Mexico, Politics

LETTER TO MEXICAN CANDIDATES CLAUDIA SHEINBAUM AND XÓCHITL GÁLVEZ

Esteemed Candidates:
You have both already made history. Despite its long machista tradition, Mexico will – finally! – have a woman president. And that means a lot for a country where they kill, disappear and abuse so many women.

It was male presidents who brought Mexico to this terrible state of violence, and now it will be up to one of you to look for a path to peace. It will not be easy. In fact, your principal job will be to make sure that not so many people are killed and disappeared.

Please, do not allow the violence to become the norm.

*It is not normal that we will finish the current six-year presidential term with nearly 190,000 murders.
*It is not normal that an average of 81 Mexicans are murdered each day.
*It is not normal that the mayority of crimes go unpunished.
*It is not normal that nearly 5,000 femicides were reported during the current government.
*It is not normal that 43 journalists have lost their lives in five years just for doing their job.
*It is not normal that we don’t know the whereabouts of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa.
*And it is not normal that they want to disappear the lists of the disappeared. Before the start of the current government’s much publicized and controversial recount, the U.N. Committee on Enforced Disappearances had reported more than 111,000 such cases in Mexico since 1962 and more than 53,000 human remains found but unidentified.

Mexico is a country of graves and desperation. You can change that reality.

That is why your next government must be on the side of the victims of violence, the families of the students, the feminist activists and the mothers searching for missing children. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador never understood that criticisms of the violence in Mexico were not directed at him personally. They were meant to correct policies that never worked. It is too late. But now it’s your turn.

On this side of the border, the millions of people like me who were born in Mexico but live in the United States also need your support. For decades, all the presidential candidates in Mexico have promised that they would not forget us. And they forget us at the first disagreement with the White House.

It is not easy to be a Mexican in the United States when there is a presidential candidate, like Donald Trump, who has falsely labeled us as “criminals” and “rapists.” And worse still when there’s a growing tendency to criminalize all migrants, regardless of where they come front. The best way to protect us is with documents. I’ll explain.

There’s been no immigration reform in the United States since 1986. And it’s urgent that we legalize some 10 million undocumented migrants, most of them Mexicans. This is what you can do for us: Pressure the US president and Congress to do something about it. I know it’s complicated. For now US politicians, campaigning for the coming elections, are focused on reinforcing the border. But the flow of migrants – and fentanyl – from south to north is controlled in Mexico, and that is a tremendous negotiating point. Today, the United States needs Mexico.

Each year we send billions of dollars in remittances to our families in Mexico. Just in 2023 we sent $64 billion. You have seen it. When you go into a town or a city, you can spot the homes of those who left and have been sending a few dollars. Mexico has never left us. We only need a helping hand.

Aside from the violence – the worst in the modern history of Mexico – another grave mistake of the López Obrador regime was dividing the country. It was always Us vs. Them. We have to stop that kind of polarization. I understand that each of you has a different vision. But this division, promoted during the president’s morning news conferences from the National Palace, makes no sense at all.

I know we never use the country’s official name, the United States of Mexico. But we’re failing on the “united” part. There is, for example, great pride and a sense of unity when we watch our national women’s soccer selection play. They are, without a doubt, among the best in the world. And I believe that the same sense of unity and enthusiasm can be achieved when we talk about a country that is safer, with fewer economic inequalities and with a growing democracy. The majority agrees. We have to take advantage of the common grounds.

Elections are designed precisely to bring about change. To leave behind the last six years and modify everything that did not work out well. Don’t be afraid of breaking with the current president. He’ll get angry anyhow, and there are many areas that can be improved. AMLO’s time has run out. Next.

Regardless of who wins, the fact that you both are candidates for the presidency is the best lesson we can give our sons and daughters.

Don’t fail us.

By Jorge Ramos Ávalos

Image by: Wikimedia , Wikimedia with license CC BY-SA 4.0

Previous ArticleNext Article
Jorge Ramos has been the anchorman for Noticiero Univision since 1986. He writes a weekly column for more than 40 newspapers in the United States and Latin America, and provides daily radio commentary for the Radio Univision network. Ramos also hosts Al Punto, Univision’s weekly public affairs program offering analysis of the week’s top stories, and Fusion’s AMERICA with Jorge Ramos, a news program geared towards young adults. Ramos has won eight Emmy awards and is the author of ten books, most recently, STRANGER - The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era.

A survey conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center found that Ramos is the second most recognized Latino leader in the country. Latino Leaders magazine chose him as one of “The Ten Most Admired Latinos” and “101 Top Leaders of the Latino Community in the U.S.”

-