The EU lawmakers specifically called out Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador for his “extremely hostile attitude” toward journalists and made an effort to tie the recent rash of killings to the president’s rhetoric.
Anyone who might doubt the neocolonialism underpinning the resolution need only take a look at the declarations made during the EU Parliament’s debate on it. The arguments of the resolution’s supporters dripped with arrogance and an interventionist attitude suggesting that Europe knows best. The first MP to speak in favor of the condemnation motion? No surprise: the Spanish ultra-rightist Leopoldo López Gil, the father of Venezuelan coup monger Leopoldo López.
The EU resolution struck a nerve inside the Mexican government, and López Obrador personally crafted the government’s response. His communiqué, mincing no words, charged that EU deputies had joined “like sheep” with “the corrupt group that opposes the Fourth Transformation” and its struggle “to confront the monstrous inequality and violence” brought upon México by 36 years of neoliberal rule.
“México has ceased to be a land of conquest,” the statement continued, and has become instead a nation endeavoring to realize the core “principles of equality and democracy.”
The Mexican government response, predictably enough, caused an uproar. The Guardian’s Tom Phillips couldn’t contain himself. He called the statement “peculiar and cantankerous” and tried to tie López Obrador to both Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro. Domestically, Mexican opposition leaders leaped on the controversy, proving yet again that they see not upsetting the colonizers as much more important than standing up to insults against the Mexican people and their duly elected government.
As a journalist and a human rights defender, I do worry about the state of impunity that enemies of press freedom and human rights in our country have long enjoyed. Our government clearly must do more to protect journalists and human rights defenders. But as an anti-imperialist I cannot tolerate interventionist statements by the EU. Economic considerations drive these statements, not genuine concern for human rights. The EU resolution does nothing to actually improve the situation in México.
Europe’s political class may have lost the independence wars. But they seem to continue to see themselves as the ultimate arbiters of justice in their former colonies. Franz Fanon, in the Wretched of the Earth, had the most appropriate response to that arrogance. He urged us years ago “not to imitate Europe” but to instead “combine our muscles and our brains in a new direction.” We needed, he noted, to “try to create” the new humanity that “Europe has been incapable of bringing to triumphant birth.”