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'Trump Emergency': Mexico Reacts to the Real Possibility of a Trump Presidency

Former President Vicente Fox apologized for his earlier comments about the "fucking wall," while a high level official from the current government said preparations for a "Trump emergency" are underway.

by Nathaniel Janowitz
May 5 2016, 7:55pm

Imagen por Tannen Maury/EPA

Donald Trump is not a popular man in Mexico. Piñatas made in his image are beaten with sticks throughout the country, two former presidents have called him crazy, and the country's current leader has compared him to Hitler and Mussolini.

But could all that change now that the man who called Mexicans "rapists" and has promised a "big beautiful wall" along the border has nearly locked up the Republican nomination?

Two months ago Former President Vicente Fox wagged his finger and said "I'm not paying for that fucking wall." Yesterday, he rushed to apologize to the man he had also previously called a "false prophet."

"If I offended you, I'm sorry," Fox said in a video interview with Breitbart News, eyes shifting back and forth from the interviewers to the camera where he addressed Trump directly, "But what about the other way around?"

Fox also invited him to visit Mexico and see "what it's all about" in a cordial tone that he even emphasized by calling his own apology "humble."

"You have to love thy neighbor," he urged the presumed Republican candidate.

Others have gone further and actively embraced the idea that the business magnate could replace President Barack Obama.

Governor of the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, Jaime Rodriguez, said he's betting on Trump winning the presidency, though he himself wouldn't vote for him.

"I made a bet," Rodriguez told a meeting of financial sector bigwigs in the state capital Monterrey. "What's Trump doing? He's taking advantage of the anger. The whole world says Trump is mad; that's what they said about me."

Related: Trump's Wall Idea Has Mexico Pissed — but Immigrants Keep Trying to Cross the Border

Despite decades as a member of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, Rodriguez, often referred to by his nickname "El Bronco," is a popular anti-establishment figure. This owes much to his swashbuckling bravado and the fact that he won the governorship as an independent by a landslide, and against all odds. He is now regularly mentioned as a possible independent candidate for the 2018 presidential race.

With Trump on Mexican political minds, the pressure is rising on President Enrique Peña Nieto to say something as well.

Aside from a brief bout of strongly voiced objections to Trump's comments on Mexico and Mexican immigration in March, such as the comparison with European dictators, Peña Nieto has tended to avoid the subject.

Trump tweets himself eating a non-traditional Mexican dish on Cinco de Mayo. Popular with Mexican-Americans, Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated in Mexico.(Photo via Twitter)

Trump's near certain nomination did, however, prompt a comment from Humberto Roque, deputy interior minister for migration.

"The Mexican government is deep in analysis over how to face what we could call the Trump emergency," he said on Wednesday.

He was particularly critical of Trump's claims that he will block remittances if Mexico does not agree to pay for the frontier wall he wants to build to keep Mexicans out. "We live in a globalized world," Roque said. "The Unites States would have to go back to the middle ages to prohibit remittances."

So far, however, the Mexican government has not been firm enough for former Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda who, 15 years ago, spearheaded a Mexican effort to secure a major immigration reform under President Fox. That effort — dubbed "the whole enchilada" — was buried under the twin towers.

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"The problem is that Peña Nieto and his government do not have a clue about what they should do," Castañeda told VICE News. "It was a huge mistake to underestimate him before, and it would be a huge mistake to underestimate him now."

Castañeda urged the government to be much more active making its displeasures known, as well as explaining to Mexicans at home and in the US what a Trump victory would mean.

"It should be made clear to Americans that the Mexican government and Mexican society believe that [Trump's] stances are harmful to Mexican-American relations," he said.

Castañeda added that he was confused by Fox's willingness to apologize for his previous comments about the wall when these were mostly "right on" as well as in line with the prevailing sentiments of many Mexicans.

Luis, a young college student in Mexico City waiting for a street sandwich before his morning classes, seemed to agree.

"Trump is a pinche pendejo," he said, using a particularly offensive way of saying fucking dumbass as the smell of sizzling meat wafted off the stand. "He doesn't like Mexico, and we don't like him."

Trump's declaration of "I love Hispanics" in a Cinco de Mayo tweet featuring a photograph of himself eating a taco bowl is unlikely to soften his image in Mexico.

Taco bowls are almost unheard of south of the border. And, although popular in the United States with Mexican-Americans, Cinco de Mayo is not generally celebrated in Mexico.

Often misrepresented as a commemoration of Mexican independence, the day actually marks a Mexican victory over invading French forces in 1862. The French went on to win the war, though they would be kicked out a year later.

Related: Some Mexicans Celebrated Easter by Burning Effigies of Donald Trump

Follow Nathaniel Janowitz on Twitter: @ngjanowitz