Spanish – Relations between Mexico and the new US government are complicated. The Mexican government has done the impossible so that they are not smooth.
In public, Presidents Donald Trump and Andrés Manuel López Obrador constantly boasted about their good relationship, even calling each other “friends.”
A friendship that forced the Mexican president to support the outgoing president until the last moment. He even avoided pronouncing on Trump’s alleged incitement for the assault on the Capitol but defended him against the closure of his social media.
In his narrative of not having conflicts and respecting foreign policy, especially with the most powerful nation in the world, AMLO was always willing to “comply” with the Republican’s instructions.
He was always submissive, making a good impression on his “friend” Trump.
With the arrival of Joe Biden to the presidency on January 20, a new bilateral relationship will begin, where it seems that nothing will be the same.
The relationship between Biden and AMLO will be strictly institutional during the first few years, international analysts say.
Several antecedents show the distance that López Obrador set with the president-elect of the United States. The most recent was the case of General Salvador Cienfuegos.
Five days before the arrival of the 46th president to the White House, Lopez Obrador accused the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of having fabricated the money laundering and drug trafficking accusations against General Salvador Cienfuegos.
ALMLO not only said that the DEA had fabricated the crimes, but he went further and violated a legal aid treaty when he ordered the release of the file that US authorities handed over to the Mexican government on the Cienfuegos investigation.
This information provoked displeasure in the US government.
“Publicizing such information violates the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance between Mexico and the United States, and calls into question whether the United States can continue to share information to support Mexico’s own criminal investigations,” the US Department of Justice document states.
— Embajada EU en Mex (@USEmbassyMEX) January 16, 2021
— U.S. Department of Justice – International (@USDOJ_Intl) January 16, 2021
AMLO goes against the DEA
Little did López Obrador care that the US Department of Justice is “deeply disappointed by Mexico’s decision to close its investigation of General Cienfuegos.”
Nor did he care about the criticism of his allegations against the DEA and the public exposure of the 743-page file.
In his morning address on Monday, López Obrador insisted on questioning the work of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“An investigation cannot be carried out so irresponsibly, without support, and for us to remain silent. What we did was to make the file public so that it would be clear, without hiding anything. That there are no elements, that, in fact, the crime was fabricated, or the crimes were fabricated,” said AMLO.
Furthermore, according to him, this issue of General Cienfuegos will not affect the relationship with the new Biden government. That’s what he thinks. It is too early to say.
AMLO’s messages to Biden
The first signs against Biden appeared during the US presidential campaign. In July, three months before the election, the Mexican president made an official working visit to the United States. His first trip abroad. He met with Trump but avoided contact with the Democrat’s team.
The meeting with Trump was very important. It sent the message of his unconditional support to his American counterpart.
The visit was questioned by his opponents in Mexico. Joe Biden and his campaign team did not like the Mexican leader’s disdain.
Later, López Obrador waited 38 days to congratulate Joe Biden on his victory in the November 3 elections. He congratulated him when the Electoral College confirmed his victory on December 14, under the pretext of non-intervention.
And it didn’t stop there. Surely, the next US president did not like AMLO’s offer of political asylum to journalist and activist Julian Assange either.
In short, several little pebbles in the shoe could have a negative impact, at least at the beginning of the bilateral relationship.
The thorny issues in the bilateral relationship
Another relevant issue for the relationship between both countries will be the presence of North American agents in Mexico.
Recently, the guidelines that will regulate the presence and work of foreign agents in Mexico were published in the Official Gazette of the Federation. Public servants must submit a written report to the Mexican Secretaries of Foreign Affairs and Security regarding their activity in this country.
It will not happen again that the DEA will investigate for years a high-ranking general in the Mexican army, and the authorities of that country will be the last to know.
Foreign embassies accredited in Mexico should send a monthly report on bilateral cooperation agreements with clear and precise information on the activity that the agents will carry out.
Another complicated issue on the bilateral agenda will be AMLO’s energy policy. Complaints have already begun from US officials that only state companies (PEMEX and CFE) are being favored to the detriment of Mexican and foreign private investment. A situation that contravenes the provisions of the T-MEC, they argue in the United States.
For López Obrador, clean energy is not among his priorities, while for Biden, it is one of his main commitments.
Labor reform, immigration policy, other issues that are hotly debated between the two governments.
With these details, the new bilateral relationship is presumed to be complex. AMLO will miss his friend, but now he will have to be institutional in the face of the new scenario of the most powerful nation in the world.