Andrés Manuel López Obrador sees the DEA through the ideological lens of the moment. When it comes to the capture of the ex-Secretary of Public Security, Genaro García Luna, it is a consequence of the “neoliberalism” and corruption in the government of Felipe Calderón. If it is about the former Secretary of the Defense, General Salvador Cienfuegos, it is a violation of national sovereignty. The double talk is remarkable, and the contradictions permeate his political agenda.
López Obrador brags about his “close friendship” with Trump, but he shouts that the United States is interfering in Mexico’s internal affairs. He wants it to stop.
However, like in the tale of the child who cried wolf, we do not know if AMLO means it or he´s just putting on a show for his domestic audiences. It is hard to tell if he is determined to take concrete action on this issue or stick his head underground when Donald Trump sees him again. It is hard to know if he is finally willing to defend Mexico or continue to give in to the White House’s wishes.
If the tone of his anger is real, he will have the support of many; Not in vain, there is a widespread feeling that AMLO has kneeled before the United States. For the Mexicans, that is unacceptable.
Many Mexicans feel López Obrador is the most surrendering President Mexico has ever had in its memory. Under the argument, “he doesn’t want to fight with Trump,” AMLO has made decisions that affect Mexico. Perhaps he is unaware there are other ways to avoid conflict without being genuflective, and although it is late to hide the dust from his knees, it is a right, pertinent moment to correct.
Many Mexicans feel López Obrador should ask Ambassador Christopher Landau to explain why Mexico was kept in complete darkness about the investigation and subsequent capture of General Cienfuegos. However, what can it be expected of a president who released El Chapo’s son a year ago? Or greets the narco’s mother with familiarity? Or apologizes for calling him “Chapo” instead of Mr. Guzman?
What the Justice Department did was a slap in the face to Lopez Obrador, who boasts a good relationship with Washington. When they detained Garcia Luna, they gave a 10 minutes’ notice before he was apprehended. Still, they had been told beforehand that they were investigating him and asked for the Mexican government’s collaboration.
If Mexico’s President is asking Spain, The Vatican, and others everywhere to apologize to Mexico, why not ask the same from the United States? After all, our next door neighbor took over 50% of Mexican territory in the XIX century, has invaded Mexico twice, and according to historian Gastón García Cantú, 156 interventions have been historically recorded. After all, if it is a matter of apologies, it would seem fair to ask one from the United States. Yet… you don’t see that happening, nor will ever happen.
Using diplomacy -something this government seems to know little about- Lopez Obrador could take other actions that go beyond airing them in his morning conferences. Unfortunately, those do not have the punch needed for his populist demagogy and propaganda.
In regards to the DEA, Lopez Obrador should demand proper and consistent support and collaboration. Sadly, due to the degree of corruption in Mexico, to know in detail how many, who, and where the DEA agents are in the country could place them in danger. The question would be: How could the anti-narcotics agency work in Mexico without violating bilateral collaboration agreements? Where’s the line that divides collaboration with espionage?
López Obrador lacks diplomacy. His morning conference language is more of a bravado than a conciliation. Not the right approach for solving issues. Mexico and the United States need to have a close relationship. As neighbor nations, they have multiple common interests amongst those, intelligence and security.
That pipeline of information cannot and should not be stopped. It would go against Mexican and American interests. Without information from the United States, a good part of its fight against corruption would be cut short. Without Mexico, the borderline could become a weak point for the United States. The bottom line is both need each other. It is not a matter of breaking relations but to avoid the abuses, which have increased since Trump’s government.
It is a fact that AMLO was kept in the dark about General Cienfuegos because the United States does not believe that the Mexican government, and in particular López Obrador, is fighting organized crime. Actually, they believe the Mexican government is, and has provided protection to organized crime.
Until AMLO and his government start proving that they are doing their jobs at fighting crime, the perception will no change. Talking is cheap, and AMLO does a lot of that in his morning conferences, but, to this day, there have not been any concrete actions, except for “abrazos no balazos” -hugs… and not bullets-.
For Times Media Mexico
The Yucatan Times – Editorial Board
Merida Yucatan, Mexico
Octubre 21 2020
The Yucatan Times editorial board is made up of a group of 9 people from different nationalities and backgrounds, who are selected due to their trajectory and objectivity.