U.S. President Barack Obama arrived for a hot second in Mexico. He landed at the Presidential Hangar in Mexico City yesterday afternoon, and leaves today for Costa Rica. The Benito Juárez International Airport in Mexico City was closed for 50 minutes for Air Force One’s arrival.
When I was a teenager, I sometimes had really bad acne. When the flareups happened, I often wore my long hair in front of my face, trying to hide as much as possible of my stubborn skin. I also layered on my makeup real, real thick.
That’s what I thought about when President Obama met with Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto yesterday. And today, President Obama gave a speech to an audience of young people in Mexico City, choosing to focus on Mexico’s tomorrows.
The future can always be sold with the promise of clear and smooth skin.
Obama described a Mexico that many Mexicans do not recognize. He praised a growing middle class when, in fact, economists say the middle class in Mexico has been stagnant for years, and violence has hurt the pocketbooks of many of those who barely emerged from poverty.
Obama lauded a courageous press that holds authorities accountable, when in fact violence and intimidation has silenced most newspapers outside of Mexico City; they do not report on drug trafficking and other issues because of threats or bribes from criminals or local authorities.
His discourse, however, fits in with efforts by both Washington and the Peña Nieto administration to change the image of Mexico, regardless of the facts on the ground.
Ah, those pesky facts on the ground.
If those pesky fact were accurately represented in the above picture from The New York Times, the U.S. flag would be covered in cocaine. And the Mexican flag would be dripping brick red blood.
No amount of cosmetic adjustments will cover up those stubborn truths.