A top contender for the Mexican presidency has called for Donald Trump to be held to account at the United Nations for the wall he plans to build along the border with Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants.
Leftist opposition leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said it was an insult to his country and urged a lawsuit be lodged at the UN.
“I respectfully suggest that the government of Mexico presents a lawsuit at the United Nations against the US government for violation of human rights and racial discrimination,” Lopez Obrador told a crowd of supporters north of Mexico City on Wednesday.
Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto said he regretted and disapproved of his US counterpart’s push to build the barrier.
“Mexico does not believe in walls. I have said time and time again, Mexico will not pay for any wall,” he told the nation in a recorded message.
Pena Nieto and Trump were due to hold talks next week.
However President Trump tweeted on Thursday that if Mexico won’t pay for the wall, it would be better to cancel the meeting.
The U.S. has a 60 billion dollar trade deficit with Mexico. It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA with massive numbers...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 26 janvier 2017
of jobs and companies lost. If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 26 janvier 2017
President Pena Nieto later confirmed that he had cancelled his trip to Washington for the talks.
A fence already exists on parts of the US-Mexico border.
A small group of protesters gathered outside the Attorney General’s headquarters in Mexico City on Wednesday to demand Trump be stopped from extending it.
“The wall won’t do anything” said Maria Garcia, an activist in an anti-Trump coalition.
“No wall can block hunger. We already have walls and has it stopped migrants arriving? No.”
In the border city of Ciudad Juarez, there’s is also fierce opposition.
But one local academic thinks Mexico should reach out, to enable a joint plan for a barrier addressing the concerns of both nations.
“There needs to be a step forward more than just resisting the wall but also to sit down with Trump and come up with a plan that works better because all we have seen at the border for a long time is that the wall does not work,” said Jesus Pena, a researcher at a Ciudad Juarez college.
And frontiers are not just about illegal immigration.
The official border at Tijuana is reportedly one of the busiest international land crossings in the world, with many Mexicans heading north for work and Americans heading south to save money when buying goods.