Expats in Mexico Facing Anti-American Sentiment Weighing Their Options
Alasdair Baverstock - FoxNews.com
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December 19, 2016
From Mexico City, Mexicans tell Al Jazeera their views on Donald Trump winning the US presidential vote. (Al Jazeera English)
After nine months in the crossfire between Donald Trump and the many Mexicans who felt offended by his campaign’s rhetoric, the U.S. expats who call Mexico home were hoping November 8 would put an end to the wave of anti-American sentiment felt across the country.
One million American citizens reside south of the border – the highest density of U.S. expatriates anywhere in the world – and many have expressed fears that the current surge of antipathy, physical threats and vandalism resulting from local anger at Trump’s election, will make their new lives in Mexico unendurable.
“It was horrifying, I had people in tears in front of me, terrified for their livelihoods”, said Barbara Franco, who runs the non-profit American Benevolent Society, a 150-year-old organization that offers help to U.S. citizens throughout Mexico. “Mexicans are very scared of what a Trump presidency means for their country, and those fears are easily turned into prejudice.”
Mexicans have been quick to ridicule Trump since his appearance on the political scene. Children’s parties have hammered at Trump-shaped piñatas, donkeys have been dressed up as the property magnate during town festivals and protest marches across the country followed Trump’s surprise election victory.
“When I first introduce myself to Mexicans, I almost immediately tell them I voted for Hillary,” said Larry Pihl, a regional chairman of Democrats Abroad in Guadalajara. “As American expats we want to distance ourselves as much as possible from Donald Trump.”
“Americans have always been very difficult neighbors [to Mexico], and those of us who live here are emissaries of our culture,” he told Fox News. “Trump based an entire campaign on insulting a place we now call home, and it’s vital to make it clear that we share Mexico’s outrage.”
Larry’s organization Democrats Abroad, an official overseas wing of the party, held voter registration drives throughout Mexico prior to November in an attempt to galvanize the overseas vote, and says that the overriding sensation following election night was one of “shellshock.”
“Many Mexicans see all Americans as representative of Trump’s ideology, no matter how we voted,” he said. “I have many good friendships here, but you can’t keep apologizing for something you didn’t do.”
Yet for Trump voters living in Mexico, the reality of having cast their ballot for the property magnate is far worse than frosty looks and cold shoulders.
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