The Rise of "Trump X"

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The Rise of "Trump X"

All over the world, Trump is redefining politics.  Any new leader who loves his own people and is unapologetic about it is branded as a "Trump X".

Bolsonaro, Le Pen, Salvini, Robinson, Duterte, and now...the mayor of Tijuana:

‘Tijuana Trump’ fends off critics

TIJUANA, Mexico — When the mayor of Tijuana refused to apologize for comments he made about a caravan of Central American migrants, the coalition of human rights groups who demanded his contrition couldn’t say they were surprised.

Because Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum, a 65-year-old attorney born in this border city, is never sorry.

“No, no, I’m not going to apologize,” he said, defiantly. “Better that those who are against Tijuana apologize to us.”

A veteran member of Mexico’s conservative National Action Party, Gastelum was elected Tijuana’s mayor in 2016, a year with a crowded field when only about a third of the city’s 1.29 million voters cast ballots. He won his seat with less than a quarter of the votes cast.  (interesting that the writer points this out, as if it matters what % of the people actually voted, it's irrelevant)

Gastelum served in both state and federal office as a legislator. He also served as the president of his political party, PAN, in Tijuana.

Since his election, the mayor has struggled with his approval ratings. A well-established (why the qualifier?) Mexican polling company, PluralMx, reported in March 2018 that only 4 percent of Tijuana residents approved of Gastelum.

But polls and political observers note his support among Tijuana residents has increased since he spoke out against the migrant caravan.

A PluralMx poll released on Jan. 9 has Gastelum leading against any other potential candidates for mayor by several percentage points. Victor Alejandro Espinosa, a political analyst at Tijuana’s Colegio de la Frontera Norte, compared it to President Donald Trump galvanizing his base of voters in the United States.

Just as Trump wins support among a specific segment of the U.S. population when he uses inflammatory rhetoric, there are certain segments of the population in Tijuana that Gastelum has been able to mobilize by playing to their fears of migrant populations, Espinosa said.  (This article is clearly intended to be a 'hit piece', as the first person quoted is a pro-immigrant critic of the subject)

“It is a shame, but this could help explain the positive trajectory of support for the mayor among this segment of the Tijuana population,” he said.

Gastelum is the first Tijuana mayor eligible to run for re-election under a Baja California constitutional reform that eliminated a long-standing rule that mayors cannot succeed themselves in office. He has already pulled papers for his re-election bid.

Fluent in English, partly from attending fifth and sixth grade at the former Robert E. Lee (now Pacific View Leadership) elementary school in San Diego, Gastelum sat down in his spotless office in Palacio Municipal in Tijuana for an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune last week.

“Tijuana is a migrant town,” he explained. “We’re barely 129 years old. My mom was a migrant. My grandparents were migrants. So, we are not afraid of migration. What we do not want is bad behavior.”

Gastelum said he defined “bad behavior” as smoking marijuana and rushing the border, which he conceded only a small percentage of the larger group participated in.

Tijuana officials said they arrested about 280 of about 6,000 Central American migrants whose voyage north stalled in Tijuana. Those arrests were for petty crimes such as drug possession, public intoxication and disturbing the peace.

Some members of the caravan agreed that a small handful of marijuana smokers, who refused to leave an area outside Benito Juarez, a makeshift shelter in a sports arena near the border, gave the larger group a bad name.

The Central Americans are fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries.  (So?)

In Tijuana, and internationally, the mayor drew sharp criticism when he said his city was unable to handle the influx of people, referring to the caravan as an “avalanche.”

But rather than apologize, Gastelum appears to be doubling down on his commentary, vowing that Tijuana will “not spend a single peso” on another caravan making its way north through Mexico to the U.S. border.

“I’m not going to compromise Tijuana’s economic resources to fulfill a wish of the federal government to try to show themselves as very humanitarian,” he said.

“Why don’t they escort them to Ciudad Juarez or Nogales or Agua Prieta? No, instead they escort them here?” he asked.  (Why do they escort them at all?)

