The elections in the United States have put Mexico before the dilemma of dealing four more years with Donald Trump, with whom Andrés Manuel López Obrador has woven a cordial relationship despite his outbursts, or starting an uncertain relationship with Joe Biden in the House from scratch. White
Officially, the Government of Mexico “has no preference” between Trump and Biden, and ensures that it wants to “strengthen relations” with the president chosen by the Americans.
“We will work with the next president and with Congress to ensure the well-being of our nationals, who are an essential part of the economy and society of the United States, and to advance our countries and the region,” a spokesperson for the Mexican Foreign Ministry.
But no one is aware that a political color shift in Washington could affect relations between these two countries separated by the world’s longest border on key, and often thorny issues, such as migration, security and drug trafficking.
“In few countries the elections in the United States open as much expectation as they do in Mexico,” Guadalupe González, an expert in international relations at the Colegio de México, summed up to Efe.
THE “FRIENDSHIP” BETWEEN LÓPEZ OBRADOR AND TRUMP
Although López Obrador had promised to confront Trump over his immigration policy, when the Mexican assumed power in 2018 both exhibited a certain harmony due to their way of being and for representing political projects opposed to previous governments.
“It has been difficult for everyone to deal with Trump, but with López Obrador there has been a certain political understanding based on empathy between the two, and not so much between the governments, which has allowed Mexico to avoid some threats,” González explained.
The maximum staging of this friendship was the visit last July to the White House by López Obrador, who has not left Mexico for any other reason.
According to the expert from the Colegio de México, that visit during the election campaign generated “annoyance” in Biden’s campaign team because “there was no attempt to approach the Democratic candidate.”
“If Biden arrives, this understanding will no longer exist and President López Obrador will have to reorder the relationship with a Democratic government,” said the expert, although she predicted a “more institutional” relationship than with the unpredictable Trump.
MIGRATION WILL CONTINUE IN THE CENTER
Whoever wins, the complex immigration issue will continue to be on the table of both governments.
The caravans of Central American migrants that in recent years have crossed Mexico to reach the United States caused a high-level crisis in 2019 when Trump threatened to impose tariffs on all Mexican exports.
The López Obrador government, which promised a humanitarian vision of migration, gave in and deployed security forces on its border with Guatemala to stop the caravans and calm Trump’s spirits.
“With Biden they would also insist on stopping the caravans but with a more friendly tone,” said Gaby De la Paz, an expert from the Monterrey Institute of Technology, who warned that if the Democrats promote immigration reform “it will not be to the taste of Mexico but of the United States “.
The Democratic candidate has promised a roadmap for 11 million undocumented immigrants (many of them Mexicans) and to end the “Remain in Mexico” program, through which asylum seekers in the United States have to wait in Mexican territory until their case, many of them crammed into camps and shelters.
In that sense, González said that Biden would provide a “more humanitarian” vision, although its scope will depend on the majority that the Democrats have in Congress.
POSTURES IN SAFETY
The arrest in California of former Mexican Secretary of Defense Salvador Cienfuegos for alleged ties to drug trafficking has generated deep discomfort in the López Obrador government because they were not notified of the investigation.
Some have recalled when the US drug agency (DEA) was doing and undoing at ease in Mexican territory in the late 1980s.
“This capture shows that communication between the two countries has been lost and that many loose ends have to be fixed,” said the expert from Tecnológico de Monterrey.
Despite the understanding between Trump and López Obrador, both have not been able to bring their positions closer on security matters.
While the United States has insisted that Mexico must stop drug trafficking, Mexico has put on the table the trafficking of US arms that end up in the hands of drug traffickers.
In this sense, the researcher from the Colegio de México sees a possible “cooperation” with Biden as opposed to with Trump, with whom “it is impossible to talk” about the issue of weapons.
Instead, De la Paz has his doubts because, he said, the National Rifle Association lobby “distributes money equally between Democrats and Republicans.”
THE APPLICATION OF THE T-MEC
The most successful agreement between both administrations has been the entry into force on July 1 of the new trade agreement between Mexico, the United States and Canada (T-MEC), despite the fact that Trump had promised in 2016 to end free trade in the region.
However, its approval was not easy, as the Democratic Party blocked it for months in Congress, demanding that Mexico greater labor and environmental standards.
“If the Democrats win, the application of this agreement will be a little tougher,” said González, who warned that Biden and López Obrador “are the antipodes in energy policy,” since the Mexican is betting on hydrocarbons ahead of The renewable energies.
Although Mexico has not had the presence that it had in the 2016 electoral campaign, when Trump promised the famous border wall, analysts do not rule out new episodes of tension.
“It would be better for Mexico if Biden won. If Trump is re-elected, it will be a year of many revenges against many people and we could be harmed because he always urges Mexico when it suits him,” concluded De la Paz.