Trump’s poli­cies irk south­ern neigh­bor

Trade de­pends on U.S. part­ner­ships

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD - BY MARK STEVEN­SON

MEX­ICO CITY | Fac­ing an un­prece­dented chal­lenge from its al­ways dif­fi­cult neigh­bor to the north, Mex­ico is mo­bi­liz­ing to re­sist Pres­i­dent Trump’s poli­cies in ways that range from the sen­si­ble to the strange.

Mex­i­can ne­go­tia­tors are ham­mer­ing out a trade deal with Europe in a bid to re­duce re­liance on U.S. mar­kets fol­low­ing Mr. Trump’s pledge to rene­go­ti­ate the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment and his ef­forts to stop com­pa­nies from mov­ing U.S. plants south of the bor­der. The U.S. re­ceives three-quar­ters of Mex­ico’s ex­ports and sup­plies half of its im­ports.

Faced with the U.S. pres­i­dent’s hard line on il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, Mex­ico has set up work­shops and hot­lines to ed­u­cate mi­grants about their rights in the face of de­por­ta­tions, though those have ac­tu­ally fallen about 13 per­cent since Mr. Trump took of­fice.

So com­mon are the pub­lic ser­vice an­nounce­ments about what mi­grants should do if U.S. im­mi­gra­tion agents show up at their door — don’t open it, ask for the agents’ names and search war­rants — that ra­dio lis­ten­ers in Mex­ico City now likely know more about deal­ing with U.S. agents than with cor­rupt lo­cal cops or about other press­ing pub­lic is­sues like fight­ing dengue and Zika.

But Mr. Trump’s poli­cies and com­ments about Mex­ico have also stirred up some odder sug­ges­tions and awak­ened some very old ghosts.

For the past 30 years, lawyer Guillermo Ham­dan has spent his free time pre­par­ing le­gal ar­gu­ments for declar­ing null and void the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hi­dalgo, un­der which Mex­ico re­ceived $15 mil­lion from the U.S. but ceded Cal­i­for­nia and most of Ari­zona, Ne­vada and Utah, and parts of Colorado, Wy­oming and New Mex­ico. The ter­ri­to­ries have been part of the United States for al­most 170 years — about seven times longer than they were part of in­de­pen­dent Mex­ico.

Mr. Ham­dan ar­gues the treaty is in­valid be­cause it was signed un­der duress as the re­sult of the 1846-48 Mex­i­can-Amer­i­can War launched with a U.S. in­va­sion. A Mex­i­can vic­tory would re­quire Washington to re­turn much of the ter­ri­tory or pay repa­ra­tions that Mr. Ham­dan calls “in­cal­cu­la­ble.”

While Mex­ico’s gov­ern­ments have shown no in­ter­est in tak­ing up the case, his case has gained pub­lic at­ten­tion lately in the coun­try.

“The out­rage over the hu­mil­i­at­ing treat­ment [of Mex­ico] by Trump” was the spur for dust­ing off the 170-year-old case, Mr. Ham­dan said.

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