Mexican President Responds to Deployment of U.S. National Guard

By Kausha Luna on April 6, 2018

On Thursday, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto addressed Mexican nationals after President Trump signed a memorandum to deploy the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border. During his speech, Peña Nieto also directly addressed Trump.

Peña Nieto's address is transcribed and translated below (my translation):

Mexicans: I am addressing you to discuss an issue of great importance for our country. I refer to the recent events that affect the relationship between Mexico and the United States.

A little over a year ago, responsible for directing the country's foreign policy, I established two fundamental principles that would guide our relationship with the administration of President Donald Trump. First, safeguard above all the national interest, our sovereignty, and the dignity of Mexicans. Secondly, maintain a constructive and open vision, which would allow us to overcome differences, face common challenges, and reach agreements.

We have been consistent with this vision. The efforts of the Mexican Government have been aimed at building an institutional relationship of mutual respect and benefit for both nations. That is why we have advanced in the negotiations to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement, with the aim of improving the competitiveness of the region and creating more and better jobs. Also, we have deepened efforts to combat transnational organized crime, which affects our communities so much.

At no time have we spared our cooperation, because we are aware of the shared responsibility that this important work implies. And, of course, we have defended the rights of Mexicans in the United States every day, always respecting the legal framework of that neighboring country.

The bilateral relationship entails enormous opportunities, which both nations should take advantage of. It is an intense and dynamic relationship, which naturally also presents challenges. But these challenges will never justify threatening attitudes or disrespect among our countries.

We Mexicans can have differences among us, and even more in times of elections, but we will always be united in the defense of the dignity and sovereignty of our country.

Therefore, yesterday, in light of recent events, the Senate of the Republic unanimously condemned the offensive and unfounded expressions about Mexicans, and demanded the respectful treatment required by a relationship between neighboring countries, partners, and allies. The candidates for the Presidency of the Republic were added to this pronouncement by Legislature. Regardless of their natural differences, all agreed to reject measures contrary to a good neighborhood.

As Ricardo Anaya said, this is a moment of national unity. It is not a campaign issue. It's a country issue.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador pointed out that we need a relationship of friendship and cooperation for development. Not the use of force. Not walls. [We do not need] to bet on a bad neighborhood.

José Antonio Meade pointed out that it is time for all of us to unite in the defense of the sovereignty and dignity of the Nation. And Margarita Zavala said that, when defending national dignity, we all speak with one voice and demand respect.

As President of all Mexicans, I agree with these expressions. Mexico is a big and strong nation. We are a Nation proud of its great history and culture; of its dynamic present and a bright future. We are a vibrant country, innovative and full of talent. We are a generous Nation and with a big heart. But, above all, we are a sovereign Nation, with values and principles. And here we are, 125 million Mexicans, very proud of everything we are.

President Trump: If you want to reach agreements with Mexico, we are ready. As we have shown thus far, [we're] always ready to dialogue with seriousness, in good faith, and in a constructive spirit. If your recent statements derive from frustration over matters of internal politics, your laws or your Congress, address them, not Mexicans.

We are not going to allow negative rhetoric to define our actions. We will only act in the best interest of Mexicans. Evoking the words of a great president of the United States of America, we will not be afraid to negotiate, but we are never going to negotiate out of fear.

We are convinced that, by agreeing, as friends, partners, and good neighbors, both countries will be much better off than confronting each other. We are ready to negotiate, yes, but always based on the basis of mutual respect.

There is something that unites all, absolutely all Mexicans, and brings us together: The certainty that nothing, nor anyone, is above the dignity of Mexico.

Trump's memorandum was a response to the caravan of Central American migrants making its way to the United States' southern border, in hopes of attaining asylum.

Topics: Mexico