On July 11, Eduardo Verástegui, one of the most renowned Mexican actors and film directors, announced that next year the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which for more than 40 years has been the largest meeting, dialogue, and reference point for the American conservative movement, will arrive Mexico.
The call makes a lot of sense because Mexico and the United States have an increasingly deep and increasingly relevant relationship. In 2019, Mexico became for the first time the leading trading partner of its northern neighbor, an honor it continues to fight inch by inch with China.
For the United States, both are trading partners, with a huge difference: while China is an enemy, with whom trade is a necessary evil; Mexico is a natural ally of the American Union, not only for geopolitical but also for social reasons.
The relationship between Mexico and the United States goes far beyond the history of the 19th century; it is above all a union that is lived on a daily basis in families, businesses, and customs.
Millions of Mexicans and their descendants live in U.S. cities, and millions of Americans and their descendants live in Mexican cities. The result is a cultural and economic integration that goes far beyond diplomacy.
To give an example: in Mexico, people follow the NFL, MLB, and NBA with passion, they consume thousands of American cultural and economic products, and they adopt and adapt countless U.S. customs and fashions. And the process also works the other way around: in the North, both Latinos and Americans of other ethnic origins are increasingly adopting Mexican customs, brands, and products, including Bimbo, Cinépolis, LaLa, and many others.
That is what is visible, but the relationship goes even further. The production chains of Mexico and the United States (together with those of Canada) are so integrated that they have essentially become one. For Mexico, the United States is indispensable, as we all know, and the same is true for the other way around, and it is urgent to understand this.
That is why the almost absolute control that for decades the left and the Democratic Party built over the Mexican-American community in the United States and over the American narrative in Mexico is very worrisome, and deserves an effective response from the conservative movement.
Tragically, for many years the Republican Party and the American right have fallen into a quagmire of arrogance towards the Latino community in general (and the Mexican community in particular). In 2004, Bush won the support of more than 40% of Hispanic voters, but thereafter the focus on anti-immigrant rhetoric (more hostile in speech than in deed) sank those gains.
Perhaps the lowest point in that relationship occurred with Trump’s unfortunate statements in 2015 regarding Mexican migrants. However, then something began to happen: despite Donald Trump’s (sometimes) crude rhetoric and the grotesque manipulation of the industrialized press in favor of the Democrats, part of the Hispanic vote remained on the Republican side because it understood that Trump represented a better option for America, and even for Mexico than the corrupt technocracy embodied in Hillary Clinton.
That certainty was endorsed during the 4 years of Donald Trump’s administration. Under his administration, the Hispanic community reached record levels of employment and prosperity, which are also reflected in the increase of remittances sent to Mexico.
And on the other side, within the Republican Party and the president’s own ecosystem, voices emerged explaining the importance of Mexico for the United States, including Eduardo Verástegui himself and Ambassador Christopher Landau, whose charisma and knowledge of the country have made them a reference for both sides of the border.
Eduardo Verástegui Launches CPAC Mexico, an Urgent Effort
Increasingly, the U.S. political class (and especially Republicans) understands that Mexico is not an inconvenient neighbor, but a powerful and geopolitically critical partner. For the United States to trade with Mexico is to trade with an ally with whom there are increasing similarities; while to trade with China is to trade with an enemy who will use every dollar of profit against them.
Consequently, the path is clear. The future security and prosperity of the United States depends directly on security and prosperity and trade with Mexico.
Therefore, developing a strong conservative movement south of the Rio Grande is indispensable.
There is very good news: Mexicans naturally tend to support the conservative agenda, particularly on social issues, the problem was that conservatives had not bothered to speak to this sector, and that must change.
That is why Eduardo Verástegui’s announcement is so important: “I am proud to announce that next year we will host, through the Viva México Foundation, the first CPAC Mexico. To build alliances among defenders of freedom throughout the hemisphere”.
And that is the great potential of CPAC Mexico: to strengthen the bridges and understanding between American conservatives and Mexican society, to advance the basic principles of the agenda in both countries, respecting their respective nuances. It was something conservatives should have done decades ago, but better late than never.