Mexico-America Tensions Intensify as Peña Nieto Cancels White House Meeting

A picture of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

A photo of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
Photo credit: 360b / Shutterstock

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has just canceled a meeting with American President Donald Trump. The news comes after Trump signed an executive order to begin the process of constructing a border wall.

Earlier this morning, Trump sent out a tweet that encouraged Peña Nieto to cancel next week’s meeting if he refused to fund the wall.

“If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting,” Trump wrote.

Peña Nieto responded by doing just that. This morning, the Mexican president took to Twitter to make his official announcement:

“This morning, we have informed the White House that I will not attend the meeting scheduled for next Tuesday with the POTUS,” Peña Nieto wrote.

CNN reports that Peña Nieto was under pressure from Mexican senators to cancel the meeting following Trump’s signing of the executive orders. But despite outrage from Mexican officials, Peña Nieto maintained that he is still open for diplomatic discussions.

“Mexico reiterates it does want to work with the US to come to an agreement that can be mutually beneficial,” Peña Nieto tweeted.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that the Trump administration will keep the lines of communication open, and will reschedule a meeting sometime in the future. In the meantime, tensions continue to mount.

The New York Times reports that relations between the US and Mexico haven’t been this bad since former President Calvin Coolidge threatened to invade Mexico. Politicians are concerned that if peace isn’t restored immediately, the conflict could escalate even further.

“It is an unprecedented moment for the bilateral relationship,” said Professor Genaro Lozano of the Iberoamerican University in Mexico City. “In the 19th century, we fought a war with the US; now we find ourselves in a low-intensity war, a commercial one over NAFTA and an immigration war due to the measures he just announced.”

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