Mexico Launches Campaign to Boost Its Image in the U.S.

By Jerry Kammer, August 9, 2016

Mexico's Foreign Secretary is embarking on a campaign to enlist lobbyists and allies in many spheres of American life in order to rehabilitate the nation's reputation in the United States, according to an article in Mexico's largest newspaper. Donald Trump has seriously damaged that image in his campaign for the presidency, El Universal reported on Sunday.

The newspaper reported that the campaign is being led by Foreign Secretary Claudia Ruiz Massieu, who made 15 trips to the U.S. between last October and July. It is being launched as an urgent response to the government's own determination that "for Americans, Mexico is unhealthful, alien, remote, backwards, poor, corrupt, and tied with drug-trafficking," according to the report.

An official in Mexico's Foreign Affairs office told the newspaper that Americans change their negative perceptions of Mexico when they are informed that Mexico has the world's twelfth-largest economy, produces a third of the world's televisions, graduates more engineers than Germany and is the United States' third-largest trading partner.

The campaign is intended to defend the North American Free Trade agreement, which has vastly expanded trade between the two countries but which Trump has condemned as devastating for American workers whose jobs have been moved to Mexico. It will enlist the help of professional American lobbyists. And it will direct the staffs of Mexico's 50 consulates in the U.S. to develop allies in the media, academic life, and business.

In an editorial that accompanied the news story, El Universal defended Mexico against what it sees as American ignorance. It said:

"The reason for which a good percentage of the U.S. population has a negative opinion of our nation is simply and straightforwardly its enormous ignorance about it; ignorance of what Mexico means – culturally, historically, economically, and commercially for the entire world, but for the U.S. in particular."

The editorial said Trump "has made our country one of the principal scapegoats in his hate speech, in which he has called Mexican migrants as thieves and rapists."