Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador has pushed back at President Donald Trump’s move to impose a blanket 5 percent tariff on all Mexican goods.
In a pointed letter released Thursday, López Obrador lashed out at Trump for what he described as the U.S. president’s “turning the United States, overnight, from a country of brotherly love for immigrants from around the world, to a bolted space, where there’s stigmatizing, mistreatment, abuse, persecution, and a denial of the right to justice to those who seek — with sacrifice and hard work — to live free from misery.”
López Obrador said that “social problems are not solved with duties or coercive measures,” and alluded to the United States’ history as a nation of immigrants: “The Statue of Liberty is not an empty symbol.”
He added in the letter, which he provided a link to on his Twitter account, that in contrast to Trump’s approach, Mexico is doing its part to avoid migration through its territory as much as possible, without violating human rights.
“People don’t leave their homelands for pleasure but out of necessity,” the Mexican leader said.
López Obrador said in the letter that his foreign relations secretary was leading a delegation to Washington D.C. to speak with Trump administration officials in order to seek a peaceful and negotiated solution to Trump’s threat to impose stiff tariffs on goods from Mexico if the country doesn’t do more to slow irregular migration.
He noted that his outreach was not to be interpreted as a sign of weakness.
“I’m not a coward or timid, but act out of principles. I believe in politics which, among other things, was invented to avoid confrontation and war.”