Mexico is 'really mad' at us, and it is so a big whoop

Diplomacy should be more like 'Mean Girls,' writes Scott Feschuk

Photo illustration by Sarah MacKinnon

Bad news, guys: Mexico is totally cheesed at us. There was a big story this week that quoted their ambassador and appeared under the headline: “Mexico ‘really mad’ at Canada.”

Stop chuckling, everyone else in the world. THIS IS SERIOUS.

Turns out Mexico doesn’t like that we require its residents to apply for a visa before visiting. “We’re now really mad,” ambassador Francisco Suárez told Canadian Press, the presence of an adverb suggesting that Mexico is, thank goodness, not yet Hulk-mad.

I’m not sure Suárez has got a handle on the whole “diplomacy” thing. Upon their appointment, ambassadors are expected to dip their vocabulary in a rich coating of multisyllabic vague—a pudding of nicety and nuance. It should never take less than a week, a thesaurus and two of the characters from National Treasure to solve the mystery of what an ambassador is really trying to say.

But maybe Suárez is on to something. Maybe the world would work better if international relations sounded more like Mean Girls. At least we’d know where everyone stands from the headlines. “U.S. ‘royally pissed’ at Syria.”

This episode puts Canada in an awkward position. As a country that boasts the capability to get as many as one (1) navy vessel somewhere important eventually (with enough warning) in most circumstances (barring a problem of some sort), we don’t make a lot of enemies. So we lack experience in handling conflict.

If Mexico is super-mad at us, does that mean we have to start being friends with, like, Iceland or something? Or do we just pretend not to see each other in the UN cafeteria?

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: “The trailer for Gravity is sooooo amazing.” That’s true, but not relevant. That’s why you’re also thinking: “So the Mexicans are irritated with us—no big whoop, right?”

Except yes big whoop! Or at least two half-whoops that add up to one regular-sized whoop:

1. According to news stories, any lingering dispute over the visa issue “would cast a shadow over the festivities that Mexico and Canada are planning for 2014 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement.”

Oh, no! Not the NAFTA celebrations! But we’ve already put down our deposit on the dunk tank!

2. Mexico is apparently so upset, President Enrique Peña Nieto may postpone a planned 2014 visit to Canada.

Let me go on record as saying: I honestly did not know that’s the name of Mexico’s president. This probably makes me a bad person and a terrible teammate on trivia night. But years ago, I put so much effort into remembering there’s only one “n” in Vicente Fox that I’ve never been able to move on. It was a good feeling to know that no matter what happened in life, I’d always be able to correctly spell the name of the president of Mexico. So thanks for ruining that, Erniqwe Pinata Whomever.

I joke—hilariously—but there is a serious issue here. At least, I assume there is. Frankly, I can’t remember, because I made the mistake of scrolling down to the reader comments about the visa story. Reading online comments is like letting someone punch your brain in the face with a fistful of stupid. If you doubt this, consider that I’ve been hit with the “fist of stupid” so many times, I now think brains have faces. Kudos, Internet.

Anyway, here’s a quick look at some of the more insightful comments.

— Mexico is an embarrassment to the world. So sad we have to deal with them in North America.

I’m going to deduct part marks for failing to conclude this comment with a ;-(

— To accuse Harper on this issue, as a Canadian, is absolutely brain-dead, pretty close to treason.

It’s always a thrill to see how long it takes for a commenter to accuse another of treason. Generally, it takes somewhere between zero and one second. To take any longer would be treasonous!

— Mexicans are the largest illegals in America.

That’s a little harsh. It’s not their fault that chalupas are so delicious.

— That’s all we need is more Mexican gang members infesting our country!!

Do I even need to tell you that the username for this commenter is Grandpa1939?

Follow Scott Feschuk on Twitter @scottfeschuk

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.