MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador plans to start a lightning, five-day tour Thursday to 4 Central American international locations and Cuba to debate his authorities’s strategy to growth and methods it’d assist alleviate the strain emigrate.
It can solely be the third abroad journey in additional than three years for a president fond of claiming that one of the best overseas coverage is sweet home coverage. The tour is a chance for Mexico to reassert itself as a frontrunner in Latin America and shall be welcomed by some leaders below strain from the U.S. authorities and others for his or her alleged anti-democratic tendencies.
Each geographically and metaphorically, Mexico finds itself wedged between the US and the remainder of Latin America. López Obrador has deflected criticism courting to the Trump administration that his authorities is doing Washington’s soiled work in attempting to cease migrants earlier than they attain the U.S. border.
López Obrador shall be acquired in Central America, partially, as an emissary of the US with regards to migration coverage. He and President Joe Biden spoke by cellphone Friday and their overseas secretaries met in Washington Tuesday.
The U.S. authorities has been attempting to construct consensus forward of the June Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. It hopes to cement a regional strategy to managing migration flows, which in recent times have concerned giant numbers of Central Individuals, but additionally extra lately Haitians, Cubans, Venezuelans, Colombians and migrants arriving from different continents who make their manner up by way of the Americas.
“We’re working collectively intently to cope with what’s an unprecedented migration problem all through our hemisphere, and for that matter all over the world, and the collaboration with Mexico is totally very important,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned Tuesday.
There may be settlement between López Obrador and Biden that root causes of migration like a scarcity of financial alternative, crime and corruption should be addressed. López Obrador has repeatedly urged Biden to fund an growth of among the Mexican chief’s signature social applications to Central America.
One pays farmers to plant timber that ultimately would generate revenue by way of fruit or timber and incentivizes staying put, a program praised by White Home local weather envoy John Kerry throughout a go to final 12 months. One other apprentices younger folks to firms. Critics say each applications lack accountability.
The overseas ministry in Guatemala, the place López Obrador will make his first cease Thursday, mentioned it anticipated to debate immigration and the tree planting program.
Ana Vanessa Cardenas, coordinator of the worldwide relations program at Anahuac Mayab College in Merida, mentioned the hyperlink between Mexico and U.S. is essential to Central American governments below strain to handle the foundation causes of migration as a result of “Mexico is the facilitator of this assist and in addition a motivator of that support.”
Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei has been below strain from the U.S. authorities for backsliding on the nation’s struggle towards corruption — a marketing campaign central to López Obrador’s picture in Mexico.
El Salvador President Nayib Bukele has confronted worldwide condemnation since imposing a state of emergency after a surge in gang killings on the finish of March, so a go to from López Obrador, who prefers a “hugs not bullets” strategy to safety, is sweet alternative to indicate he’s not being remoted. El Salvador’s safety forces have arrested greater than 22,000 suspected gang members in simply over a month and human rights organizations say there have been many arbitrary arrests.
Mexican Sen. Emilio Álvarez Icaza, a former president of the Inter-American Fee on Human Rights, known as for López Obrador to droop the go to to El Salvador final week. “It might set a really severe precedent that the primary time a Mexican president is in El Salvador it’s proper within the setting of a state of emergency,” he mentioned.
“It speaks badly of Mexican democracy, however for the opposite nation (El Salvador), it has the alternative impact,” Cardenas mentioned. “It endorses that issues are being finished inside a framework of worldwide recognition that Nayib Bukele could be arduous pressed to get from one other nation.”
In Honduras, new President Xiomara Castro has solid an in depth relationship with the Biden administration. Final month, Honduras extradited former President Juan Orlando Hernández to face drug and weapons costs within the U.S. and Castro campaigned on cracking down on corruption. She is determined to activate the economic system and create jobs, so may very well be open to López Obrador’s proposals if there may be cash behind it.
The president’s agenda in Belize is much less clear. The tiny nation doesn’t have a major migration drawback, however López Obrador did trace at one subject for dialogue earlier this week. One in every of his favourite tasks is the development of a vacationer practice across the Yucatan Peninsula that neighbord Belize. The Maya Practice has been criticized for its environmental influence and lack of feasibility research, however López Obrador insists it’ll convey growth to impoverished areas.
On Tuesday, López Obrador mentioned the practice would profit Belize and Guatemala by spurring financial exercise alongside Mexico’s southern border.
The president’s remaining cease in Cuba would be the most symbolic.
Cuba President Miguel Díaz-Canel visited Mexico for its independence celebrations final 12 months. López Obrador has largely ruled as a nationalist and populist, however he has positioned himself politically as a a loyal leftist.
“All Mexican presidents in post-revolutionary Cuban historical past have made a visit to Cuba and clearly (Andrés) Manuel López Obrador, leftist president, couldn’t be the exception,” mentioned Jorge Guajardo, a former Mexican diplomat and senior director at McLarty Associates in Washington.
The go to additionally is a chance to push again towards the concept López Obrador has been too aligned with the US in serving to maintain again migration, he mentioned. López Obrador has criticized the U.S. financial blockade of Cuba and he mentioned that he advised U.S. officers that no nation needs to be excluded from the Summit of the Americas. The Biden administration has signaled that Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua wouldn’t be invited.
“I consider that his journey to Cuba is a message to essentially the most leftist wing of his group,” Guajardo mentioned.
AP writers María Verza in Mexico Metropolis and Sonia Pérez D. in Guatemala Metropolis contributed to this report.