May 31, 2019

AMLO's letter to Donald Trump: "I am not a coward, I act on principles"

Here is our translation of the letter sent by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to US President Donald Trump. While we have criticized the Mexican government's immigration policies and actions in recent months-- and will no doubt continue to do so-- this letter represents a welcome turning point in what has been a disappointingly conciliatory attitude on the part of the AMLO administration toward Trump's most aggregious anti-immigrant and anti-Mexico positions.

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President Donald Trump,

I am aware of your latest position related to Mexico.  First, I want to express to you that I do not want confrontation. The people and the nations that we represent deserve that, when faced with any conflict in relations, however serious, we rely on dialogue and act with prudence and responsibility.

The best president of Mexico, Benito Juárez, maintained excellent relations with the  Republican hero, Abraham Lincoln. Later, at the time of the oil expropriation, the Democratic president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, understood the profound reasons that led the patriot president Lazaro Cárdenas to act in favor of our sovereignty. By the way, President Roosevelt was a titan of liberties. Before anyone else, he proclaimed the four fundamental rights of man (sic): the right to freedom of speech, the right to freedom to worship in one’s own way, the right to freedom from fear, and the right to freedom from want. 

This is the basis of our policy on immigration. Human beings do not abandon their homes because they want to, but rather out of necessity. This is why from the beginning of my government, I proposed to choose cooperation for development and aid to the Central American countries, with productive investments to create jobs and resolve the root causes in this unfortunate matter.

You know that we are complying with our responsibility to avoid, to the degree possible and without violating human rights, transit through our county. It is pertinent to recall that, in a short time, Mexicans will no longer need to turn to the United States and that migration will be optional, not forced. This is because we are fighting corruption--the main problem in Mexico-- as never before. And in this way, our country will become a great power with a social dimension. Our countrymen and women will be able to work and be happy where they were born, where their family, customs and culture are.

President Trump: social problems are not solved with taxes or coercive measures. How can it be that the country of brotherhood for migrants of the world be converted, from one day to the next, into a ghetto, an enclosed space that stigmatizes, mistreats, persecutes, expels and cancels out the right to justice of those who seek, through their effort and work, to live free of want? The statue of liberty is not an empty symbol.

With all respect, although you have the sovereign right to express it, the slogan “America First”· is a fallacy because until the end of time, even above national borders, universal justice and fraternity will prevail.

Specifically, Mr. President: I propose to you that we deepen dialogue, search for alternatives that go to the root of the migration problem, and please, remember that I do not lack courage, that I am not a coward nor timid, but that I act on principles: I believe that politics, among other things, was invented to avoid confrontation. I do not believe in the Law of Talion, with its “tooth for a tooth” and “eye for an eye” because, if that is where we take this, all of us will be toothless and blind. I believe that statesmen and even more, nations’ leaders, are obliged to seek peaceful solutions to controversies and to put them into practice, for example, the beautiful idea of non-violence.

Lastly, I propose that you instruct your officials, if you find it appropriate, to sit down with the representatives of our government, headed by Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Relations who will depart tomorrow to Washington to arrive at an agreement that benefits both our two nations.

Nothing by force, everything by reason and law!

Andrés Manuel López Obrador
President of Mexico

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