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Deciphering AMLO.

30 November 2018

David Brooks, in yesterday’s Jornada:

(New York) Shortly before he assumes power, investors, analysts and politicians in the United States have sought to define who and what President Andrés Manuel López Obrador will be like.  For now, there is no consensus – he remains an enigma.

However, what is most worrying for many regarding bilateral relationship between the United States and Mexico is not so much what the new Mexican government will do but the erratic and provocative policy of the Donald Trump regime, which already laid the groundwork for the crisis López Obrador must face.

Media reports here say AMLO is scaring investors (Wall Street Journal), while others offer a more positive outlook for investors, calculating that fears are exaggerated (Bloomberg) while still others are alarmed that a possible “enemy” is of democracy is coming(Financial Times).  All this, along with the usual claim that AMLO is “unpredictable, temperamental “and you do not know” which version “of him will govern” (New York Times).  And still others fall  back on the word of the day, the increasingly ambiguous term ” populist “(one headline sought to merge everything and call him “a pragmatic populist “).

Meanwhile, experts and former diplomats (including former ambassadors in Mexico) predict “a difficult path” and possibly even “explosive” between the two leaders — based on their personalities, or their divergent policies. They offer lists of recommendations of what the new government should do, from economic, energy and security policy center on anti-drug cooperation with the United States.

The first crisis

Almost all indicate that the first bilateral crisis of the new president is already more than announced: asylum seekers in the border. In fact, perhaps as early as 24 hours after AMLO takes office, his chancellor Marcelo Ebrard is scheduled to fly to Washington to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen to continue to address the issue.

Ebrard had already begun discreet negotiations with Pompeo in Houston a few days ago. News reports reported that an agreement had been reached, but that was denied, and Ebrard insisted that all that exists is a conversation for now on how to deal with the situation.

But Trump’s position does not leave much room. While talks were going on between the Americans and the elected government last week, Trump tweeted that asylum seekers would not be allowed into the United States until a court approves their petitions and that “everyone will remain in Mexico. If for any reason it becomes necessary, we will CLOSE our Southern Border. “

In part, what is at stake are principals governing the relationship between the incoming Mexican government and the Trump regime.  The US government’s position is that Mexico should be a staging ground in the process of evaluating asylum requests, something that can last for months and even years.

According to José Pertierra, an expert lawyer in migration and asylum in Washington, what Trump asks is nothing less than that “Mexico become an accomplice in violating the international law on refugees” and violating the United States’ own asylum laws. that establish that anyone has the right to enter US territory to request it.

“What Trump is doing is dismantling the entire asylum system,” by increasingly restricting entry into the country and, with his former attorney Jeff Sessions, reducing  reasons for granting asylum until they are almost non-existent — for example, nullifying claims for asylum based on domestic violence, or gender violence, or criminal violence as he  explained in an interview with La Jornada.

“But for this to work, he (Trump) needs Mexico to accept and house all those people in its own territory, where the applicants do not know anyone or have access to the support infrastructure on the US side. Many come [to the United States] because they know someone here, “he explained. Therefore, Pertierra reiterated, Mexico is in danger of being subordinated to Trump’s anti-immigrant strategy.

In the coming days, the first impressions and reactions will spring up about the new president in the neighboring country, including among the Mexicans and Latin Americans living in the United States who await AMLO’s response to the persecution they suffer from this regime and its allies.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. roberb7 permalink
    30 November 2018 9:29 am

    I’m scratching my head over why Jornada wastes paper and ink on Brooks.

    • 30 November 2018 1:17 pm

      This is not David Brook, of the NY Times, but Jornada’s long-time US watcher.

  2. 1 December 2018 10:10 pm

    It’s pretty clear that had Mexico enforced its own immigration laws that this problem would be much smaller. Right? The Hondurans stormed the border and then marched north, presumably without visas allowing them to remain in Mexican territory. Had Mexico followed its own laws, those folks would either be asylees in Mexico, or they’d have already been deported by the Mexican authorities.

    Also, it’s pretty clear that Mexico allowed a number of NGOs, with interests different from those of the Mexican government, to operate in Mexico aiding and abetting the Honduran migrants. Look on YouTube for Ami Horowitz “Truth Behind the Caravan,” and you’ll find a great deal of truth ignored by the U.S. media, and also by much of the Mexican media. Now that the migrants are in an encampment in Tijuana, those NGOs (and apparently parts of the U.N.) are long gone, and the migrants are now a problem for the city of Tijuana.

    Maybe, just maybe, Trump’s refusal to allow entry to anyone who hasn’t been approved asylum will encourage the Mexican government to man up and enforce their own laws. Had Mexico controlled its own southern border, things would be much better for everyone right now. As you well know, these migrants were already offered asylum in Mexico, but refused it. So how desperate are they really? Mexico seems like a much more natural fit for the Hondurans than the USA. There’s commonality of language, culture, and many, many more low-skill jobs in Mexico than in the USA.

    So there’s really nothing to criticize about the USA. Whatever persecution those migrants might suffer in Honduras or wherever isn’t present in Mexico. And in any case, asylum was meant for war refugees and dissidents suffering from government persecution in their own countries. It was never meant for people who merely live in bad neighborhoods.

    In the 1980’s I lived in a drive-by shooting neighborhood in California, where I was mugged once in broad daylight. Should I have been able to move to London as a refugee? The very idea is laughable.

    I’m sympathetic to the Hondurans. And certainly had the USA focused on regime change in Honduras instead of Iraq in the 2000’s, we’d all be better off. But that’s not what happened. And those aggressive Hondurans don’t have any right whatsoever to live in the USA just because Honduras is a hellhole. Heck, if that were the sole criteria, the USA would have to accept most of the world as asylees, a situation that’s clearly not supportable.


    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where it’d be nice to have a frank, honest discussion about what’s going on.


  1. Deciphering AMLO – CHANGES IN OUR LIVES

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