Raymundo Riva Palacio: Tantrum Behind Everything


What happened during the conversation between President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and the United States Special Adviser to the Summit of the Americas, Christopher Dodd, we will know very few details at the moment, although everything indicates that it was not an easy dialogue, so President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced that He won’t attend the meeting in Los Angeles unless they invite Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, he’ll throw them out. Lopez Obrador didn’t show what was on his mind, because he didn’t think about it. He did not bring up the subject when he spoke on the phone with President Joe Biden about the summit at the end of April, nor did he bring it up about two weeks ago, when he did so with the President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, about the expectations for that meeting. .

López Obrador, as far as is known, still plans to go to Los Angeles on Monday 9 May, but he was angry with the United States, due to the estrangement from the State Department over the speech he gave in Havana, during his visit to Cuba, where he said the “deviant” strategy of the blockade American is a “vile” and “rogue” crime. This was not the first American embarrassment at what he said, and although there were no veiled threats as on previous occasions, his head was on fire.

Meeting with those close to him, one of his chief political advisers, if not the most important, Rafael Barajas, El Visgon, the famous Monero of La Jornada and head of the Morena School of Cadres, suggested that he announce his absence from the summit if Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela were not invited, an idea which soon He adopted her and raised her the next morning. As always, Lopez Obrador depressed the throttle forward when he felt the pressure and fired a shotgun.

It is not known how much information he had about the position of 14 Caribbean countries in the same direction, nor about the reluctance of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to travel to Los Angeles next month. In any case, as explained yesterday in the field, he stimulated objective and subjective factors, and benefited from the introduction of the summit boycott that was cooking in the Caribbean. And quickly there were others from outside the area who also took advantage of the situation.

On the same May 10th, China, the opponent of the United States in the category of great powers, benefited from a public debate opened by López Obrador. Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, declared that the Mexican had a point in his favour. Citing the Monroe Doctrine – proclaimed by President James Monroe in 1823, which has become a pillar of his country’s foreign policy – Legian said that for two centuries the United States has acted under the principle that “the Americas are the only home of the United States.” The “United” United States, and that the summit in Los Angeles should not be reduced to taking into account its own interests.

Unintentionally, because in fact López Obrador proposed Pan-American unity to meet China’s trade and economic challenge, it served Beijing’s interests. China has bought the goodwill of Latin American and Caribbean countries with $130 billion in credits over the past 15 years and bought assets for another 72 billion in the past decade, the Financial Times reported when discussing the summit on Wednesday. He added that with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, he conducted successful vaccine diplomacy, and is now promoting his multi-billion dollar infrastructure initiative which has been joined by 20 countries. Taking advantage of bad US policy in the region, China has filled in the gaps, particularly in building seamless supply chains, where Washington has failed. This is one of the points Biden will make over the top, if ever there is. But despite the differences between China and Mexico, there is a basic agreement with Lopez Obrador, who said Wednesday, a week after Legian, that the Monroe Doctrine of “America for Americans” could no longer continue.

The president, as in his best of times, made reality fit his reality. Although his statement about attending the summit in exchange for the United States’ invitation to Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela was prompted by a tantrum of Washington’s alienation, he rode well on the wave of Latin American annoyance, the weakness of American leadership, and the silence of the United States. Brazil, to lead the rebellion against the summit if the terms of the invitation are maintained.

It is clear that President Biden is concerned. Yesterday he sent his wife Jill on a whirlwind trip to Costa Rica, Panama and Ecuador as preparation for the Summit of the Americas, and Dodd had to fly to Mexico to speak with Lopez Obrador. Since he tested positive for COVID-19, the conversation had to be over the phone. The conversation was, in the words of Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, “frank and interesting”, an unusual description suggesting a dialogue that was not easy. These bilateral meetings are usually described as “friendly”, even “warm”, in that sterile diplomatic language.

The substantive part of the dialogue split in two, and what was on the cusp of the collapse of the summit, and the non-invitation of the three dictatorships. As Ebrard revealed, Lopez Obrador hasn’t said anything he hasn’t repeated in months. What is most revealing is that the conversation was not closed, but the dialogue between the two governments will continue over the next few days, to find a solution that works for Lopez Obrador and Biden.

It wouldn’t be easy because Lopez Obrador, as always, advanced by blowing bridges. But this is not something impossible at the moment, as it seemed yesterday. The unending conversation left everything open, waiting for creativity in proposals that overcame the tantrum with which it all began.

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Twitter: @rivapa

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