By RICARDO CASTILLO
Which Border Wall Did Trump Mean?
Oh, my God! Not again!!!
U.S. President Donald Trump reignited his 2016 campaign war cry while stumping in Wildwood, New Jersey, on Tuesday, Jan. 28, saying that he would make Mexico pay for the border wall.
After describing costs and the 400-mile-stretch already built of his “beautiful” wall, Trump capped his campaign speech claiming: “But, Mexico is, in fact, you will soon see, paying for the wall, okay?”
This reporter does not need to do research to know that nowhere in the Mexican government’s budget – for this or coming years – is there a single centavo for The Don’s wall.
It was clear, nevertheless, that claiming again that Mexico is paying was spiking the journalism hornet’s nest in Mexico with the ensuing myriad of misinterpretations.
For instance, on Thursday, Jan. 30, one cartoonist pictured Trump claiming he just got his first check for the wall. Behind him is a check that says “Good for 27,000,” issued by the National Guard Bank, in reference to the 27,000 agents Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) deployed to contain the massive flow of Central American migrants trying to make the trek to the U.S. border through Mexico.
The fact is that, in his speech, Trump never mentioned any details as to how Mexico is paying for the wall, but Mexico is footing the bill for the National Guard and all the expenses caused by the change of purpose for the use of the 27,000 agents turned immigration cops, whose original plan was to patrol dangerous criminal areas in the country.
During AMLO’s press conference Wednesday, Jan. 29, many a “fifi” reporter tried to corner the president into confessing guilt for Trump’s comment.
But then, AMLO, a bullfight cape artist, saw the intent of the reporters looking to irritate him with annoying themes and plainly told them “you’re not going to tease me into discussing” Trump’s claim, or any interpretation of it. AMLO used the Caribbean Spanish slang term “cuquear” to refer to the teasing. The Mexican president also pointed to the fact that Trump is in the midst of a political campaign. and while on campaign, “anything goes,” AMLO said.
But, yes, Mexico is paying for the wall, but not the one at the U.S. border, the human one at the Guatemala border. And that’s not a campaign issue, not in the United States.
By the way, one hour after AMLO’s press conference, Trump signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). which sent a clear sign of approval that relations between him and AMLO may be distant, but that the two are in agreement over trade issues.
To finish off discussing the issue with nagging reporters, AMLO, in reference to Trump, raised both his hands with the V sign. “Love and peace,” he quipped, with a cheek to cheek grin. Olé!
AMLO’s chief of staff Alfonso Romo continues to gain power inside the National Palace.
On Thursday. Jan. 30, AMLO tweeted that Romo will be at the helm of his “cabinet for economic growth,” to coordinate private investment. His job will be to manage – which he already does, by the way – contacts with Mexican entrepreneurs and explore all possibilities to pull out the Fourth Transformation economics out of the sand trap of zero growth for this year again.
Romo and cabinet members will coordinate all project being separately carried out by the Finance, Economy, Communications, Environment and Energy Secretariats.
Energy Secretary Rocío Nahle said that all of these secretariats “have projects, but we have to attract the participation of private investors.”
How well will Romo, a capitalist, get along with the mostly leftist cabinet ideologues surrounding AMLO is a story yet to be written. But, for sure, he’s the right man to lure private investment to public works, for a profit, of course.
Sports: NFL Returns to Azteca
As part of the Super Bowl week festivities in Miami, National Football League (NFL) commissioner Roger Goodell announced that during 2020 and 2021, Mexico City’s Aztec Stadium will be the venue to two regular league games.
“The main objective is to have the NFL continue with its growth beyond the United States territory, and it’s well known that Mexico is the country with most football fans outside of the USA,” Goodell said.
Last November, the Kansas City Chiefs played against the Los Angeles Chargers (Chiefs won 24-17) before 76,252 ticket-paying fans.
For 2020, the rumor in Miami is that the match may be between the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots.
For sure, the presence of quarterback Tom Brady will pack the old Azteca.