Mexico opposition leader urges U.N. lawsuit over Trump wall

The remarks from Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a former mayor of Mexico City, comes as domestic pressure mounts on President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Henry Romero/Reuters
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, leader of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) party, waves after giving a speech to supporters in Tlapanoloya, Mexico, January 25, 2017.

A leading contender for the Mexican presidency urged his government to lodge a lawsuit against U.S. President Donald Trump at the United Nations for the wall he plans to build on the border with Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants.

Speaking as Mr. Trump gave orders to start work on the wall along the 2,000-mile (3,200-km) border with Mexico, two-time presidential runner-up and leftist opposition leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the announcement was an insult to his country.

"I respectfully suggest that the government of Mexico presents a lawsuit at the United Nations against the U.S. government for violation of human rights and racial discrimination," Mr. Lopez Obrador told a crowd of supporters north of Mexico City.

A former mayor of the capital, Lopez Obrador has led several early opinion polls ahead of the July 2018 election, and last week he announced plans for a tour of major U.S. cities in February to drum up support among Mexican-Americans.

Nicknamed AMLO for his initials, Lopez Obrador has urged Mexicans to resist the policies of Trump, who stirred up widespread anger with a presidential campaign targeting Mexican migrants and laced with threats against the country's economy.

Trump's broadsides against Mexico have put President Enrique Pena Nieto under rising domestic pressure.

His approval ratings are at the lowest level of any Mexican president in years, and Trump's order on Wednesday to begin construction of the wall the very day two Mexican ministers began talks with his administration sparked anger in Mexico.

Mr. Pena Nieto and Trump are due to hold talks on Jan. 31 and he faced opposition calls on Wednesday to cancel his meeting.

Trump vowed to build the wall right at the start of his presidential campaign in June 2015, when he accused Mexico of sending rapists and drug runners over the border.

The American's threats to tear up a joint trade deal and impose hefty border taxes on Mexican goods have also battered the peso. But his comments on Wednesday that he wanted to see a strong Mexican economy lifted the currency to a three-week high.

The 63-year-old Lopez Obrador told his supporters that Pena Nieto should defend Mexicans when the two meet.

"Go and fight for liberty, represent our people with dignity and all human beings who dream of a just world," he said. "Defend the migrant Mexican workers, long live the immigrants!"

(Editing by Dave Graham and Lisa Shumaker)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.