Mexico’s leader has some advice for the United States.
Take better care of your kids. Try more hugs.
Cut down on the drugs and guns.
Keep your cops, troops and spies off our turf.
And leave Donald Trump alone.
Those are some of the latest musings from Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who in recent weeks has been on a tear about the state of affairs north of the border. His riffs on the United States have veered from the bellicose to the bizarre, a barrage of muted threats, stern counsel, and sociological pseudo-analysis decrying what he views as moral decay.
The bombast would seem fit for an enemy — not an ally that shares a 2,000-mile border and close economic, social, and cultural ties.
But appearing to stand up to the colossus of the north has proved to have political benefits for López Obrador, who remains popular despite the rising crime and economic woes.
“I’m glad that the president puts the gringos in their place,” said Arturo Robles, 51, a flower vendor in Mexico City. “It’s not fair when the gringos say it’s all our fault. They are the drug addicts.”
Opponents of the president say he is simply trying to create a distraction from his failures domestically.
“The president has gone into his usual mode of anti-Americanism, of finger-pointing and trying to deflect blame,” said Arturo Sarukhan, who served as ambassador to Washington during the presidency of Felipe Calderón, a bitter rival of López Obrador.
This week, López Obrador accused Washington of “abusive meddling” and “vulgar” behavior after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration boasted that it had infiltrated the Sinaloa cartel, the notorious drug-trafficking syndicate once headed by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. The DEA apparently hadn’t bothered to notify Mexican authorities.
“Espionage,” the president declared.
As usual, there was no public retort from official Washington, which has clearly decided to not engage the Mexican president in his escalating verbal assaults. The Biden administration, like the Trump White House before, relies on Mexico to help prevent migrants from reaching the United States.