Latin America & Caribbean

US mass shootings: How Mexico's newspapers saw the El Paso massacre

Mexican papers
Image caption El Paso made front pages in Mexico

Mexico's government and media condemned as an act of "terrorism against Mexicans" the 3 August massacre in the US border city of El Paso, Texas, in which at least seven Mexican nationals were among the 20 people killed.

In editorials and commentaries, several leading Mexican media outlets and pundits squarely blamed US President Donald Trump's incendiary rhetoric against undocumented migrants and in particular Mexicans. They said his language played a part in encouraging the anti-immigrant feelings that reportedly motivated the suspect in the El Paso attack.

Major Mexican dailies widely reflected the Mexican government position, expressed in a tweet that said: "We condemn this act of terrorism against the Mexican-US community and nationals from Mexico in the USA."

'This was caused by racism'

Excelsior newspaper ran the print edition headline "Attack in US, terrorism against Mexicans: Ebrard", citing public statements made by Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard.

It quoted Mr Ebrard as saying Mexico's Prosecutor General's Office would determine if there were sufficient grounds to seek the extradition of Patrick Crusius, the 21-year-old white male arrested for the El Paso shootings.

With its story, Excelsior published a photo of a banner carried by people in the US protesting against the El Paso massacre, which read, "This was caused by racism."

El Universal headlined its print edition "Mexico will accuse author of El Paso massacre of terrorism".

'Control firearms'

Milenio newspaper reported that Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, in his daily news conference, had alled on the US government to control the sale of firearms.

While stressing that he did not seek to interfere in the internal affairs of another nation, Mr Lopez Obrador made reference to the fact that the crisis on the Mexico-US border caused by a flood of migrants coming up from Central America through Mexican territory was a hotly debated issue in the US as it prepared for 2020 elections.

"Despite the sorrow, we are not going to allow ourselves [Mexico] to be used in the [US] electoral process," the Mexican leader, who is known by the initials of his full name, AMLO, said.

'Xenophobic barbarism'

As soon as it became apparent from US media reports that xenophobic and anti-immigrant sentiments might have motivated the El Paso suspect, Mexican officials and commentators condemned the anti-immigrant rhetoric used by the US president.

Mexico's Foreign Ministry Undersecretary for North America, Jesus Seade, described the El Paso attack as "xenophobic barbarism".

'Openly racist'

Mexican media commentators did not flinch from identifying the US leader as a propagator of anti-migrant, and anti-Mexican, feelings.

In an editorial entitled "Elements for hatred", El Universal described the El Paso killings as "the biggest massacre of persons of Mexican origin in the United States".

The editorial singled out the US president who, it said, "from the podium and on social media distributes a hostile discourse towards migration, towards Muslims, towards Mexicans".

An editorial in Mexican left-wing daily La Jornada had already described the El Paso killings as a "massacre with Trumpist nuances".

While criticising the facility with which firearms can be obtained in the US, the La Jornada editorial said the motivations behind the El Paso shooting appeared to be, "as in previous cases, openly racist and anti-immigrant, in consonance with the discourse of President Donald Trump, whose sinister resonances support (although he officially condemns the events) all the stupidity and barbarism that are shown by massacres such as that of yesterday [3 August]".

Cartoon skewers US leader

Image copyright Helguera - La Jornada
Image caption Mexican cartoonists also took aim at US President Donald Trump in the wake of the shooting in El Paso, Texas

A cartoon published by La Jornada shows an image of Mr Trump, hands crossed, looking mournful about the "Massacre in El Paso", while behind him a clearly identifiable shadow of the US president claps and cheers.

A commentary by Victor Beltri published in Excelsior also takes aim at the US leader, saying: "The tragedy in El Paso is, in reality, a crime of hatred against all Mexicans, a crime of hatred [that is the] product of the incendiary rhetoric that - initially - brought Donald Trump to the presidency of the US and which - subsequently - he has continued using to inflame the mob against his enemies".

But Beltri scoffed at Mexico saying that it might seek the extradition of the El Paso shooter: "Extradition of the terrorist? Really? Trump handing over a white supremacist to Mexican justice, just when he is seeking to be re-elected?"

Press comment compiled by BBC Monitoring Miami.

More on this story