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LibreOrganize 0.6.0 - Documentation

México Responds to the Crisis in Ukraine

from the April 6, 2022 Bulletin

Morena foreign relations Mexico-US history

Pedro Gellert lives and works in México City. A veteran activist in global solidarity circles, he’s worked to defend Cubas sovereignty and helped found the Coordinadora de Solidaridad con Palestina. Gellert has also been an active contributor to the México Solidarity Project. Gellert currently edits Morena’s international bulletin for Morena, but he speaks here as a participant in and keen observer of the Mexican left.


All nations look at other nations through the lens of their own histories. How does the world look from Méxicos vantage point?

The people of México haven’t fully controlled their own destiny since the Spanish colonization began 500 years ago. México today is much smaller and poorer than its “Big Brother” next door. That “Big Brother” seized more than a third of its territory in 1848 and, since then, has forcibly underdeveloped México. You can hardly find a Mexican who doesn’t carry some historic resentment toward the US. An extreme sensitivity about national sovereignty has become part of our Mexican national culture. So, from its own painful experience, México stands firmly against the forced annexation of the territory of one nation by another. But México also views any actions by the US with suspicion.


What has Mexicos relationship been with the Soviet Union and then with Russia?


In 1924 México became the first country in the Americas to recognize the Soviet Union. In fact, the first Soviet ambassador to México would be the famous Russian revolutionary and Marxist theorist Alexandra Kollontai. To maintain as much independence from the US as possible, México has always wanted friendly relations with all the countries of the world. Even the Mexican bourgeoisie has been open to relations with communist countries.

Like most of Latin America, México never had a hardcore Cold War mentality. Broad sectors of Mexican society didn’t see the Soviet Union as an “enemy,” in part because the Soviets gave support to Cuba and other national liberation struggles. Mexicans have sympathy and admiration for the Cuban Revolution. During the Cold War era, many Mexican young people went to the USSR to study, and relations between the two countries almost always remained fraternal.

Russian President Putin and Mexican President Peña-Nieto in 2017

But now Russia has encroached on Ukrainian territory. What position is AMLO taking?


First, AMLO has categorically rejected the invasion. Second, he’s calling for a peaceful settlement. Third, in the UN Security Council, México voted in support of the resolution condemning the invasion and, in the General Assembly, co-sponsored a resolution with France condemning Russia’s actions. At the same time, México opposes sanctions and refuses to break relations with Russia and opposes U.S. attempts to drag it into the conflict. México is no one’s colony, AMLO publicly and vigorously proclaims.


What different viewpoints do you see within México, particularly within the left?


Morena has not issued any public statements as a party. I’ve been surprised, in spite of AMLO’s pronouncements, at the tremendous sympathy for Russia inside Morena and the Mexican left. Some believe the Russian propaganda that Russia is fighting neo-Nazism. Some see the war as a proxy struggle between NATO and Russia. Others frame the conflict as between a unipolar world dominated by the US and a multipolar world with several centers of power. A multipolar world, they argue, would be to the advantage of México and other smaller countries, who would have more maneuvering room, especially in relation to the dominant imperialist power. Still others have that not unusual — but flawed, to my mind — reaction that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”


Some groups such as the Communist Party of México and Trotskyist organizations strongly oppose the invasion and see both the US and Russia as imperial countries that must be resisted. One unifying theme — disgust at US hypocrisy — does unite the Mexican left. The US has invaded, annexed, meddled, massacred, and organized coups against democratic leaders throughout its history, with much of that imperial behavior happening in Latin America. US support today for Israel’s behavior toward Palestine stands as a prime example of how the US selectively and self-servingly condemns national aggression.


On the right, México’s PAN party has called for breaking relations with Russia. Why? My sense: Knee-jerk opposition to AMLO, not any ideological position, is driving this PAN position. Breaking relations does not, overall, have any significant public support. Frankly, the situation in Ukraine has not become a major public issue. Most people do not see the war as affecting México one way or another.


But isnt the war affecting the entire worlds economy, México’s included?


I see a mixed outlook. With México a major oil producer, the rise in oil prices could help the Mexican economy. On the other hand, México imports wheat, and the war has those prices rising as well. México — like the rest of the world — is just beginning to feel the impact of this war. No one can be sure about its ultimate impact. The one certainty: The Mexican people feel committed to a world that resolves national conflicts peacefully.