MEXICO CITY – Donald Trump’s maverick brand sells in Mexico, too.
Many Mexicans, including two former presidents, have taken offense at the real estate mogul and presidential candidate’s outspoken rhetoric and his plan to build a wall between the two countries.
But the GOP hopeful does have hard core admirers south of the border.
“Donald Trump is not your everyday candidate, like all that other people who just want to steal; he is a businessman,” said Jesús González, a strategic projects organizer in Mexico City, to Fox News Latino.
“He already has money and he knows how to make more, and I think that will allow the United States to take back its former glory as a world power.”
González said he has followed Trump’s campaign closely and he is certain the attacks against Mexico are geared toward a very specific part of the population and that “if the shoe fits, they should wear it.”
Adolfo Laborde, an analyst from the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, said Trump enthusiasts in Mexico can be divided in two types: the elitists and those who are universally fed up with politics.
“On the one hand we have [affluent] people who can travel from here to there and feel far removed from the problems that Trump talks about — businesspeople, politicians, artists,” Laborde told FNL.
“On the other hand, we have people disillusioned with traditional leaders, as the presidential victories by comedian Jimmy Morales [in Guatemala] or the Philippine Rodrigo Ruterte [known as the "Trump of the East"] show,” he explained.
According to a survey conducted by El Financiero newspaper in mid-March, about 2 percent of Mexicans have a “high” or “very high” opinion of Donald Trump.
The authors of the survey said the number of Trump followers is likely to double if the final showdown is being between Hillary Clinton and Trump.
Mexican supporters of Trump tend to say that “at least” he is sincere about his plans regarding illegal immigration and compare him to President Obama, whom they say has turned into the “Deporter in Chief” by expelling more than a million of undocumented immigrants over the last few years.
“It is better to bet on Trump than to support Obama with such a hypocritical political approach,” said Lourdes Pacheco, a surgeon with dual citizenship living in Mexico City.
Political fatigue is something a lot of Mexicans are familiar with.
President Vicente Fox’s rise to power in the year 2000 – after 70 years of Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) rule – was attributed in large part to a vast majority of the population being fed up with traditional demagogy and falling easily for an eccentric, foul-mouthed and populist character from the periphery.
“Fox’s discourse was exotic and rude, and he offered unreal promises just like Donald Trump,” said Javier Urbano, coordinator of the master’s program in Migratory Issues at the Universidad Iberoamericana. “And yet people here liked this eccentricity and rudeness.”
A different type of Trump fans are those hard-line Mexicans who believe people who break the law should pay — in Mexico 98 percent of crimes go unpunished, according to the Global Impunity Index created by Las Américas University Puebla and the Citizen Council to Public Security.
In their view, fellow Mexicans who cross the border without papers are simply breaking the law. “It is the outlook of those who want the law to come down hard on people who break the norms, in this case, migrants,” Urbano said.
“Also, in this way they can justify the national policy toward Central Americans who go through here,” he said, referring to Mexico’s tough policy on migrants crossing their territory illegally on their way to the U.S. — they are quickly expelled.
Then there are those who openly dislike the billionaire candidate and his ways, yet believe a Trump presidency is, at this point, inevitable. Of them is governor of Nuevo León, Jamie Rodríguez, who a few weeks ago said his money is on the real estate mogul.
"I made a bet ... I said that Trump's going to win," Rodriguez said the day after Trump's main rival for the Republican nomination, Ted Cruz, dropped out of the race. "What's Trump doing? He's taking advantage of the anger. The whole world says Trump is mad; that's what they said about me," he said, drawing a comparison between the two.
Gardenia Mendoza is a freelance reporter in Mexico City.