The PJ Tatler

At UN, Mexican President Takes Shot at 'Political Opportunism' Stigmatizing Immigrants

The president of Mexico took shots at the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, decrying populism that led to demonization of immigrants.

President Enrique Peña Nieto has been hesitant to take shots at Donald Trump, saying he doesn’t “want to contribute to or make the fat broth [make things easier] for someone who is just vying to become a candidate.”

“The government … fully discredits and condemns any expression of a discriminatory character and [any expression] that specifically hurts Mexicans,” he told the Mexican website SDPnoticias earlier this month.

Peña Nieto told the UN on Monday that “with the growing inequalities, with a global economic crisis which shows no sign of abating, and with the social frustration which this causes, the world today is exposed to the threat of new populist movements, new populist movements of the left or of the right, but all of them present an equal risk.”

“The 20th century experienced and suffered from the consequences of individuals who, because they lacked understanding, a sense of responsibility or ethics, opted to divide their populations. Societies must be on the alert with regards to those who would take advantage of our fears and concerns,” he said.

“In the light of those whose hatred and animus, with the only agenda being that of fulfilling their own political or personal ambitions, in the second decade of the 21st century we must not repeat the mistakes that caused so much pain to the world in the past.”

The Mexican leader argued that “the time has come to reclaim and endorse the principles which define us as people,” including “respect for migrants, respect for women, respect for all races and religions, respect for diversity and political pluralism, but above all, respect for human dignity.”

“It’s a fact the present time is characterized by a migratory movement of millions of people who are searching for a better life. Unfortunately, on all continents, in all areas, the migrant experience is one of risk, rejection, discrimination and abuse. These conditions are made worse when, because of ignorance, bad faith or racism, or pure political opportunism, the migrants and their children are stigmatized and held responsible for the country destination’s own difficulties,” he said.

“Let us not allow this injustice to continue. Let us not allow democracies of the world to be robbed of their pluralistic and inclusive spirit. In the light of these visions of exclusion and discrimination, we have to unite our efforts to create a global scheme for protecting the rights of migrants which can deal with the challenges that we are facing. Throughout the world millions of migrants require a collective and effective response, a global response, which should come from the United Nations organization.”

Peña Nieto has been facing criticism at home over parts of his speech that commit Mexico to contributing more UN peacekeeping forces and for his characterization of Mexico as a country that respects human rights.