Former Mexican President Vicente Fox is urging US voters to look before they leap. The global consequences would be dramatic if Donald Trump won the presidency, he told DW's James Blears in Mexico City.
DW: Republican Party candidate for president Donald Trump has called Mexican immigrants rapists and said he would build a wall along the US's southern border, which Mexico would pay for. His plan to force the southern neighbor to foot the bill includes preventing Mexican workers in the US from sending their earnings back home. Bank of Mexico Governor Agustin Carstens has said Trump's idea for halting or freezing remittances is a serious violation of property rights for Mexican people.
Vicente Fox: It is really stealing money away from people. We're talking about the fruit of the efforts and work of every Mexican migrant in the United States. They make a great contribution to that nation, and it would be a criminal act to take that money away from them.
It's also stupid, because imagine if these procedures go ahead: We're going to have retaliation. And if you cannot transfer money through the United States to Mexico, maybe in that war which everybody loses, money from corporations operating in Mexico could not be transferred to the United States. So he's provoking hate, division, conflict in every word and every public policy that he's suggesting. Every word that he says would have a profound effect on what we've built in history as an economic free-market system, trade relations among nations and regulations on foreign investment.
DW: You feel very strongly about this on a personal level, saying "I'm not going to pay for that f***ing wall." Why did he drive you to swear?
Fox: We've reached a point that is very worrying, to hear this American voice that represents 18 percent of American voters. It's also very worrying to listen to these ideas of closing that great leading nation within four walls, isolating themselves from the rest of the world. This can provoke a trade war with China and Mexico.
He should read about what happened with President Hoover [in office 1929-33 - the eds.] who came out with the same public policies. President Hoover - with many good intentions - tried to protect jobs in the United States by limiting US corporations to invest abroad. And he came out with public policies to impose taxation on imports to the United States. Those two economic policies took the United States into the greatest depression ever seen in the world.
And that's exactly what this would provoke today. Trump thinks he can protect his nation and citizens by going to war with everyone else. What he's not considering is that every action has a reaction.
DW: But what made you swear?
Fox: Because I share this preoccupation as I have a principal in my life: Don't cry tomorrow about what you can solve or attend to today. And if we just let him go, we might find ourselves with a Hitler, we can find ourselves with a Hugo Chavez or a Castro. Look at those three stories: They spoke the same way Trump is speaking.
And what people must wake up to is that with these kinds of people, with this kind of thinking, this extreme egocentric attitude, when they sit in the most powerful position in the world - which is the presidency of the United States - you will get a lot of surprises out them. That's why he is, in his genesis, a dictator.
DW: If Donald Trump became US president, do you think he might become more moderate?
Fox: First of all, [Ted] Cruz is as bad as this guy Trump. The great loser of this campaign is going to be the Republican Party, and the winner is going to be Hillary Clinton. Trump or Cruz could never get enough votes to win the presidency without having the Latinos, the Hispanics, the Mexicans and the migrants. Hillary will win with a margin that has not been seen for a long time.
But let's say Trump would get there, if he would change? His wife already publically told him, you have to tune up, you have to reduce your aggressiveness. But he doesn't listen - not even to his wife. What about his knowledge of recent history? President Reagan went to Berlin and shouted loud and clear: "Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
Vicente Fox was president of Mexico from 2000-2006.