Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador started a five-day tour to four Central American countries and Cuba by lashing out at the U.S. government.
López Obrador criticized American officials sharply for being quick to send billions to Ukraine while dragging their feet on development aid to Central America.
On his first stop in neighboring Guatemala, López Obrador demanded U.S. aid to stem the poverty and joblessness that sends tens of thousands of Guatemalans north to the U.S. border. The Mexican leader had been angered that the United States rebuffed his calls to help expand his tree-planting program to Central America.
“They are different things and they shouldn’t be compared categorically, but they have already approved $30 billion for the war in Ukraine, while we have been waiting since President Donald Trump, asking them to donate $4 billion, and as of today, nothing, absolutely nothing,” López Obrador said.
“Honestly, it seems inexplicable,” he added. “For our part, we are going to continue to respectfully insist on the need for the United States to collaborate.”
López Obrador’s pet program, known as “Planting Life,” pays farmers a monthly wage to plant and care for fruit and lumber trees on their farms.
Mexico has asked the U.S. government to help fund the program, something that so far hasn’t happened. Mexico is also touting another program that apprentices young people to companies. Critics say both programs lack accountability.
Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard wrote in his social media accounts that meetings with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei and other officials focused on development, migration, and strengthening bilateral ties.
Ebrard said Mexico was starting the tree program in the Guatemalan province of Chimaltenango.
It is only the third overseas trip in more than three years for López Obrador, who is 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.
Source: El Horizonte