Si existe, que nos salve de Peña Nieto – If he exists he should save us from Peña Nieto

Images of Mexico’s president and his family visiting the UK have circulated the internet, magazines and news throughout the week… “Here we see Angelica Rivera (low level celebrity from the 90’s soap operas, now married to the president) wearing similar clothes as the Windsors, visiting London in a golden chariot, having dinner in Buckingham Palace…” – That is a very different welcome than the Mexican people would give them, if I may say it, a very different one from which the Pena Nieto family deserves. Personally, I can only say that I am annoyed and even offended. The reactions of the First Family towards the Mexican society are some sort of a joke, as if they could hear nothing; actually as if they didn’t care. It’s clear to me that they have no worry. They sleep in their “White House” and move around guarded by a large number of security personnel wearing dresses worth ten thousand dollars… The needs of the “people”… they couldn’t care less. The Queen spoke of the “enduring friendship” between Mexico and the UK, Nick Clegg remarked that he hoped the visit would usher in a “new era of UK-Mexico relations which will bring our people even closer together”, and FCO Minister Hugo Swire tweeted that he found Peña Nieto’s speech “inspiring”. Even by the tawdry standards usually applied to British relations with Latin America, this takes some doing. Mexico is in the grip of an urgent human rights crisis with Amnesty International describing torture as “out of control” and accusing police and security services of having “blood in their hands”. More than 100 000 people have been killed and more than 22 000 have disappeared since Mexico launched a “war on drugs” in 2006. The most recent outrage in Mexico has been the disappearance and probable massacre of 43 students, which Peña Nieto insisted had nothing to do with the Mexican authorities – despite growing evidence of the contrary. I am aware that international diplomatic relations are necessary, but, is it necessary to take Paulina Peña (daughter) for the state visit to Buckingham Palace? Is it necessary for Sofia Castro (step daughter) to make a selfie wearing a Dolce & Gabanna worth 7 275 USD posing as Amal Clooney? Is all the publicity, show off and appearances necessary for a president that very honestly is doing a poor job? “And in the meantime in Mexico”… – letters show up in a frame in the same old school way of those 90s TV shows – In the meantime in Mexico… How can you forget about your missing son? How can someone ask you to learn to walk the streets in fear? How can someone ask you to live with 63 pesos while one kilo of tortillas costs 16 pesos? How can you get used to see corpses on top of corpses, piling up in your country? How can you get used to mass graves being found in which bodies cannot be identified? How can you tolerate for the responsible person of this absolute disaster to wonder around London in a golden chariot? How can you stomach to see them travelling the world problem free when all above are your daily concerns? No, it is not fair. And the whole thing is not a part of any national political agenda. I am very sure. The whole thing reminds me of Marie Antoinette, wife of King Louis XVI of France… As her servants informed her of her people being hungry; she answered – If they don’t have bread, they should eat cake – Point being that she was so far away from reality in Versailles she had no idea of what was happening to the people in Paris, and this is how I feel. I don’t think the Peña family should move out of their home and live like most Mexicans do, the only think that I ask for is for some sensibility and compassion for those that sponsor their lifestyle; to have some knowledge and understanding for the adversity they face and to stop being part of the poison that is killing Mexico. They shouldn’t complaint about the modest way people are voicing their need for change or defend themselves when they are the ones defending themselves with a large security detail, and the very least, they should stop saying to the national media that “the people” should mind their own business when they travel to Vegas (in the middle of the 43 missing students crisis) to have some fun and they owe “no one an explanation”. They do owe an explanation to the people that elected Enrique Peña into office and pay for their eccentricities. The kindest thing one could say about Peña Nieto with regards to the 43 missing students, the drug war, the murder of thousands, and the threats to journalists who try to expose these crimes, is that he has been totally incompetent, unforgivably slow to react, and has failed to adhere to even the most anodyne of his pre-election promises to approach the problems with narcotrafficking from a less militaristic standpoint. This failure means Mexico’s security services are still armed to the teeth, making it easier for them to commit exactly the sort of human rights violations condemned by Amnesty International and other human rights groups across the world. In light of these acts, David Cameron’s vague assurance that he would raise the “human rights issue” during Peña Nieto’s UK visit is laughable. The prime minister expresses horror when Isis militants behead captives to send a message to the west, and yet welcomes with open arms the president of a country in which innocent people are publicly beheaded by drug cartels in their hundreds, protected by a culture of silence and indifference. And yet, we should expect nothing less from the west’s attitude towards Latin America, which has been characterized by this kind of hypocrisy for centuries. Across the region, the US in particular has been unrestrained in its meddling with Latin American governments, frequently installing or befriending tyrants that submit to its will and then denouncing them as soon as they cease to be useful (sounds like something they have done in Africa and the Middle East right?). Similarly, US congress is preparing to issue sanctions against Venezuela for human rights violations committed by the security forces during protests last year; an incredible feat of double standards, given that even the harshest critics of Venezuela would agree that the human rights situation there is not even close to the crisis in Mexico, or for that matter, Colombia. Not that I want to give them any ideas. The US has enough power and inflicts enough pain to the Mexican people and economy as it is. Those who defend European and American policy in Latin America would probably invoke realpolitik; they might argue that the west’s hypocrisy is justifiable, given the need for nations to look out for their own interests. Whatever the reason, we shouldn’t be under any illusion about the consequences of those double standards. It’s not socialist leaders like Castro or Chavez who suffer the consequences from those actions; it’s the regions poorest and most vulnerable people – like those 43 Mexican students that do. For the Peña dynasty luck is not eternal and after a few days of a “dream” they will go back to Mexico, where Mexicans await them with open arms loaded of doubt and resentment. The results of this discontent are more and more visible. The People are often underestimated. This is a Nation thirsty and hungry for justice, disgusted of being laughed at, straight on their face. And if the Peñas were a bit more educated, they would know a bit more about history (which of course they don’t), they would realize that all large revolutions begin with social discontent and unequal wealth distribution. Many protesters now chant to “they take so much away from you that they take the fear away from you”. None is calling for a revolution now (I am not politically close to someone that would instigate or become active in one), but one has to speak up:  The Mexican people won’t tolerate this death and poverty circus forever. As Nemesio Garcia Naranjo said once: Pobre de México tan lejos de Dios y tan cerca de Estados Unidos – and the only thing I am left to add is “pero si existe, que nos salve del reino de Peña”.

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