Mexico Offers Aid for Harvey Victims Despite Trump’s Border Wall Rhetoric

Mexico Offers Aid for Harvey Victims Despite Trump’s Border Wall Rhetoric
The Mexican Army provided humanitarian relief to Katrina refugees in San Antonio in 2005. On Sunday, Mexico offered aid to the U.S. again as Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. | Photo: Joe Mitchell/Getty Images

With a clear, diplomatic response, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday quashed President Donald Trump’s latest attempt to convince the public that Mexico 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.

Mexico released its statement after Trump sent the following tweets, as Harvey was bringing catastrophic flooding to Houston on Sunday.

“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.

“This determination is not part of a Mexican negotiating strategy, but a principle of national sovereignty and dignity.”

The country also addressed the 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 Mexico 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 Mexico (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, “Mexico will not negotiate NAFTA, nor any other aspect of the bilateral relationship, through social networks or the media.”

The statement ended by noting that Mexico 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, Mexico 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 Mexico, considering the U.S. may need to take Mexico up on its offer of aid in the coming days.

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