13th February 2017
Civil Unrest: On 12 February 2017, tens of thousands of Mexicans took to the streets of 18 different cities to protest Donald Trump and his anti-immigration rhetoric. 30,000 reportedly took to the streets of Mexico City and Guadalajara – Mexico’s two largest cities. This represents the first anti-Trump protests in Mexico since the president’s inauguration. Organisers of the demonstrations have praised the solidarity which brought people to the streets, with individuals from across the political spectrum attending. Some estimates have suggested that this was the largest anti-Trump protest yet. Protesters also used the opportunity to voice their displeasure with their own president.
US President Donald Trump remains an incredibly unpopular figure in Mexico. He was accused of racism and xenophobia in the presidential campaign for his fiery rhetoric, which even accused Mexican immigrants of being rapists. On 26 January 2017, Trump signed an executive order for the construction of an “impassable physical barrier” at the US-Mexico border. Trump has maintained that Mexico would pay for the wall, which Mexico has denied. On the same day, he also signed an order stripping funding from ‘sanctuary’ cities in the USA. Cities such as New York have passed laws which do not allow law enforcement to arrest undocumented immigrants unless they commit a crime. This protest comes as the Trump administration have ramped up deportations of undocumented workers in the US. Many of those deported have lived in the US for a number of years and even have American children.
Further protests seem likely in Mexico. Trump has shown his intent to follow through with his campaign pledges; this is sure to anger those south of the US-Mexico border. Moreover, Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto, has very low approval ratings, partly because of his decision to invite Donald Trump during the US election campaign. The US-Mexico relationship is at its weakest point in decades. Should the relationship seriously deteriorate, both economies will suffer, given how intertwined the two are. While conflict or even low-level clashes seem unlikely, it may serve to further destabilise the border region.
Civil Unrest: Despite these demonstrations occurring with few incidents of violence this cannot always be guaranteed in Mexico. Historically, protests have led to injuries and loss of life in the country. As such, travellers should avoid large gatherings of people, as they may turn violent even if they are initially peaceful. 1,500 people were arrested and six deaths were record as recently as January 2017, due to widespread protests against a rise in the price of fuel. Moreover, foreigners are not permitted to involve themselves in political demonstrations.
When travelling to most major cities in Mexico, Intrinsic would advise clients to employ a security-trained driver, extensive journey management planning, and travel-tracking technology, to help mitigate against the risk of violent crime and civil unrest. For other areas of the country, we may advise a greater physical security presence, depending on the area of travel.