Alfredo Corchado, Dallas Morning News, September 21, 2019
Alarmed by the rise of hate crime in the U.S., Mexico is calling for a summit of leaders from Spanish-speaking nations to develop a strategy to combat white supremacy.
Roberto Velasco Alvarez, spokesman for Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, said the Mexican government has already reached out to key ambassadors posted in Mexico and hopes to hold the summit in Mexico City by the end of the year in which leaders would draft a policy position based on discussions highlighting political and cultural values.
“If white supremacists are calling for hatred, racial divisions, what is our response? We have to define our response, defend our culture, language, civilization, our existence,” Velasco said.
The summit, still in its preliminary stages, would involve leaders from Latin America, Spain and Portugal and include key Mexican American political and cultural actors, including Texas, said Velasco.
Some Mexican American leaders promptly applauded Mexico’s move to hold the summit.
“It about time,” said Texas state Sen. Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso, who was in Mexico City recently as part of the Border Legislative Academy, a bipartisan effort that includes elected U.S. and Mexican leaders talking about common issues, including immigration and, Rodriguez added, the “attack in El Paso.”
“The moment is different in that now you have more open, wider hostility coming from the highest political levels, starting with President Trump and our own governor,” he added, pointing to Gov. Greg Abbott’s fundraising letter that warned Republican supporters of the dangers posed by undocumented migrants entering the Texas border from Mexico.
“The kind of divisive language they use, the hostility against immigrants puts everyone in a vulnerable position. It’s time for Mexico to develop a more aggressive policy to build a strong relationship with Mexican nationals, and Chicanos, Mexican Americans and Latinos. Hate crimes are on the rise and we’re the target.”
For decades, Mexico and estimated 35 million Americans of Mexican descent, including Roybal and Rodriguez, have been involved in finding ways to develop alliances to promote the social and economic well-being of immigrants and their communities on both sides of the border. It hasn’t always been easy.
Some Mexican Americans have long been critical of the racial and economic inequality in Mexico, which they say has long led to the migration of millions of paisanos. And they’ve been highly critical of government corruption and security, which has led to the deaths of more than 200,000 since the drug war began in 2006.
State Rep. Rafael Anchia, Democrat of District 3 in Dallas, was not able to make the meeting, as he’s traveling through South America to promote Texas investment. In an interview over the phone from Brazil he called Mexico’s efforts, “completely appropriate.”
“I understand how other countries consume the mass murder and gun violence in the United States,” said Anchia, who is also chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus and chair of the International Relations and Economic Development Committee. “It’s on their TVs, 24/7, and considered to be abnormal and difficult to understand. They should be alarmed, especially when you overlay the racial elements of Latinos, Mexicanos being targeted. We as Americans do that regularly when our expats are attacked outside the United States.”