Mexico continues to push back against ‘extortion’ from Texas governor
Amped up commercial vehicle inspections implemented at the border by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last month were short lived. But the economic and political fallout continues.
Last week, Mexico’s Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier said a major trade railway planned to run from Mexico’s Pacific coast all the way to Winnipeg, Canada, known as the T-MEX Corridor, will now cross the border through New Mexico rather than Texas.
"We can't put all our eggs in one basket and be hostages to those who would use trade as a political tool," Clouthier was quoted as saying during a conference Friday in the news outlet La Jornada. "We are going to look for that connectivity because we can't live through what we just lived through a couple of weeks ago."
On Sunday, Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard called the governor’s behavior extortion in an interview with the national news outlet Milenio.
“Let me put this in quotation marks, it’s an extortion scheme. rather it is extortion — I close the border and you have to sign what I say,” Ebrard said during a visit to the border state of Nuevo Leon. “That’s not a deal. A deal is when you and I agree on something.”
Abbott’s short-lived inspection plan caused traffic jams, protests and major economic losses, but the governor backed down only after the governors of four Mexican states bordering Texas — Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Chihuahua and Coahuila — signed agreements to increase their own border security.
Ebrard, however, says those deals were made under pressure, and he will not allow a U.S. governor to extort his country. He added that migration — the reason Abbott sited for implementing the safety inspections — is not Mexico's problem, but an issue of poor U.S. policy. It’s the latest rebuke against U.S. interference by the minister, who plans to run for president.