What Mexicans in Sweden think of Donald Trump

Americans aside, the promise of building a wall means Mexicans are arguably the nationality most likely to be impacted by Donald Trump's presidency. Yet while there has been no shortage of interviews with US citizens living abroad over their feelings on the election, the same isn't the case for Mexicans. With that in mind, The Local spoke to three Mexicans living in Sweden to hear what they think about an outspoken critic of their homeland becoming US president, and how it felt to watch the campaign from afar.

What Mexicans in Sweden think of Donald Trump
A Trump supporter with a T-shirt hailing his plan to build a wall on the border with Mexico. Photo: Ted S. Warren/AP

Patricia Cuétara Llaca, 49, Guadalajara (now living in Södertälje, Sweden)

Photo: Private

As a Mexican living abroad I still can’t believe what happened in the US election. You can’t accept it, that a misogynistic, angry, rude, racist man is going to be the next US president. He has split his own country in half. It’s incredible.

It’s strange watching it unfold from so far away. We’re worried, because to start with Mexico is already dealing with big political problems of its own. We have a terrible president, governors who have looted like never before, drug traffickers and many people disappearing every day without the authorities doing anything to avoid it.

When you add Trump on top of all of that, it’s a recipe for disaster in terms of the balance of our country.

My husband and I have family back in Mexico, and every person has a different view on how Trump could hurt our country. Some people are worried about the financial stability of the dollar, others about international trade, and those who have family in the USA are the most worried.

Mexicans think the whole wall thing is going to end up as nothing more than a threat though. Trump will be president, but that doesn’t mean he can do what he wants. He needs the approval of Congress in order for his changes to occur, and we trust he’s not going to have it easy.

The wall and the idea Mexicans are going to pay for it in the way he wants is unconstitutional. He wants to seize the money transfers that Mexicans send back home to Mexico and use that to finance it. That sounds easy, but it is almost impossible.

Could someone like Trump end up in power in Sweden one day? I'm not very immersed in Swedish politics, but what I have noticed, even if it’s a taboo here, is that racism does exist in Sweden, though it’s beneath the surface.

There are people who are very angry about the Syrian refugee issue for example and the money it is costing to cover that. A lot of people don’t like that tax money is being spent on that.

Diego Planas Rego, 31, Mexico City (now living in Stockholm, Sweden)

Photo: Private

It’s more complicated looking at it from afar. There have been a lots of jokes on Whatsapp, Facebook etc, but it’s more difficult for me to relate to what’s happening in Mexico, and the sentiment that there must be in Mexico about it.

That said, of course as a Mexican I identify with and see what’s going on there to an extent and I understand it. In Mexico, every time a disaster happens, whatever it is – and this is seen as disaster there – it’s always taken as a joke, people never take anything like that seriously back home. The sentiments I see, or at least ones that reach me, are ‘well, it has happened, now it’s time to joke about it’. You have to take it with a bit of humour, or something like that. That’s a very common reaction in Mexico.

With the wall, well, it's like any populist politician… there’s a saying in Mexico where we say ‘never believe a politician while they’re campaigning’. Personally, with the wall, I think it’s more like a symbol. If you look at it practically, how drug-trafficking works in that area, it’s underground. So if you build a wall people are going to make tunnels! In a practical sense it isn’t going to solve anything.

It’s a symbol he’s using. It’s neither intelligent, practical, nor would it solve anything.”

In Sweden, because Mexico isn’t near and there isn’t a long-standing cultural relationship between the two countries, people seem to be more worried about how it would impact me personally than how it impacts Mexico. So for example they ask ‘would you go to the USA again?’, and want to know what would happen for me than the situation.

I think for people to vote for someone like Trump they have to be very unhappy with the situation in their country. Trump is seen as this kind of anti establishment figure, anti government. There has to be a high degree of loathing for the government which I don’t see in Sweden, and in general Sweden is much more inclusive, more accepting. The attitudes to women you see with Trump aren’t something you see in Sweden or in many parts of Europe, I couldn’t see it happening here.

The democratic system in most countries in Europe is much more just than the Electoral College too. And if a candidate like Trump emerged in Sweden I don’t think it would be credible, because in the end it wouldn’t echo a large enough proportion of the population.

Noemi Contreras, 47, Mexico City (now living in Stockholm, Sweden)

Photo: Private

For me it was disappointing. More for the fact that winning means so many Americans think like him, that they’re racists, sexists, homophobic and have zero tolerance for so many things.

It’s a tragedy and disappointing to see that not only in America but in the world the majority of humans don’t have tolerance for diversity in all ways, and it’s because of that that there’s wars against religions and so many injustices in the world.

It’s sad to see that despite being 2016 humanity has not advanced much in this respect.

I have family in the USA and Mexico and absolutely no one likes him, though everyone has their own personal way of being against him and their own opinions.

With the wall, I think the question of whether there is one or not is the least important because the reality is that whatever happens there has been an invisible wall for years.

People are treated as if they were animals, without any importance given to a human life. There are violations of human rights and injustice there every day. Maybe the wall is actually better to avoid as many unjustified deaths at the hands of the border police. It sounds terrible but from my point of view this wall has always existed.

The truth is that Swedes don’t ask about it much. I don’t know if there could be a Trump here in Sweden, but anything could happen, that’s a fact. I hope it never happens.