• May 24th, 2024
  • Friday, 11:33:00 PM

México Offers Aid for Harvey Victims

Photo: Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Sandberg/Defense.gov México provided significant aid to the U.S. in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

With a clear, diplomatic response, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday quashed President Trump’s latest attempt to convince the public that México will pay for the border wall he promised his supporters, and debunked a number of his other repeated claims about the United States’ southern neighbor—while offering help to the U.S. as Texas copes with the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

México released its statement after Trump sent the following tweets, as Harvey was bringing catastrophic flooding to Houston on Sunday: With México being one of the highest crime Nations in the world, we must have THE WALL. Mexico will pay for it through reimbursement/other. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 27, 2017; and, We are in the NAFTA (worst trade deal ever made) renegotiation process with Mexico & Canada. Both being very difficult, may have to terminate? — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 27, 2017.

“As the Mexican government has always maintained, our country will not pay, under any circumstances for a wall or physical barrier that is built in US territory along the Mexican border,” read the statement by the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “This determination is not part of a Mexican negotiating strategy, but a principle of national sovereignty and dignity.”

México also addressed the Republican president’s assertion that the wall is needed to protect Americans from Mexican criminals, pointing out that drug trafficking is a problem of demand as well as supply:

“With regard to the violence generated in México by the illicit traffic in drugs, arms and money between our countries, we reiterate that it is a shared problem that will only end if its root causes are addressed: the high demand for drugs in the United States and the offer from México (and other countries)…Only on the basis of the principles of shared responsibility, teamwork and mutual trust can we overcome this challenge.”

The Foreign Ministry took on an almost parental tone to address Trump’s tweet about NAFTA and his penchant for discussing foreign relations, trade, and his policy agenda via Twitter, saying, “México will not negotiate NAFTA, nor any other aspect of the bilateral relationship, through social networks or the media.”

The statement ended by noting that México has offered support to the U.S. “to deal with the impacts of [Hurricane Harvey], as good neighbors should always do in times of difficulty.”

The Foreign Ministry’s statement left out the fact that the U.S. has relied heavily on Mexican aid in the recent past. As the Washington Post reported Monday, México provided significant aid to the U.S. in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“Marking the first time that Mexican troops had set foot on U.S. soil since the Mexican-American War in 1846, President Vicente Fox sent an army convoy and a naval vessel laden with food, water and medicine,” wrote Max Bearak in the Post. “By the end of their three-week operation in Louisiana and Mississippi, the Mexicans had served 170,000 meals, helped distribute more than 184,000 tons of supplies and conducted more than 500 medical consultations.”

On Twitter, commentators also noted the especially poor timing of Trump’s latest attack on México, considering the U.S. may need to take México up on its offer of aid in the coming days.

“Mr. President, México came to our aid during Hurricane Katrina. Now’s not the time,” tweeted María Teresa Kumar, founding President & CEO of Voto Latino, and the host of MSNBC.com’s show, Changing America.

Julia Conley is a staff writer as Commondreams.org.