Awaiting Trump’s ‘Economic War’ on Mexico


Chris Donovan / VICE


Jan. 28, 2017 


President Donald Trump has been in office for just over a week, and already the view from south of the American border looks grim. Threats to dismantle trade deals and impose import taxes have been called a looming "catastrophe" for Mexico's economy. 

In El Tapatio, a slum on the outskirts of Mexico's second largest city Guadalajara, economic uncertainty and drug hustling go hand in hand. Life moves more slowly than the bustling city surrounding the community, but for José Marquez, 19, work never ends.
Marquez lives in a two-room concrete home with his mother, wife, and their two children. Next door lives his friend and business partner, Martin.
Jobs are scarce in El Tapatio, and without the ability to read or write, Marquez's options are limited. He travels to Zapopan, a neighbouring municipality most days of the week to wash cars at intersections for change, and sells weed and meth with Martin to make enough money to feed his children.

Marquez's wife Janet worries that if more jobs leave Mexico, her children will be more likely to get involved with drugs and join cartels.

"It seems like America is ready to wage economic war on us. There are very few jobs right now and if more of them leave, people will inevitably get involved in drugs, because it offers opportunity," she told VICE.

Janet laughed when she was asked about the prospect of America building a wall along the Mexican border.

"I don't know why they would want to keep Mexicans out when we go to their country to work and provide services," she said. "We have so few restrictions to keep Americans out of our country that it just seems like a double standard."

Trump, however, made steps toward one of his signature campaign promises on Wednesday by signing an executive order to start construction on his "great wall" along the U.S. and Mexico border, according to Reuters.

As Martin and José take part in a friendly game of soccer with some neighbourhood children, waiting for clients, they play in the shadow of a wall plastered with graffiti which reads "Trump loves Peña," referring to a perceived romantic relationship between the new American president and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Asked about his perception of Trump, Marquez shook his head and scoffed. Despite a language barrier, he managed to communicate that he thought the new president was a "crazy idiot."

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