The United States and Mexico celebrate 200 years of a strained relationship this Monday, with perennial bilateral issues such as trade, migration and security, and new challenges presented by the confrontational attitude of the president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
With the governments of López Obrador and the American Joe Biden, after four years of the anti-Mexican rhetoric of donald trump“bilateral relations are in one of their most complicated moments”, indicates to EFE the academic and internationalist Arlene Ramírez Uresti.
“There has definitely been an important distance, not only between the leaders, but also between the nations, the bilateral cooperation agenda has dropped considerably in the intensity of its activity,” says the expert.
The Mexican president has accused Washington of financing “coup” organizations that seek to overthrow him, has described the Cuban embargo as “medieval”, has restricted the work of US agencies such as the DEA, and has caused friction in the Treaty between Mexico, the United States United States and Canada (T-MEC).
“We are defending our sovereignty”, argued the president in his conference on Friday, when he defended his nationalist electricity policy and the restriction of transgenic corn, issues that cause disputes under the T-MEC.
Ramírez Uresti points out that “it is definitely a totally unusual rhetoric, a rhetoric outside the diplomatic form and, above all, outside the context of the bilateral relationship, although this does not mean that there has been servility before.”
The relationship between the two countries began in December 1822, when Washington was one of the first to recognize independent Mexico with the diplomatic envoy Joel Poinsett.
Now, more than 38 million people of Mexican origin live in the United States and there are about 1.6 million Americans in Mexico, according to figures from both governments.
In addition, both countries exchanged a record of more than 661,000 million dollars in trade in 2021, with the United States as Mexico’s largest trading partner.
For this reason, although the relationship between López Obrador and Biden “is not as positive as it has been among other leaders, it is a relationship of respect in which priority issues continue to be addressed,” says Gabriela de la Paz, professor of International Relations from the Monterrey TEC.
“Many times we believe that the good relationship between leaders is what determines the relationship and, although it is important, it is not fundamental,” says De la Paz, a specialist in North American studies.
“This president (López Obrador) It seeks a strained relationship with the United States, almost like the one we had in the 1980s, but in Washington they have understood that, despite the differences, you can talk and you can negotiate.”add.
The experts agree that the bilateral agenda of the last 50 years has focused on trade, migration and security, issues that will define the Summit of North American Leaders that Mexico will host next January with Biden and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau.
The disagreements of the T-MEC will mark the trade agenda, while the trafficking of fentanyl and synthetic drugs from Mexico, and that of arms from the United States, will define the discussion on security.
In migration, the region is experiencing a record flow to the United States, whose Customs and Border Protection Office (CBP) detained an unprecedented number of more than 2.76 million undocumented immigrants in fiscal year 2022.
Trump and polarization in the United States
On the other hand, the two centuries of relationship are met with the hangover and shadow of Trump, who is seeking the presidency of the United States again after governing from 2017 to 2021 with anti-Mexico rhetoric that translated into more immigration and trade policies. restrictive.
“Trump showed that the political consensus in the United States on how the relationship with Mexico should be has been broken,” highlights William Jensen, member of the Mexican Council of International Affairs (Comexi).
The international analyst exposes that after Trump, the Government of Mexico must deal with a more complex and polarized American politics and society.
For example, he points to the example of Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas, who has disrupted border commerce by imposing immigration checks or has called for designating Mexican drug cartels as terrorists.
“Unfortunately, Mexico is not usually a priority on the public agenda of the United States, but in recent years, when Mexico appears or is mentioned, it is usually due to some attack or negative news due to the ideological polarization that exists,” says Jensen. .