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Divulgando la cultura en dos idiómas.

AMLO Turns a Blind Eye to Trump




By Jorge Ramos

There are three ways to deal with a bully: let him have his way, confront him or ignore him completely. In dealing with Donald Trump, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador — AMLO, as he is known — has chosen the third option. So far it has worked. But the strategy has too many holes to be effective in the long run, especially when applied to a relationship as complex as that between Mexico and the United States.
The key foreign policy challenge faced by AMLO at the beginning of his term was finding a way to rein in the aggressive behavior of the United States, Mexico’s northern neighbor and main trade partner. It now appears the Mexican leader has already found his formula: Don’t pay attention to anything Trump says, and don’t take it personally.
Ignoring Trump ― and refraining from replying to his various tweets and threats ― requires a Zen-like calm. Many of those who confront him have suffered both wounded pride and a cascade of personal attacks aimed at them on social media. (Trump has over 59 million followers on Twitter.)
The fact that López Obrador has decided to avoid any confrontation, either public or private, with the president of the United States isn’t a matter of boldness or personal value, it’s actually about outsmarting Trump.
A few days ago, Trump posted several tweets against the Mexican administration. “Mexico is doing NOTHING to help stop the flow of illegal immigrants to our Country,” he declared in one. “Next step is to close the border!” he followed in another, making his greatest threat yet.
Any other president would have appeared on TV to provide assurances that Mexico is working hard to tackle the influx of Central American immigrants crossing through its territory to reach the United States, and would have warned that closing the border could have terrible consequences for both countries. Not López Obrador.
When asked to reply to Trump during one of the early morning news conferences he has held almost daily since taking office, AMLO refused, adding only that Mexico should be cautious. Even though this is a very important matter for Mexico, that was all he would say.
López Obrador’s strategy worked. A few days after Trump’s Twitter outburst, the U.S. president walked back his comments, telling a group of reporters that he would give Mexico one year to reduce the flow of drugs into the United States, an issue he sees as directly connected to immigration. If Mexico fails, he added, he will impose economic sanctions on the country and close the border.
By letting Trump twist in the wind by himself, AMLO has gained time, space and, most importantly, achieved his desired results.
Trump is not exactly the Mexican president’s cup of tea. In an interview in 2017, I asked López Obrador if he thought Trump was a racist. “Yes. Yes, he has said so. He fuels racism,” he replied. Even so, AMLO has yet to let his personal opinion of Trump get in the way of the relationship between the two countries.
Still, López Obrador can’t keep ignoring Trump’s rants and abuses indefinitely. There has to be a tipping point. Back when Enrique Peña Nieto was president, I strongly criticized his government for failing to protect the more than 35 million people of Mexican descent living in the United States. At the time, not a single Mexican official had appeared on Fox News to stand up for those immigrants and against Trump. López Obrador cannot afford to make the same mistake. He must be the president of all the Mexican people, regardless of where they live.
It is clear that Trump will continue his attacks on Mexico, as part of his reelection effort. Someone has to stand up to him.
Unfortunately, I have my doubts that AMLO’s leadership style will change dramatically ― or for that matter, soon. Take his March 29 appearance in Poza Rica, in the state of Veracruz, for the presentation of a new social initiative. It suggests two things. First, López Obrador is a leader who enjoys mingling and engaging with people, and prefers following his gut to taking a more institutional approach. Second, he has the strong belief that anyone can defeat a bully by ignoring him.
“Don’t you think that we should have a positive relationship with the administration of President Donald Trump?” López Obrador asked the audience gathered for the event. “Yes,” the people in attendance answered loudly.
“Let’s see by a show of hands who thinks I should reply to President Donald Trump every time he talks about Mexico,” he said, though he already knew what would happen. A video of the event provided by his administration showed no raised hands.
“Now, please show your hands if you think we should be cautious,” he continued. Almost every hand was raised.
“That’s my people!” AMLO concluded with excitement, clapping along.

