by Kavitha Surana
From Business Insider
“…They are making the case that Mexico should return to its 1848 boundaries, before the United States snatched large chunks of their territory, including most of California, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona, during the Mexican-American war.
CuauhtémocCárdenas, a respected left-wing politician and former presidential candidate, is leading the charge. He has been calling for the Mexican government to bring a lawsuit against the United States in theInternational Court of Justice, for reparations and indemnification.
“We are going to make a strong and tough case, because we are right. They were in Mexican territory in a military invasion,”Guillermo Hamdan Castro, a lawyer working with Cárdenas on the case, told reporters in March.
The gambit hinges on a line in the first sentence of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the document that sealed America’s victory over Mexico on Feb. 2, 1848 at the end of the Mexican-American war. The sentence includes an admission the U.S. army invaded Mexico, and Hamdan argues that signing an agreement under such duress renders it null, and therefore Mexican immigrants can’t be expelled…
But there are worries the suit could exacerbate already resurgent Mexican nationalism, endangering two decades of relative stability between the two nations. “I have concerns that this type of a case could really stoke a nationalistic defensive response from both sides of the border,” Christopher Wilson, a Mexico expert at the Wilson Center, warned.
The very act of pointing out American hypocrisy on the border may become a rallying cry that could shake up politics in Mexico, a country that has recently been feeling denigrated and excluded by its powerful neighbor and supposed ally.Hamdan has even started a website and campaign called “ Demand What’s Ours. ”
The proposal indicates just how much Trump’s new tone has “managed to alienate” Mexicans,Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution,said. She said pressure was building in Mexico to adopt a confrontational attitude to the U.S.
Anti-Americanism has always been a powerful undercurrent in Mexican society. Not only did the United States invade and seize nearly half its territory in the 1800s, but ever since then Mexico has chafed under American intrusions and perceived disrespect for Mexican sovereignty. Cárdenas’s own father, former PresidentLázaro Cárdenas, was an expert in exploiting distrust of U.S. meddling. In the 1930s he argued that Mexicans needed to protect their natural resources from foreign control and expropriated the oil industry, pushing out foreign investors…”