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US awaits post-Lopez Obrador Mexico after six years of cooperation and reproaches

The United States government looks forward to a new era that opens this Sunday in Mexico with elections that will the end of the mandate of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, after six years of pragmatic cooperation masked by the nationalist rhetoric of the Mexican president.

Official leader Claudia Sheinbaumclearly dominates the polls, ahead of the candidate from the main opposition coalition, Xochitl Galvezand a third competing candidate, Jorge Maines.

If this forecast comes true, then we can expect a lot. continuity in Mexico’s relations with the United States, countries that share the longest and busiest border in the world, as well as two highly intertwined economies.

This was reported by a State Department representative EFE What US ‘does not support any specific candidate’ and hopes to deepen cooperation with Mexico as it is “extremely important” on immigration, counter-drug trafficking and economic development.

Migration as currency

López Obrador came to power in 2018 with a strong Mexico’s defense speech against the United States and he dealt with both Donald Trump in the White House, whom he ultimately considered a “friend” despite his anti-Mexican rhetoric, and with Democrat Joe Biden.

Migration has been and will remain the top priority of the US administration. Trump demonstrated this when he threatened in 2019 impose tariffs on Mexico if it had not stopped crossing the border and continued, albeit more diplomatically, with the Biden government.

At the request of Washington, López Obrador used security forces to stop migrant caravans from the center and south of the continent and agreed to the deportation of migrants from third countries to his territory.

“Even though it is a populist and nationalist left-wing government, it has collaborated a lot with the United States to the point where it has been highly questionable on the issue of human rights,” says Gema Kloppe-Santamaria, an internationalist at George Washington University who reports : EFE predicts that both Sheinbaum and Galvez will adhere to this policy.

In this regard, Arturo Sarukhan, former Mexican ambassador to Washington (2006-2013), believes that López Obrador “surrendered to the de facto wall for the US” and thus managed to force Biden to “ignore” the “boast” that the Mexican president says at his morning press conferences.

The truth is that the United States has largely avoided taking a position on Mexico’s controversial domestic issues, such as Lopez Obrador’s attacks on the pressto the judiciary or electoral institution.

Fentanyl crisis and record trade

Relations, on the other hand, have become tougher in terms of security cooperation, especially trade in fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that has caused a major crisis in the United States and which Lopez Obrador denies is produced in Mexico, despite evidence suggesting about the opposite.

“This is the point of greatest tension,” Sarukhan says. In fact, Republicans have proposed attacking Mexican territory to fight the cartels in the face of perceived inaction by the Mexican government.

According to Kloppe-Santamaria, the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has “had a very bad time” with López Obrador, but the expert denies that Mexico is doing nothing in terms of security: “It continues to militarize the country,” she notes.

On the other hand, the economic relationship has been very successful, with Mexico becoming the United States’ first trading partner, ahead of China, thanks in part to the T-MEC free trade agreement concluded in 2020.

“Overall, there is a functional relationship on a day-to-day basis, and no matter who is president, exchanges will continue,” says Diego Marroquin of the Wilson Center think tank in Washington.

However, López Obrador’s opposition to renewable energy and his defense of fossil fuels have led to official complaints from USA and Canadaa problem that Mexico’s next president will have to deal with.

Either way, this Sunday’s elections will be the first round of a battle that will decide the future of bilateral relations. The runoff will take place in November, when Americans will once again have to choose between Biden and Trump.

“It’s a big gorilla in the room. The return of Trump will cause greater instability in relations, regardless of who is president of Mexico: Xochitl Galvez or Claudia Sheinbaum,” Sarukhan predicts.

EFE

Source: Aristegui Noticias

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