By his own admission, Armando Rios Piter knows that his plan to counter Donald Trump’s threat to try and make Mexico pay for a wall, faces a tough challenge.
Yet the Mexican politician says that Mr Trump’s rudeness and arrogance has left him with no alternative but to try and propose something attention-grabbing.
“Our idea was to put out something that was clear and made sense,” he told The Independent, speaking from Mexico City. “The main proposal is that people here and and in the US value what Mexico means, and what our relationship with the US means.”
On Tuesday, Mr Rios Piter put before his colleagues in the Mexican senate, a proposal under which the Mexican government would revoke its treaties with the US - including the 1848 agreement that transferred half its territory to Washington - if Mr Trump is elected and tries to make the US’s southern neighbour pay for a border wall.
“In cases where the property/assets of (our) fellow citizens or companies are affected by a foreign government, as Donald Trump has threatened, the Mexican government should proportionally expropriate assets and properties of foreigners from that country on our territory,” says his proposal.
Mr Rios Piter, a member of the centre-left Party of the Democratic Revolution, launched his proposal after Mr Trump visited Mexico last week and appeared with President Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, to discuss the issue of immigration.
In language that appeared conciliatory in its tone, he raised the issue of a wall, but not who would pay for it. (Mr Pena Nieto later tweeted that he told Mr Trump Mexico would not pay.) The same day, Mr Trump spoke in Phoenix and again vowed that Mexico would pay for the wall.
Mr Rios Piter said he believed the decision to invite Mr Trump was a huge mistake.
“People in my country received his presence here as an insult. He has been insulting us for a year. I think it was a mistake to invite him and to receive him in the way we did, he added. “A lot of people thought this made no sense.”
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed by the US and Mexico in 1848 to end a two-year war between the two countries, a conflict that Mexico lost. As part of the deal, Mexico handed to the US, what is now New Mexico, California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada and parts of Wyoming and Colorado. In all, Mexico handed over half a million square miles.
Mr Rios Piter has suggested the treaty could be scrapped if Mr Trump makes it to the White House and tries to force Mexico to pay for a wall along the 2,000-mile border the countries share.
Reports suggest that his proposal stands little chance of success, but does underscore the anger felt towards both Mr Trump and Mr Pena Nieto for extending the invitationn. Mr Rios Piter said he believed the proposal could pass.
“I think there is enough space for a dialogue to generate consensus,” he said.
“I want to push the idea that the relationship with the US is a very important one and we should be focussing about the good things we have done, and not the offensive language Trump has been using.”
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