The leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico have all condemned what they called attacks on Brazil’s democracy. The Summit of US leaders is expected to focus on economic issues and climate change, but also on the situation on the US-Mexico border on its way to Mexico City. Biden stopped in El Paso Texas and this was his first trip to the border as president during the campaign we had promised. To make immigration a top priority, the number of migrant crossings and apprehensions has increased dramatically during Biden’s first two years in office. summit but there are other big
issues facing the region democracy and free speech eg carolina chimoy of ple DW reports that this is Joe Biden’s first trip to Mexico as president his agenda for the North America Summit is clearly issue driven that they are important at home very important agenda three major issues climate change migration and drugs in particular fentanyl and the look of the president wanting to address the three in the streets of the Mexican capital the opinions about his visit are mixed It allows us to focus on economic agreements that benefit all three countries It is unfair It is closing its borders and leaving all migrants in Mexico I don’t care about politics It is The dirty professor Umberto Beck is concerned about the direction Mexican democracy is taking The first one is the relationship between the Mexican State and the Armed Forces, which have increasingly broader functions beyond the military military strategy the second is the fight that the current
government has waged against the electoral independence movement Authority that would mean a decrease or even disappearance of the autonomy of the electoral body that in fact would benefit the party in power the third is that President López Obrador has adopted a polarizing discourse that actively stigmatizes his political opponents as enemies of the country in a polarized society Independent media are crucial but being a journalist in Mexico is dangerous more journalists have been killed in Mexico in 2022 than in any other country in the world most of the victims are from local media This is the first time that a journalist has been directly attacked in decades in Mexico City his name is Siro Gómez Leyva he is one of the most famous presenters in Mexico.
He was shot multiple times as he was returning from work just before Christmas. The armor stopped the shots. I leaned to the right. I tried to lower my head. he shot me hitting the windshield I know they wanted to kill me but I don’t know who or why and I have to live with that uncertainty someone tried to kill me and t Three weeks later, we still don’t know who or why, democracy and freedom of expression are usually Important pillars when Biden addresses foreign nations, but here at the Summit at the Presidential Palace in Mexico, they are apparently not on the agenda.
I am joined now by Christopher Sabatini who is Senior Research Fellow for Latin America in the US and the Americas program at Chatham House. Good to see you. It is the first time that Mexico has received a US president in nine years. What is the position of the bilateral relationship? It’s very difficult as your report mentioned that there are a number of issues that are important to US migration, obviously, which has really become a third rail, if you will, in US politics right now, which It’s really been dominated by Republicans and sort of xenophobic elements within the Republican Party and the right. the media really complicated a more institutional method to solve it there is also the drug problem fentanyl now it’s not just obviously marijuana and cocaine it’s fentanyl and opioids to cross the border over a hundred thousand people died from fentanyl and opioid overdose this is the last year um but there is also the issue of democracy and economic development and the US needs Mexico’s cooperation on the first two issues migration and drugs and but for Mexico a big issue It is going to be economic development, investment in US assistance is going to be key, as well as the issue of democracy, like your interview, which was a very good interview on the issue of the Armed Forces, the independent electoral Authority and freedom of expression, States.
The United States can’t really push those issues precisely because it needs Mexico to stop immigration at the border. Now he claims that he will get if any of the four countries that will now fall under what is called title 42, which is an element that allows the US to deny undocumented immigration to documented immigrants from uh, now they will actually have to having come through the countries of Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela and if they don’t have the Mexican authorities to stop them at the border and hold them there in the same way, obviously, the issue of drugs, the Mexican government has just arrested at the son of El Chapo ovideo um and uh He produced a massive wave of violence in the state of Sinaloa, but the United States is counting on Mexico to combat this, so we can’t really raise the issues of democracy because they don’t want to.
Indeed, the anger of Amlo, who is very thin-skinned, is very Nash nationalist and really very committed to a very autocratic political project, yes, and his interactions thus far have been purely transactional, haven’t they? and Joe Biden is someone who always says that it’s very important to meet face to face, you know, to mend ties, to forge a connection, so what about the personal relationship of the two leaders? the rhetoric talking about Mexico is going to build the wall and Mexico is going to pay for it and all kinds of racist rhetoric about Mexicans the truth is in a way despite the fact that Donald Trump is from the extreme right and amlo from the left actually they hit it off in a way because there’s a certain transactional relationship there that doesn’t really exist with Joe Biden um Joe Biden isn’t willing to negotiate some sort of thing just to get some concessions and he’s up to me pretty blunt he’s less of a bully that Donald Trump, he was an
animal on some level, I think he understood and respected him as a fellow populist demagogue, if you will, and of course Joe Biden has to raise trade issues too, right? now, for example, it was not mentioned in your report, but there is a big trade dispute between Canada and the US with Mexico over recent laws that favor Mexican energy companies and electricity and energy supply in general react with climate change concerns and break with NAFTA the old NAFTA North American free trade agreement is now called usmca um you know it has to be dealt with and basically amlo has said he will withdraw from NAFTA threatens to withdraw from NAFTA , the Free Trade Agreement, if the US does not respect its autonomy to establish its energy policy, so there are many conflicting issues here, it is a very delicate dance between these two men, we only have a minute left, but I want to know if you expect any major announcements to emerge from the summit.
I don’t believe it. First of all, the announcement about Brazil was very positive against. That’s a show. It is a show of solidarity. I think there will be some improvements on migration I think Mexico will probably agree to cooperate with the United States on migration and I think the arrest of El Chapo’s son is a demonstration that Mexico wants to do a lot more recognizes that it needs to do a lot more on security on top of that, though especially on trade and investment. I don’t expect much. Christopher Sabatini of Chatham House. Thank you very much for your time tonight.