By Georgia Boutsianis and Constantinos E. Scaros
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – The term “Greek-Americans” most readily conjures thoughts of Hellenes living in the United States, although it certainly includes residents of other North and South American countries who are of Greek decent. Such is the case regarding the Greeks of Mexico, who have weighed in on arguably the most-discussed political figure of the summer and early fall, not o
nly in American politics but by the international media as well – Donald Trump.
As he launched his 2016 presidential bid early in the summer, Trump made reference to the Mexican government, claiming that it “sends its criminals and rapists” to the United States. The charge being that in its attempt to rid its nation of the dregs of society, Mexico “sends” i.e., encourages and facilitates, the illegal entry of such undesirables into the United States, thereby clearing them out of Mexico, so that the country could enjoy a society of good, law-abiding citizens only. Trump’s comments barely had time to take root and be discussed on their merits before they were quoted differently in second-hand articles that were working off of the original quote: “Trump says Mexicans ‘are criminals and rapists, but there are some good ones.’” Taken out of context, this implies that Trump made abroad, sweeping, and disparaging generalization of an entire nationality, allowing for just a few positive exceptions to the rule. Many Americans – of Mexican and non-Mexican descent alike – took particular exception and offense to the latter interpretation of the comments. Even upon clarification – that Trump did not mean all Mexicans are like that, just the ones the
Mexican government intentionally sends here to rid its own country of them – the remarks have been subject to criticism, with many contending that Trump’s accusations about the Mexican government are unfounded.
The National Herald discussed these issues with Greeks in Mexico, who share their perspectives via this article with their Greek counterparts in the United States and throughout the world.
Basilio Mavridis told TNH that he heard both versions (“Mexicans are criminals” vs. “the Mexican government sends its criminals”) on different telecasts. But he doesn’t believe even the second version is true. It is unfortunate, he says, “that in Mexico there are so few opportunities to prosper, that they easy way” is to leave Mexico and go to the United States, “but I don’t think that’s the government’s fault.”
But he agrees with Trump that the Mexican government is corrupt and heavily influenced by drug cartels. Mavridis explains that Mexico is a great place, with abundant natural resources and
wonderful people, but unfortunately it is trapped in a drug culture.
As for a Trump presidency, Mavridis thinks that would not be good for either Mexico or the U.S., because he conveys an inaccurate, negative image of the American people.
He also represents using one’s own resources to perpetuate self-image and give himself credit and fame, “and that is a mistake.”
Another respondent, identified as “SG” also heard both versions of the story, and agrees with Mavridis that the Mexican government is not in fact sending its bad people here. Moreover, SG disagrees that the Mexican government is corrupt and run by druglords. Regarding Mexicans and their immigration journey to the United States, SG says: “As in all countries, there are people looking for a better life for themselves and their families. These are honest, hardworking people who know that life will be hard in the United States, but who risk their lives for a chance
to better their situation. And the jobs that they take are jobs that no American would do, nor least of which for the very low salary they [the Mexicans] accept.”
As for Trump himself, SG thinks that he “represents the uneducated rednecks, those without culture who have never even left their hometowns. A Trump presidency wouldn’t
be good for either Mexico or the United States because “he has absolutely no modicum of diplomacy whatsoever.”
Another respondent, KD, heard both versions of the story and to some extent agrees that the Mexican government is involved with shady character s, but adds that “Trump,
unfortunately, did not mention that also the U.S. government is also part of this corruption web.”
KD adds that “I love my country, its color, the food, the history and the diversity that it contains. Mexico has embraced not only its own people, but also people from other countries. We are people open to learning from other cultures. I love living in Mexico” and hope that it will provide equality to all of its residents. But that is not only a job for the government, KD qualifies, it should start with a collective consciousness among the people.
KD, too, does not say anything positive about Trump, but extends that criticism to politicians in general.