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LibreOrganize 0.6.0 - Documentation

How México Views Today's Fractured World

from the Jan. 18, 2023 Bulletin

international solidarity foreign relations

Pedro Gellert, a rank-and-file Morena activist, has been involved in international solidarity efforts with nations that range from Cuba to Palestine. Gellert formerly edited the Morena Internacional newsletter, and his membership in the México Solidarity Project reflects his longstanding commitment to internationalism.


The 10th North American Leaders Summit took place in México City January 9 and 10. What did President López Obrador hope to achieve?


México wants to better its position in relationship to the United States and enlist the US and Canada in efforts “to reduce the poverty and inequality that are growing in the Americas,” as Foreign Minister Marcel Ebrard frames it.

Poverty and inequality underlie migration, a central issue for the 2023 summit. President Biden wants migrants to stay in México. The US is having those migrants who do make it across the border deported back to México, not — thankfully — to their countries of origin. But this policy puts an unfair burden of responsibility onto México, a nation that has had no hand in the region’s political and economic disruptions. 


AMLO, for his part, came to the summit also wanting the United States to regularize the status of the millions of undocumented Mexicans living in the US.

Trade policy has become another critical area for negotiations. México, for example, wants to ban imported GMO yellow corn, as part of its food safety policy.


Corn imports from the US have destroyed the livelihoods of Mexican farmers and the traditional diversity of corn varieties available. 


Does AMLO have any bargaining chips?

GMO corn disguised as organic. Photo: 123RF

His strategy has to rely, in part, on using the China card to force Biden to make concessions. The US wants México to join with it to isolate China and stop its global economic expansion. But Latin American countries have been more favorable to Chinese investments. 

These Chinese investments come with fewer strings than those from Western nations. Many Latin Americans also feel some pride that a third world country has become able to challenge Washington’s hitherto unchallenged hegemony. After all, the US — and not China — has “underdeveloped” the Latin American region.


Gaining sovereignty over México’s own energy sector has been a major goal for AMLO. His re-nationalization policies brought howls of protest from the US and Canada. 

Photo: VOA News, January 10, 2023

True, but this issue didn’t sit on the Summit table. It’s being negotiated in other venues.


Have Méxicos foreign policy goals changed since AMLO’s election?


Yes. AMLO has publicly denounced the Organization of American States, the OAS, as a US tool. The Uruguayan conservative Luis Almagro heads the OAS, and he played a direct and active role in engineering the coup that ousted Bolivia’s leftist President Evo Morales in 2019. AMLO has played a regional leadership role in urging Latin America to consider forming its own economic bloc without the US.


A second difference: All Latin American countries have opposed the US blockade in Cuba. But AMLO has also gone out of his way to praise Cuba and to stand solidly with Cuban President Díaz-Canel.


Both mainstream politicians and US leftists have criticized México for including Nicaragua whose leaders have embraced undemocratic practices and violated human rights in its bloc. What stance toward those practices and violations is México taking?


The Mexican government withdrew its ambassador in protest of those policies. The current imprisonment of the well-known leftist sociologist Oscar René Vargas, a supporter of the Sandinista revolution who once taught at the UNAM in México, has been particularly painful. But the Mexican government under AMLO, in keeping with Mexico’s historic stand of non-intervention, has made no public declarations against the Ortega government.


México granted asylum to Bolivia’s ousted president Eve Morales and, more recently, to Peru’s ousted President Castillo’s family. Does this support for leftist governments represent a break from the past?

Anti-imperialism has long been part of Mexican political culture and extends into bourgeois political circles as well. In the 1930s, Mexico emerged as a leading voice opposing Italy*s invasion of Ethiopia, the first fascist salvo that led up to WWII. México opposed the Franco dictatorship in Spain — and had no relations with Spain while Franco was holding power. 


The Cold War mentality ran weaker in México than in other nations in the region. In the 1970s, President Echeverría spoke out against Zionism and voted at the UN to designate Israel’s policies as racist. 

Spanish refugees in Veracruz, 1937. Archivo General de México

Granting asylum has also long been part of the Mexican political culture. México took in refugees from the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s and thousands of Central American and Argentinian exiles during the dirty wars of the 1960s through 1980s. AMLO has moved in line with these traditions.

Does this stance against imperialism apply to Russia and the war in Ukraine?


At the UN, México and France moved first to condemn the invasion, and México supports the right to self-determination for all countries. But many Mexicans and Morenistas do not blame Russia. They blame NATO. Unfortunately, in my opinion, they take the easy and often incorrect view that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Their suspicions about the hegemonic interests of the US, based on the Mexican historical experience, exceed their doubts about Russia’s imperialist intentions. 


The current position of the Morena government opposes sanctions — the government opposes sanctions everywhere — and sits officially neutral in the conflict. 


What support can US internationalists give to México as it attempts to shake loose from the grip of the United States?


We need to see a national coordinating committee in solidarity with México, the sort of committee we’ve seen for Cuba, Venezuela, and Central America. Mexican-Americans — millions remain eligible to vote in Mexican elections — could help ensure progressive leadership in México into the future. These Mexican-Americans need to be organized.


A national coordinating committee in solidarity with México could sponsor tours for working people to build understanding of our common interests and develop joint strategies. A first order of business could be countering the huge elite media campaign now ongoing against México’s Morena government. We can start on that project right now!