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Mike Pence: resistance is futile. Mexico: oh yeah?

26 February 2019

Mexico and Uruguay have been at odds with the United States government in their non-recognition of the self-proclaimed Guaidó Administration as opposed to the elected, constitution (de facto and de jure) Maduro Administration.  While both countries have left-leaning governments, neither is claiming the present administration in Caracas is perfect, or even moderately competent… only that, given deep rifts in Venezuelan political culture, it would not be remiss to negotiate a solution.  Not being a student of Uruguayan foreign policy, MexFiles cannot comment on the rationale for that country’s position, but when it comes to Mexican policy, the official line is that we are following the Estrada Doctrine.

As developed in the early 1930s by then Foreign Secretary Genaro Estrada, Mexican foreign policy has been based on three simple principals:  non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other nations, the peaceful resolution of disputes between nations, and the inviolability of state sovereignty. These three principals were the first applied in the League of Nations, when Mexico faced off the “Great Powers” as the lonely defender of the rights of Ethiopia against Italian aggression, of Austria against the German anschloss and … when the European slaughter-house went into full operation in 1939, demanding respect for its own rights under that third principal (inviolability of state sovereignty) to protect their diplomatic corps as they silently rescued tens of thousands of civilians they were willing to take under the Mexican wing.

Following the war, in the United Nations, Mexico was a leader in the “non-aligned movement” … taking no sides in the East-West “cold war” although continuing to provide refuge for victims of both U.S. and Soviet aggression.  The Civil Wars in the Central American Republics were largely settled through Mexican diplomatic efforts at negotiations… imperfect solutions, but well in the Estrada tradition.

Even though the Fox Administration, under Foreign Secretary Jorge Castañeda, in a craven attempt to mollify the United States over their “immigration crisis” panic, repudiated the doctrine, Mexico still proclaimed its neutrality in 2002 when, having a seat on the United Nations Security Council, it refused to back the U.S. led invasion of Iraq, despite both U.S. and British attempts to subvert the Mexican U.N. Mission, and to sway public opinion in Mexico.  President Fox was forced to give a national televised address… from his hospital bed (he was recovering from back surgery) … assuring the nation that Mexico would not be involved in Iraq.  But it did accept refugees from that country.

And, now, Venezuela.  Yes, Mexico is accepting refugees from that country, in quite large numbers.  Without full statistics on the economic status of these Venezuelans, from observation, it appears most are middle-class or upper-middle class people (not the rich people in Miami), who may hate the present government, but are less political exiles than victims of the changing economy and the hard times imposed by US led economic sanctions.  Full disclosure:  being mobility limited. I informally employ a Venezuelan émigré plant manager who has extremely right-wing politics, which may color my own perceptions of the large Venezuelan community here).

At least here, we are not unaware of conditions “on the ground” of that Venezuelan middle-class.  But, we are a country that, like Venezuela, despite abundant natural resources (including oil… Venezuela, like Mexico, also is a major mineral producer, especially gold) but suffers from appalling levels of inequality.  Naturally, our left is sympathetic to what the Bolivarian Republic has attempted, with more than some success, to do to foster equality, but more importantly, Mexico… having suffered more than its share of “interventions” and having gone through seven years of civil war following a botched U.S. attempt to impose a leader more aligned with their policy (the Revolution following the imposition of Victoriano Huerta cannot be described as anything other than fratricide)… has no more reason to listen to Mike Pence than Venustiano Carranza had to listen to Woodrow Wilson when he insisted it was his duty to “Teach [us] to elect good men.

So… Pence is resorting to implied threats:

(Rafael Croda, “EU a México: no puede haber espectadores, hay que reconocer a Guaidó” Proceso, 25 February 2019).  My translation:

Nice little country you got here… be a shame if anything happened to it…

United States Vice-president  Mike Pence, called on Monday for Mexico to recognize Juan Guaidó, the self-proclaimed president of Venezuela, as the legitimate president of that country, and asked Mexico to join the struggle of the Venezuelan people “To recover their freedom”.

Speaking at the meeting of the Lima Group in Bogota, Pence said that in the face of the political, economic and social crisis that Venezuela is experiencing, “there can be no spectators.”

The United States, he added, “urges every nation in the hemisphere that loves freedom, including Mexico, Uruguay and the nations of the eastern Caribbean, to join us in recognizing the interim president Juan Guaidó and his government and to join the struggle of the Venezuelan people to recover their freedom “.

Mexico and Uruguay have defended a position of neutrality during the Venezuelan crisis and have launched an initiative to promote a dialogue between the political opposition led by Guaidó and the Maduro regime, only to be rebuffed by the self-proclaimed interim president.

Pence said in the meeting of the Lima Group that world leaders should know that “the time has come” to stand up for Venezuela in its “fight for freedom.”

He added that nations backing the Maduro administration (including Bolivia, Cuba and Nicaragua) should “reconsider” that position, in light of last weekend’s violence  when the Caracas government prevented humanitarian aid from entering the country.

“Reconsider your support for the tyrant, unite with the nations of the world that are close to the Venezuelan people,” said the US vice president, adding that, otherwise, the pro-government nations would be further isolated from the world.

That last quote sure sounds like a threat…

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 27 February 2019 8:16 am

    OIL !!!

  2. Rebecca Ore permalink
    31 March 2019 7:13 pm

    NY Times has since proven that the Maduro opposition were the ones attacking the aid convoy.

    • 31 March 2019 10:57 pm

      Perhaps less “proven” than confirmed what had been reported much earlier by Democracy Now!, Max Blumenthal, Colombia Reports, and others who are less inclined to accept the “official” narrative.

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