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Black slavery and Mexico-America relationship

Published : Sunday, 9 December, 2018 at 12:00 AM  Count : 148
Ahmed Azam

Mexico-United States relations refers to the foreign relations between the United Mexican States (Estados Unidos Mexicanos) and the United States of America. The two countries share a maritime and land border in North America. Several treaties have been concluded between the two nations bilaterally, such as the Gadsden Purchase, and multilaterally, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement. Both are members of various international organizations, including the Organization of American States and the United Nations.
Since the late nineteenth century during the regime of President Porfirio Díaz (1876-1911), the two countries have had close diplomatic and economic ties. During Díaz's long presidency, Mexico was opened to foreign investment and US entrepreneurs invested in ranching and agricultural enterprises and mining. The US played an important role in the course of the Mexican Revolution (1910-20) with direct actions of the US government in supporting or repudiating support of revolutionary factions.
The long border between the two countries means that peace and security in that region is important to the US's national security and international trade. The US is Mexico's biggest trading partner and Mexico is the US's third largest trading partners. In 2010, Mexico's exports totalled USD 309.6 billion, and almost three quarters of those purchases were made by the United States. They are also closely connected demographically, with over one million US citizens living in Mexico and Mexico being the largest source of immigrants to the United States. Illegal immigration and illegal trade in drugs and in fire arms have been causes of differences between the two governments, but also of cooperation.
While condemning the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and providing considerable relief aid to the US after Hurricane Katrina, the Mexican government, pursuing neutrality in international affairs, opted not to actively join the controversial War on Terror and the even more controversial Iraq War, instead being the first nation in history to formally and voluntarily leave the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance in 2002, though Mexico later joined the US in supporting military intervention in the Libyan Civil War.
According to a 2010 Gallup poll, 4.4 per cent of surveyed Mexicans, roughly 6.2 million people, say that they would move permanently to the United States if given the chance, and according to the 2012 US Global Leadership Report, 37 per cent of Mexicans approve of US leadership, with 27 per cent disapproving and 36 per cent uncertain. As of 2013, Mexican students form the 9th largest group of international students studying in the United States, representing 1.7 per cent of all foreigners pursuing higher education in the US The election of Donald Trump, who had provoked the ire of the Mexican government through threats against companies who invest in Mexico instead of the U.S, and his claims that he would construct a border wall and force Mexico to fund its construction, has raised questions over the future of the relationship between the United States and Mexico.
A 2017 survey conducted by the Pew Research Centre showed 65 per cent of Mexicans had a negative view of the US, with only 30 per cent having a positive view. The same study also showed only 5 per cent of Mexicans had confidence in the current US leader, President Donald Trump, with 93 per cent having no confidence in the current US president.
US-Mexico relations grew out of the earlier relations between the fledgling nation of the United States and the Spanish Empire and its viceroyalty of New Spain. Modern Mexico formed the core area of the Viceroyalty of New Spain at the time the United States gained independence from Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). Spain had served as an ally to the American colonists in that war.
The aspect of Spanish-American relations that would bear most prominently on later relations between the US and Mexico was the ownership of Texas. In the early 19th century the United States claimed that Texas was part of the territory of Louisiana, and therefore had been rightfully acquired by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. The Spanish, however, claimed it was not, as the western boundaries of Louisiana were not clearly defined. In 1819 the dispute was resolved with the signing of the Adams-Onís Treaty, in which the United States relinquished its claims to Texas and instead purchased Spanish Florida.
In 1821 New Spain gained its independence from Spain and established the First Mexican Empire under the rule of Agustín de Iturbide, who had initially fought in the royal army against the insurgents in the independence from Spain. Independent Mexico was soon recognized by the United States. The two countries quickly established diplomatic relations, with Joel Poinsett as the first envoy. In 1828 Mexico and the United States confirmed the boundaries established by the Adams-Onís Treaty by concluding the Treaty of Limits, but certain elements in the United States were greatly displeased with the treaty, as it relinquished rights to Texas.
Poinsett, a supporter of the Monroe Doctrine, was convinced that republicanism was the only acceptable form of government for all countries in the Americas, and tried to influence the government of Agustín de Iturbide, which was beginning to show signs of weakness and divisiveness. Poinsett was initially sent to negotiate the acquisition of new territories for the United States, including Texas, New Mexico, and Upper California, as well as parts of Lower California, Sonora, Coahuila, and Nuevo León; but Poinsett's offer to purchase these areas was rejected by the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs headed by Juan Francisco de Azcárate. He became embroiled in the country's political turmoil until his recall in 1830, but he did try to further US interests in Mexico by seeking preferential treatment of US goods over those of Britain, attempting to shift the US-Mexico boundary, and urging the adoption of a constitution patterned on that of the US Poinsett often interfered in the Affairs of the newly born Republic, and provoked disagreements with British charge d'affaires Henry George Ward. Texas remained a focal point of US-Mexico relations for decades.
The relationship was further affected by internal struggles within the two countries: in Mexico these included concerns over the establishment of a centralized government, while in the United States it centered on the debate over the expansion of slavery, which was expanded to the Mexican territory of Texas. Some Mexican intellectuals, including José Vasconcelos would later assign the term Poinsettismo, in reference to Joel Roberts Poinsett, to designate any act of political or cultural meddling or interference by the United States in Mexican and Latin American affairs.
Beginning in the 1820s, Americans led by Stephan F. Austin and other non-Mexicans began to settle in eastern Texas in large numbers. These Anglo-American settlers, known as Texians, were frequently at odds with the Mexican government, since they sought autonomy from the central Mexican government and the expansion of black slavery into Mexico, which had abolished the institution in 1829 under Mexican president Vicente Guerrero.
Their disagreements led to the Texas Revolution, one of a series of independence movements that came to the fore following the 1835 amendments to the Constitution of Mexico, which substantially altered the governance of the country. Prior to the Texas Revolution the general public of the United States was indifferent to Texas, but afterward, public opinion was increasingly sympathetic to the Texans. Following the war a Republic of Texas was declared, though independence was not recognized by Mexico, and the boundaries between the two were never agreed upon. In 1845 the United States annexed Texas, leading to a major border dispute and eventually to the Mexican-American War.

Ahmed Azam is a journalist

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