Discussing the relationship between Mexico and the United States can be quite tricky. We had a lively, intense, interesting debate on it in our last session, December 13, 2016.
We looked briefly into the history of the relationship and attempted to contemplate the way Mexicans see it. A territorial “bad deal” that is more than 150 years old no longer offends them but they long for acknowledgement from their powerful northern neighbor. We discussed the intricacies of “sovereignty” –a key component in Mexicans’ view of the relation— and how it affects not only territory and borders… but which presidential vehicle should be used by which head of state in bilateral summits.
We also learned about Mexican academics believing that the long border is really a "Third Country," not quite the United States as such but neither Mexico altogether.
I was surprised by the many opinions shared by Canadians who attended that day. Wasn’t this supposed to be about Mexico and the US? Well, I was so glad to have them there and quite startled to learn that they have similar feelings about the United States and how it treats, or “mistreats”, them as neighbors. I highlighted, however, the contrasting difference between the border crossings the United States has with Canada and those it shares with Mexico.
There was common agreement that this talk was not about “bashing the United States” but about discovering where common views and ideas can be highlighted. We all agreed as well that regardless of the many challenges there are many good things going on, particularly in the way Mexicans and Americans treat each other here in Puerto Vallarta.
In the final part of our conversation we discussed Donald Trump, of course. I attempted to convey the feeling of many Mexicans when it comes to the President-elect by showing the group this video about him and Mexico. Take a look:
Some Americans thought it was offensive while others believed this type of “statement” on the part of Mexicans is the result of Trump’s harsh words about Mexico. As always, we didn’t have a “right answer” for Connect with Mexico is about reaching your own conclusions, and respecting those of others, after a fraternal exposition. Attendees were respectful and polite in presenting their often opposing views as we all gained from a wealth of information about shared experiences when it comes to the United States and Mexico.