2019-08-05 18:52:571 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Marcelo Ebrard (Image source: Public domain)
The shooting in El Paso this past weekend did nothing to help United States-Mexico relations. While Donald Trump threatened their country with tariffs a few months back if they didn't help curb the flow of immigrants at the shared border, they eventually did make some changes, although there was a disagreement of what they were agreeing to.
Of course, this was after Trump said on the campaign trail in 2016 that he was going to build the border wall and force Mexico to pay for it, which, of course, they did not. There were also disagreements over Trump's desire to pull out of NAFTA and renegotiate a new agreement.
On Sunday, Mexican officials announced their anger over the shooting that occurred one day earlier at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart. The shooter is believed to have posted a manifesto just before the carnage that included screeds against Mexican immigrants.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that of the 22 fatalities from the shooting, seven of them were Mexicans.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard vowed that his country would take action, possibly with a criminal case against the shooter as well as a lawsuit against the seller of the weapon that was used.
"Mexico declared its profound rejection and complete condemnation of this barbaric act, in which Mexican men and women lost their lives," he said in an audio message on Twitter.
This was after playing down the responsibility of the United States government the day before, just after the attack. Obrador had said it was "a product of [societal] decomposition, of problems certain people have. It's not a generalized issue."
After that statement, however, it became clearer that the shooting was aimed at Mexicans after officials studied the gunman's manifesto.
While the Mexican officials didn't specifically mention Trump, who has often been unkind in his description of Mexican immigrants, they did make note of racist language, something Trump has explicitly been called out for the past few weeks.
"The intentionality of the attack against the Mexicans and the Latino community in El Paso is frightening," tweeted Martha Bárcena, Mexico's ambassador to Washington. "NO to hate speech. NO to xenophobic discourse."
While pointing out that his country didn't want to get involved in the 2020 presidential campaign, Obrador explained, "We reaffirm our conviction that no one should confront social problems with the use of force or by inciting others to violence."
"Mexico is indignant," said Ebrard on Sunday. "But we are not proposing to meet hate with hate. We will act with reason and within the law but with firmness."
He said his country would ask U.S. officials to share with them how the gunman obtained his weapon and that authorities in Mexico "will promote legal actions against whoever turns out to be responsible for the sale of the assault weapon" that was used in the El Paso shooting.
Additionally, Mexico's attorney general will be asked to consider charging the shooter with committing terrorist acts against Mexicans in the U.S.
"As far as I know, this would be the first case of this type in history," said Ebrard, who added his government may even try to extradite the suspect. "For Mexico, this individual is a terrorist."
Three of the victims were from Ciudad Juarez, just over the border from El Paso. Residents of the Mexican city often cross the border to shop or visit family and friends. One of those three victims was a primary school principal who was shopping in the supermarket section of Walmart.
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