A frustrated Senator John Kennedy, (R-LA), made some harsh remarks about Mexico during recent congressional hearings on drug trafficking along our southern border. He was criticizing the lack of cooperation between bilateral law enforcement agencies. Kennedy should not have included the obiter-dicta, which only served to anger our neighbor’s sensitive President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
AMLO’s response was ideological and thin-skinned. He declared the Louisiana junior senator persona grata, and encouraged all Mexicans living in the United States ” to never vote for Kennedy. The rhetorical fireworks obscured the real issue, however, which was that Lopez Obrador refused to participate in any bilateral security cooperation. And the White House’s open-border immigration policies made an already bad situation worse.
AMLO’s response to Kennedy was predictable. After all, he has declared 2023 as the Year of Francisco “Pancho” Villa. AMLO’s decision to honor Villa is causing concern among many Mexicans. The machista revolutionary’s Robin Hood record is questioned, but President Lopez Obrador honors Villa as the “Hero of the Mexican Revolution” for the year. This reveals both the president’s unenlightened nationalism and his unwillingness of seeking meaningful security cooperation with the Gringos.
Despite this, more than fifty members in the Mexican Congress refused to honor the bloodthirsty Villa. , a Mexican wag responded to AMLO by saying: “[Villa] is a murdering drug dealer and a rapist at the time of Revolution.” It’s no surprise that they selected him to be the character for 2023.
It was predictable that, given the nature of the president’s irascibility, the Biden administration wouldn’t be able to work with him. The border-focused Trump White House used tariff leverage successfully to push AMLO. President Biden, however, was not willing to continue this kind of hard-nosed but consequential diplomacy.
The Biden administration instead tried to engage AMLO via a “U.S. Mexico Bicentennial framework,” which turned out to just be a series empty diplomatic meetings. Biden’s national security officials, including the Eurocentric Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan and others, ignored the well-known vulnerabilities of our southern border. They also underestimated Mexican cartels’ growing ability to export their criminal activities northward.
In this delicate bilateral security climate, Biden gave in to the open-border extremists of his party. Mexico could not have gotten a worse timing. The Biden administration, in a blatant rejection of Trump, announced a “welcoming” policy on the southern border, attracting millions of foreigners to the U.S. This policy provided Mexican cartels with a plethora of illegal migrants that they could commercialize.
Biden’s initiative lasted for months and President Lopez Obrador did not protest. He was as unaware as his American counterpart of the unintended consequences. AMLO, blinded by the open-border philosophy he espouses, never seems to have considered the implications of Washington’s unilateral policies regarding migrant workers on Mexico’s sovereignty. Biden’s tactics were more subtle than previous Yánqui forceful methods, but he was still blatantly unleashing outside forces to trample Mexico.
AMLO’s approach to border security, if any, is focused on protecting illegal migrants, and ensuring that Mexican officials don’t abuse them. AMLO, like most Latin American elites, is a fervent partisan of the internationalist vision that open borders accommodate “irregular movement” of people. This is best represented by the U.N.’s 2018 report. Global Compacts for migration and refugees. Many argue that AMLO represents the traditional preferences of his Mexican countrymen who live in the United States.
While AMLO’s critics are usually reluctant to criticize non-Mexican migrants, the political opposition in Mexico is nonetheless a href=”https://www.eleconomista.com.mx/politica/PAN-critica-falta de control sobre migrantes-20180519-0117.html” rel=”noreferrer noopener” target=”_blank”>condemning the chaos/a> that Lopez Ob Although AMLO’s critics tend to be reluctant to criticize non Mexican migrants, the opposition is condemning Lopez Obrador for the chaos his open-border policy has caused in Mexico.
Ana Maria Salazar wrote recently about the death of Title 42 that “it is a problem caused by bad governments and a lack of leadership.” The humanitarian crisis, which began this week at the border between Mexico and the United States, seems to be without a father or mother. “Neither the U.S. nor Mexican governments, let alone the Central American, Haitian and Venezuelan governments or the Cuban government, acknowledge their responsibility in the migration crisis.”
The “welcoming” policies of Lopez Obrador or Biden, in Mexico City and Washington, are not as effective as international agreements to protect migrants from criminal cartels. As cartel profits reach billions, stories of criminal exploitation are common in Mexico. In the last two years the International Organization for Migration has recorded at least 3,130 migrants who have died or gone missing from Latin America and Caribbean. Many of these migrants were on dangerous journeys into Mexico and even up to the United States.
AMLO’s high-profile Central America tour in 2022 coincided with the migration chaos in the region. He announced that “we have synchronized ourselves with the security policy of United States” which left officials in Guatemala El Salvador Honduras Belize and doubtless many others wondering what this meant. AMLO, in a move that was uncharacteristically aligned with Washington, said that Mexico supported Biden’s view that preventing unauthorized migration begins by protecting vulnerable migrants and ends only when national borders are protected. This strategy is neither effective nor efficient.
AMLO concluded his same trip in Havana where he praised Cuban dictator Diaz-Canel and asserted a “humanist view” of illegal immigration. AMLO was saying that clandestine migrants must come regardless of the dangers or consequences they may face. Alejandro Mayorkas, the DHS secretary, gave President Lopez Obrador his line.
The Mexican president has rejected any criticism of his actions. AMLO has broken with the left-leaning Mexican intellectuals who have been criticizing him for years. Mexico’s intellectual establishment has accused him of populism ” “. In a stunning ideological jujitsu move, President Lopez Obrador denounced the critics as ” spokespersons for conservatives “.
For a leader who trumpets his “non-interventionism” and who bristles when foreigners dare impede on Mexico’s sovereignty, AMLO rarely hesitates to instruct his giant northern neighbor on how it should run its business. AMLO has called on the United States to 1) issue a vastly increased number of visas for Mexicans as well as others from the hemisphere, 2) expand U.S. investment and foreign assistance into Central America, and 3) lift economic sanctions, and engage in a rapprochement to the repressive regimes that exist in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to reduce the need for migrants to leave these countries. AMLO believes that it is the ” Neoliberalism ” which is driving migrants from these countries and not the dysfunctional Marxist regimes.
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AMLO also went out of his way to rebuke State Department Secretary Blinken, who said that cartels controlled parts of Mexico. He also condemned the State Department report on Mexico’s human right as ” trash.” But, despite this outspoken denial of U.S.’meddling,’ President Lopez Obrador has yet to denounce Washington’s disastrous migration strategy, which has rocked Mexico.
Latin America academics warn that Washington needs to be sensitive to the resentimientos in Mexico caused by previous U.S. attacks. There is some truth in this. However, both Americans and Mexicans know that the past shouldn’t prevent them from implementing effective, commonsense bilateral security policies. Our political leadership can certainly do better, especially since the private sector is moving $1.8 Billion of commerce per day across the border.
Pancho Villa, who was assassinated by the Mexican government in 1923, has been dead for a century. The Mexican Constitution prohibits him from serving again after his six-year presidential term expires in December 2024. The time has long passed for a new leadership in the country, north and south.