The digital image shows a clenched fist bathed in the red, white and green of Mexico’s flag and decorated with the nation’s emblematic eagle. “Consumers, to the Shout of War,” it says in Spanish above the fist. “Consume products made in country…Use your buying power to punish the companies that favor the politics of the new U.S. government.”
Created by a Mexican food-activist group, the image is part of a slew of messages, memes and videos that have been spreading in Mexico in recent days as President Donald Trump pushes for a border wall, deportations and punishing new trade rules. Others messages call for specific boycotts of U.S. companies in Mexico, including McDonalds, Walmart and Coca-Cola. One of the most heavily trending hashtags is #AdiosStarbucks, or “Goodbye Starbucks,” referring to the Seattle company which has opened hundreds of coffee houses here.
The boycotts illustrate the defiant mood brewing in Mexico in reaction to Trump’s tumultuous first week in the White House. President Enrique Pena Nieto canceled a bilateral meeting in Washington on Thursday after Trump insisted Mexico should pay for the border wall. The Mexican government and leading business lobbies have said the country should pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, rather than accept a bad rewrite. And opposition leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has called for a lawsuit in the United Nations against the planned border wall.
If a trade war is brewing, it will not be fought on a level playing ground. Mexico has an economy that is only the tenth of the size of its northern neighbor and U.S. import tariffs and the deportation of millions of migrants could push it into recession. But however daunting the Trump White House is, Mexico looks like it won’t go down without a fight. “We need to stand up to Trump’s threats and his economic war,” says Enzzo Omar Sosa, part of a collective called Mexicanos Al Grito de Guerra, or “Mexicans to the Shout of War.” The group has social media accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers, in which it has been heralding the cries to boycott U.S. companies. “We need to support Mexican companies, which provide jobs and maintain our macro economy," he said. Hitting U.S. companies could also make them pressure President Trump over his aggressive positions against Mexico, he said.