Sunday, 19 May 2024
SportsRelations with neighbors during election time

Relations with neighbors during election time

One of the most intense six-year periods in the political and economic life of Mexico is coming to an end. The so-called “Fourth Transformation” has coincided with major upheavals in the international order and processes of internal polarization that make the six-year term one of the most difficult in the contemporary history of Mexico.

As is normal in these times, a cash cut becomes necessary. The accounts are not happy, but neither are they catastrophic. It is enough to see what is happening in other Latin American countries to conclude that Mexico is in a situation of chiaroscuro.

The economic situation is oscillating. At first glance the balance is positive. There is stability, confidence in the relocation of American companies that were in China, an increase in minimum wages, a reduction of four million people in poverty.

Behind it, however, are several problems. The issue of the growth of public debt, the urgency of a fiscal reform whose political cost will fall to the next government, doubts about the sustainability of the pension increase that is being promised and notable deficiencies in terms of communication infrastructure, training of labor and security and rule of law.

In political matters the panorama is much more complicated. It is always difficult for the government of a populist leader as charismatic as AMLO, whose popularity ratings are very high, to end. You cannot transfer his charisma to the person expected to succeed him, the former head of government of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum. The uncertainty regarding her future is a source of various speculations. The most frequent is: what will happen if he does not have the overwhelming success that AMLO predicts? It would not be the first time that he decides to ignore the result of an election. The memory of the taking of Paseo de la Reforma is still present. How would the powers that be, including the Army, react if such ignorance is repeated?

Sheinbaum / Photo: Montserrat López

Another issue that raises concern is Mexico’s neighborhood with the United States. AMLO’s popularity coexists, and is even strengthened, with the presence of a series of problems in his relationship with the northern country that have accelerated significantly in recent months.

The fact that this time the electoral processes coincide in both countries has contributed to politicizing and expanding the perception of such problems. It hasn’t always been like this. In past times, for example in 1988 or the year 2000, the simultaneous coming to power of new presidents opened the door to numerous signs of friendship and meetings to ensure that moments of good cooperation and common objectives began between both countries.

The situation is totally different in 2024. This time the elections in the United States are preceded by strong campaigns by Republican groups aimed at generalizing the idea that those who arrive from the border with Mexico represent a serious threat to the national security of the USA.

The position of the Democratic Party is different and much more favorable to a good relationship with Mexico. However, this has not prevented President Biden, guided by important interests related to his foreign policy such as military support for Ukraine and Israel, from agreeing to close the border with Mexico if he obtains a bipartisan agreement that allows him to send said support.

Now, the most serious part of the situation to which I have referred is that the two most serious problems that Mexico and the United States currently face, migration and drug trafficking, have no solution under the scheme that has been imposed.

Indeed, the migration phenomenon, seen from the perspective of Mexican migrants, who continue to represent the highest number of those attempting to cross into the United States, cannot be resolved if it continues to be repeated that they are an invasion that threatens US national security. In reality, given the current needs of the United States economy, migrants represent one of the most positive factors that could contribute to the economic growth of that country.

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Migration / Photo: Eduardo Miranda

From the point of view of the labor market, the job offer for migrants is very high, which can be regularized so that it is an orderly, predictable and legal migration. Unfortunately, much more attention is paid to seeing how they are stopped than to seeing how they contribute to the economy.

In the case of drug trafficking, the approach to the problem is equally wrong and counterproductive. Without the legalization of drugs, which would reduce the profits of traffickers, without attacking the mafias within the United States that benefit from distribution and the financial groups that enrich themselves with money laundering, the solution to the problem is not possible.

The only silver line on the horizon is the possibility of bringing together binational groups of independent experts who begin to work seriously on proposals to seek solutions to the problems that affect the Mexico-United States relationship. The news about a possible security agreement for North America, about which information is beginning to circulate by some experts (magazine Nexusarticle by Eduardo Guerrero, February 2024) is a way forward.

There is still a long way to go to make a substantive change in the approach to phenomena that are being used from purely electoral and ideological perspectives. Opening paths of hope is, however, necessary in the difficult times we are experiencing.

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