There are some fundamental changes going on in México, that because of the Donald Trump noise, hasn’t been noticed by many. It is change that has been occurring because of a governmental long-term plan that was embarked upon about a decade ago, but its tempo increased recently because of Trump. México has traditionally looked inward politically avoiding international entanglements. A few times throughout its history, the Mexican government has tried to engage externally diplomatically to influence the world’s agenda. It has sometimes succeeded, for example in denuclearizing Central and South America and at other times it has regretted the consequences of its international leadership roles, like when México paid the price for not supporting George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq at the UN.
Today we are witnessing an outward strategy from México to influence world events.
To engage externally, countries need domestic issues to be manageable. Many would argue – rightly – that violence and impunity remain a serious domestic issue that the Mexican government should be working on.
However, compared to other countries, the Mexican population has remained surprisingly united. Take for example, Great Britain, Spain and the United States. The people of those countries are heavily divided.
Obviously and poignantly the fight over the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court appointment demonstrates how seriously Americans are divided over national policy. The British also remain seriously divided over Brexit. Across Europe, nationalism has caused divisions in many countries. Spain, for its part, has being facing the Catalonia (Cataluña) rebellion for the last decade with no end in sight. The Catalonia issue is about language and culture. It has heavily divided the people of the Spanish autonomous region.
Through this worldwide chaos, the Mexican people overwhelmingly elected Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) as its new president. AMLO dynamically moves the Mexican government from center-right towards the left. Through this shift the Mexican people remain united.
But the change in México goes above the unity of the people as México has engaged internationally as well. There are two examples that demonstrate this.
The first is the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement announced yesterday. We will delve deeper into the agreement in tomorrow’s post. But for now, it is important to point out that it was México that took the lead in the negotiations with the United States, rather than Canada. It was Canada that was forced to join the agreement negotiated between the U.S. and México.
The other word issue is the Venezuelan crisis. The Mexican government has taken a regional leadership role in demanding that the Maduro government bring back Democracy to Venezuela. The Mexican government has led efforts to resolve the humanitarian crisis of Venezuelan refugees.
México’s leadership in forcing the Maduro government to resolve its governance problems has led to the Venezuelan government to accuse the Mexican government of participating in the attempted assassination of Maduro and of regime change in Venezuela.
We’ll look into those details on Thursday. For now, it is important to note that the Mexican government is being accused of interfering in domestic Venezuelan issues, which is new for México, who has traditionally embarked on the policy of each country’s right to self-determination.
Clearly, México is a new player on the world stage.
Whether this new paradigm in Mexican external politics remains is unclear as Andrés López Obrador has indicated he will focus his presidency internally.
We’ve previously looked at the growth of the Mexican economy, including its aerospace industry and we’ve also looked at the México military industrial complex. Adding the NAFTA 2.0 negotiations and the Venezuela intrigue demonstrates a new international Mexican face. It is the face of México rising on the world stage.