Former President of Mexico visits Sarasota, expresses worries about President Trump

Former President Felipe Calderon is concerned about the US-Mexico relationship

Sarasota, Fla. (WFLA) – Mexico’s former president Felipe Calderon spent Wednesday in Sarasota and he had a lot to say about President Trump.

During his time in office from 2006 to 2012, Calderon implemented policies that transformed Mexico into a big player in the global economy, and he was very willing to address the elephant in the room.

“That’s exactly the reason I’m here,” he said.

The former Mexican president says he respects the wishes of Americans.

“I respect the right of the American people and government to take decisions about what to do with their own territory,” Calderon said.

But he does have his concerns. “We are not the enemy of the United States. We are a powerful ally, we have been a powerful ally and there is a lot at stake trying to worsen this relationship,” the former president said.

Calderon feels the wall is being built in part to prey on American’s fears. “[President Trump tried] to capture all those fears and try to embody a virtual enemy. In this case, it’s either Mexican products or Mexican workers. But honestly we the Mexicans, we are not the enemy of the United States,” he said.

Calderon also disagrees with Trump’s plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. President Trump argues NAFTA has allowed Mexico to steal US jobs. “NAFTA has been great for both countries not only for Mexico,” Calderon said.

Calderon says Mexico is the second largest buyer of American products in the world. He adds NAFTA has led to good-paying jobs on both sides of the border.

“We will suffer of course in Mexico, but the American people will suffer as well. Millions of jobs depend on the trade with Mexico,” he said. “The only way we can try to improve the quality of life of people on both sides of the border is through cooperation.”

Jack Brill with the Republican Party of Sarasota feels NAFTA is lopsided.

“Mexico has tremendously benefitted from NAFTA, more so than the United States, their wage rates are considerably less than ours. We’ve got to make sure that both countries benefit from the NAFTA agreement, not just Mexico over the United States,” Brill said.

Brill also says the wall is necessary to protect America from illegals who can do harm in this country.

“We need to take care of our citizens here in the US and those who want to legally immigrate to the country,” he said.

But Calderon says America’s reputation is suffering as a result. He’s concerned this could give rise to anti-American sentiment and anti-American leaders in Latin America.

“The Americans are losing quickly in a few months what it took several decades to get, which is a better image around the globe,” Calderon said.

In the end, Calderon feels Mexico should be seen more as a powerful ally than an enemy.

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