Newly-elected Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been more tolerant of the Central American caravans, hoping to entice migrants with jobs to stay in southern Mexico. Lopez Obrador is also calling for the investment of some $30 billion over five years to stimulate economic development in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

While the plan sounds promising, so far the actual jobs have not materialized in Chiapas, a southern state of Mexico. Meanwhile, a new caravan left San Pedro Sula in Honduras on Jan. 14 and began arriving at the Guatemala-Mexico border in recent days and weeks.

Mexican officials have said more than 12,000 people, mostly from Honduras, have applied for humanitarian visas in southern Mexico, since then. Many say they plan to use their visas as a way to travel through Mexico to a northern border where they hope to cross into the United States.

By Thursday, a group of 2,700 had already left Mexico City traveling north, U.S. officials and Mexican Federal Police told the Union-Tribune.

Meanwhile, Gastelum, has filed an appeal with Mexico’s federal court, opposing a ruling that bars him and other municipal officials from making derogatory comments about Central Americans on the basis that it violates his freedom of expression.

Enrique Morones, the president of San Diego-based Border Angels, a human rights advocacy nonprofit, took offense to some of Gastelum’s words about the first caravan, even charging him with promoting violence against the migrants, mostly from Honduras.  (Charge me too, I think they should have been shot at the Guatemalan border)

Morones said he was especially offended when Gastelum referred to the caravan as a “tsunami” of people and when he warned the migrants against criminal behavior.

“How dare him call the migrants criminals, bringing diseases. He is promoting violence,” Morones said. “Hate words lead to hate actions.”  (oh, if only....)

His concerns were echoed in the words of the federal court ruling that barred municipal government officials from issuing statements “contrary to the protection and respect of migrants.”

Migrants in Tijuana had rocks thrown at them while they slept. On another occasion, a canister of tear gas was tossed into a shelter where migrants were sleeping. Two Honduran teenagers were brutally murdered after leaving their shelter for unaccompanied minors.

Gastelum, who has close personal and political ties to the governor of Baja California, said he was only standing up for the rights of Tijuana people, and he admitted much of the commentary against the migrants was based in fear.

He said he worried that 50,000 Tijuana residents could have lost their jobs in the U.S. if the border had been shut down for several days.

“People asked what made Tijuana people hate the migrant people,” he explained. “No, no, no, we were afraid. The people of Tijuana were afraid that the United States would be shut down. That they would shut down their doors and their borders.”

He said other cities only had to deal with the caravan for two days as it was passing through town, whereas Tijuana had to address the issue on a long-term basis.

“They’ve been dealing with them real fine, real great. The love them. OK … because they didn’t have to deal with them indefinitely,” he said. “They were just passing through. Now, here’s where the buck stops.”

Gastelum, a married father of four who maintains a residence in Bonita, a rural subdivision near Chula Vista, Calif., made international headlines when he was spotted wearing a red “Make Tijuana Great Again” hat.

The mayor brushed off concerns about the hat, saying he put it on after a little girl handed it to him. The slogan, he points out, is akin to San Diego being known as “America’s Finest City.”

“Why can’t we dream of being a great city? Why not?” he said. “I want to make a great town of Tijuana. At least, being the finest city in Mexico. From there on, why not be the greatest city of Mexico?”

Labeled by critics as the “Trump of Tijuana,” Gastelum laughs when he hears his new nickname, which some would say is not as bad as his childhood nickname: “Patas” or “Feet.”

“What’s wrong with it?” he asked about the newer moniker.

“He is the president of your country, and I respect him,” Gastelum said. “I don’t mind being called after him.”

He received his first nickname, “Patas,” in grade school, as part of a taunt that referred to his lighter-colored skin. It was originally “Guero patas saladas” which literally translates into “light-skinned, salty feet.”

Over the years, the entire phrase was shortened to just “Patas.”

Gastelum doesn’t mind that nickname either.

Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.
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Re: The Rise of "Trump X"

Kurt Barlow
People like winning.  Who knew?

And, if not winning, at least they don't like being murdered at birth.  Those wacky foreigners!
No matter what you do, you'll never ride away from you.