Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador plans to begin a lightning, five-day tour Thursday to four Central American countries and Cuba to discuss his government’s approach to development and ways it might help alleviate the pressure to migrate.
It will only be the third overseas trip in more than three years for a president fond of saying that the best foreign policy is good domestic policy. The tour is an opportunity for Mexico to reassert itself as a leader in Latin America and will be welcomed by some leaders under pressure from the U.S. government and others for their alleged anti-democratic tendencies.
Both geographically and metaphorically, Mexico finds itself wedged between the United States and the rest of Latin America. López Obrador has deflected criticism dating to the Trump administration that his government is doing Washington’s dirty work in trying to stop migrants before they reach the U.S. border.
López Obrador will be received in Central America, in part, as an emissary of the United States when it comes to migration policy. He and President Joe Biden spoke by phone Friday and their foreign secretaries met in Washington Tuesday.
The U.S. government has been trying to build consensus ahead of the June Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. It hopes to cement a regional approach to managing migration flows, which in recent years have involved large numbers of Central Americans, but also more recently Haitians, Cubans, Venezuelans, Colombians, and migrants arriving from other continents who make their way up through the Americas.
“We’re working together closely to deal with what is an unprecedented migration challenge throughout our hemisphere, and for that matter around the world, and the collaboration with Mexico is absolutely vital,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday.
There is an agreement between López Obrador and Biden that root causes of migration like a lack of economic opportunity, crime, and corruption must be addressed. López Obrador has repeatedly urged Biden to fund an expansion of some of the Mexican leader’s signature social programs to Central America.
Source: El Financiero