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Desactivando a Trump

Hay tres formas de lidiar con un “bully”: una, dejarse; dos, enfrentarlo; y tres, ignorarlo. El presidente de México, Andrés Manuel López Obrador ha decidido la tercera opción en su relación con Donald Trump. Por ahora, le ha funcionado. Pero esta estrategia tiene muchos huecos para sostenerse en una relación tan compleja como la de México y Estados Unidos.
El principal reto de la política exterior de López Obrador era cómo desactivar las agresiones de su vecino y principal socio comercial. Y ya encontró una fórmula: No le hagas caso a todo lo que diga Trump y no te lo tomes personal.
Ignorar a Trump — y no reaccionar ante todos sus tuits y amenazas — requiere una personalidad zen. Más de uno se le ha puesto a las trompadas y ha salido con una avalancha de críticas en las redes sociales y con el orgullo golpeado. (Trump tiene más de 59 millones de seguidores en Twitter.)
López Obrador no se ha enfrentado al Presidente de Estados Unidos en público ni en privado. Esto no es una cuestión de valentía o de valores personales sino de ser más listo que Trump.
Hace unos días Trump sacó varios tuits en contra del gobierno de México. En uno de ellos dijo que “México no está haciendo NADA … ” para detener la inmigración ilegal a Estados Unidos. Y en otro su amenaza más grande: “El siguiente paso es cerrar la frontera”.
Otro presidente, quizás, hubiera salido en televisión a decir que México está haciendo mucho para encarar la situación en su territorio con los centroamericanos que cruzan hacia Estados Unidos y que tendría terribles consecuencias económicas, para ambos lados, cerrar la frontera. Pero no López Obrador.
En una de sus conferencias de prensa “mañaneras”, se rehusó a contestarle a Trump, diciendo que hay que actuar con prudencia. Eso es todo. A pesar de que se trataban de temas centrales para México.
El plan funcionó. Días después Trump cambió de opinión y le dijo a un grupo de reporteros que “le vamos a dar [a México] una advertencia de un año” para reducir las drogas y la migración. Si no, dijo, impondrá sanciones económicas y cerraría la frontera.
La estrategia de dejar a Trump dar vueltas en el viento le está dando a López Obrador el espacio, el tiempo y, sobre todo, los resultados que quiere.
Pero tampoco es que Trump le caiga bien al Presidente mexicano. En una entrevista en el 2017, cuando le pregunté si para él Trump era un racista, me contestó: “Sí. Sí, él lo ha expresado. Azuza el racismo”. Pero, hasta el momento, no ha dejado que su opinión sobre Trump afecte las relaciones entre ambos países.
Sin embargo, AMLO no puede continuar indefinidamente callado frente a los gritos y atropellos de Trump. Tiene que haber un límite. Una de mis críticas principales al gobierno de Enrique Peña Nieto es que nos dejó solos a los más de 35 millones de personas de origen mexicano que vivimos en Estados Unidos. Ningún funcionario de México daba la cara en Fox News para defender a los inmigrantes y criticar a las políticas de Trump. López Obrador no puede caer en el mismo error; debe ser el Presidente de todos los mexicanos, independientemente de dónde vivan.
Si algo es seguro es que Trump seguirá golpeando a México en su intento de ser reelegido. Y alguien tiene que ponerle un alto.
Pero sospecho que el estilo de gobernar de AMLO no va a cambiar mucho. Ni muy rápido. Un reciente evento en Poza Rica, Veracruz, demuestra con absoluta claridad dos cosas: El tipo de liderazgo más intuitivo que institucional que le gusta a López Obrador — en contacto con la gente, consultando, dialogando — y su convicción de que al bully se le puede ganar si lo ignoras.
“¿Verdad que debemos llevar una buena relación con el gobierno del presidente Donald Trump?” les preguntó López Obrador a los asistentes. “Sí”, se escuchó fuerte en la audiencia.
Luego siguió el ejercicio.
“Que levanten la mano los que piensen que le debo de contestar cada vez que se refiere a México el presidente Donald Trump”, preguntó frente al micrófono, aunque ya sabía la respuesta. Y la cámara no mostró a nadie alzando la mano.
Y al final.
“A ver. Que levanten la mano los que piensen que debemos actuar con prudencia”. Las imágenes muestran a casi todas las personas levantando la mano.
“¡Eso es mi pueblo!”, dijo López Obrador con entusiasmo y se puso a aplaudir.

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