Tearing Down Walls : Seattle’s Consul for Mexico tells SCC audience to resist racism

The president of the United States has said about Mexicans, “They’re bringing drugs (to the U.S.). They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Every year, 80,000 to 100,000 weapons are purchased legally in the U.S. and moved illegally into Mexico. Misconceptions about which country is affecting the other negatively, and exactly how, are commonly thrown around.

Roberto Dondisch, Seattle’s Mexico Consul, shared a different view of North America at an SCC Global Affairs Center event titled, “North America: A Mexican Perspective,” citing facts and discussing his years of experience in government pertaining to real issues, like climate change.

While the U.S. president may think illegal immigration is such an issue that a wall, estimated by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to cost at least $12 billion, should be constructed, Dondisch informed his SCC audience that nowadays “more Mexicans go back to Mexico than come into the U.S..”

Dondisch cleared up several misconceptions in his speech on Thursday, March 16. According to Dondisch, the Mexican economy is no longer dependent on oil. Many of these facts surprised the crowd.

Mexico is:
– The biggest buyer of Washington state apples and U.S. corn.
– A big producer of Boeing aircraft parts.
– No. 1 leading exporter of mangoes, tomatoes, and avocados.
– No. 1 leading exporter of flat screen TVs.

Dondisch joked to his audience that a friend had mentioned to him that they were traveling to Mexico — they wanted to know, should they be worried? As their last name didn’t start with T, Dondisch assured them, they would be fine. Throughout every time Trump and the election were mentioned as Dondisch took questions from the crowd, Dondisch remained confident that Mexican relations with the United States would be maintained between societies, between the people of both countries, and not just between Washington DC and Mexico City.

Larry Fuell, director of the Global Affairs Center, has referred to the presidential election as a “bruising” one. Dondisch is worried about the rhetoric used during this time.

“It doesn’t reflect the reality of the Mexican community,” Dondisch stated.

It is easy, he said, to understate what Mexicans have given the U.S..

“The reality is that the Mexican community here is under stress because of their fear of racism, of xenophobia. It’s real,” he said.

What Dondisch wants is for that fear not to become a reality.

“Raise your voices,” he instructed. “Stand strong for the rights of people to feel safe.”

-Nellie Ferguson