that a  "caravan" of mostly-Honduran migrants was on its way during Holy Week, Trump tweeted, "Mexico is doing very little, if not nothing at stopping people from flowing into Mexico through their southern border and then into the US." In a stream of tweets that extended into Monday, Trump wrote, "[Mexico] laugh[s] at our dumb immigration laws. They must stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA. [We] need [a] wall."

Vicente Fox, a former president of Mexico who has frequently criticized Trump, unleashed a Twitter storm of his own. Commenting on Trump’s tweets, Fox wrote that the president is "blackmail[ing]... Mexico and the Mexicans."

In Spanish, Fox wrote: “Donald Trump continues to blackmail, offending and denigrating Mexico and Mexicans. Someone should stop him: Mexico’s congress, [Mexican President Enrique] Peña Nieto, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mexico as a whole? It is absolutely outrageous what he is doing to Mexican Dreamers.” In English, Fox directed himself to Trump, writing, “Acting like a spoiled child, won't get you anywhere in politics! DACA is not only a program, it's a way of living for hundreds of thousands of young people. America wake up and stop him! U.S. Congress needs to prevent this child from destroying what's left of the American Dream.”

Fox, a former Coca-Cola executive, wrote, “Trump, have you ever stopped to wonder what caused the decay of the U.S? Mexico is not to blame for it! You ignited the flame of hate and fear all across the nation, not believing one word you said then, much less today. The country was stolen by you.” While Trump has consistently called for stricter measures on narcotics, Fox wrote, "Stop the Twitter threats. Drugs will keep pouring into the U.S. as long as people consume them."

On Monday, Trump appeared to link the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is currently being re-negotiated, to action by Mexico to stop migrants traversing its territory. In response, Fox wrote, “NAFTA is a win-win scenario, which has made not only Mexico but the U.S. and Canada, the most thriving region in the world. The U.S. has a deficit with almost every country, mainly because you import more than you export.” Currently, more than 70 percent of Mexico’s exports cross the border into the U.S. 

Mexico is facing a presidential election on July 1. Currently, candidate Manuel Lopez Obrador of a coalition of leftist groupings is leading voter intentions. A coalition that includes former president Vicente Fox’s pro-business National Action Party (PAN) is second in voter intentions. Fox -- who was a popular and largely effective president -- may be seeking to bolster that latter candidate’s support among Mexican nationalists. On Monday, Fox called on Lopez Obrador to debate the left-right coalition led by Ricardo Anaya, which includes PAN.

Also on Monday, Fox appeared to blame a drop in stock prices that Wall Street saw on Monday. CNN reported that stock analysts were blaming trade tensions for Dow's drop of 459 points in trading. 

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Spero News writer 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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