Could Donald Trump be the fictitious Mexican immigrant he described? The candidate who kicked off his campaign saying that Mexico was sending its rapists to the U.S. (though some, he assumes, “are good people”) was caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women. Or maybe he’s a former Mexican strongman, like Porfirio Diaz, reincarnated? This week he threatened his political opponent that he would name a special prosecutor to “look into her situation” and put her in jail.
This kind of populist talk threatens U.S. institutions and the core value of separation of power upon which U.S. democracy has been built. But for those south of the border such rhetoric and threats are nothing new. The citizens of Latin America and the Caribbean have for centuries suffered vengeance, abuse and whims of populist rulers. In Venezuela, political opponents have been tortured and charged with promoting violence against the government without proof. Recently, in Nicaragua, the Supreme Court—controlled by the Sandinistas—has banned the leading opposition candidate from running in the presidential elections. In 1992, Fujimori shut down the Peruvian Congress, assumed legislative powers and jailed political opponents and journalists. How strange then that Trump wants to re-create the very legacy of political instability and authoritarianism (not to mention the violence against women) that has forced those immigrants he decries out of their countries, seeking opportunity in the United States.
Cartoon credit: Alen Lauzan Falcon, Chile, Caglecartoons.com