North AmericaBiden and ‘Amlo, despite tensions, exude rapport
Joe Biden and his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, wanted to show a good relationship during a meeting in Mexico City on Monday, but tensions did not go away.
They emerged at the start of a bilateral meeting between the two representatives when the Mexican president asked his US counterpart to end the “insult to Latin America and the Caribbean”.
“President Biden, you hold the key to opening and significantly improving relations between all the countries of the American continent,” he said in his opening remarks, before the press.
Joe Biden pointed out that the US has spent “tens of billions of dollars” on the continent over fifteen years. “Unfortunately our responsibility does not end with the Americas. It is also in Central Europe, Asia, Africa (…) (…) I want us to have only one priority. But we have many,” he began.
The somewhat acerbic tone of the exchange contrasted with the warm start to the US president’s visit to the “Three Friends” summit, which will also be attended by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Monday City.
Joe Biden struggled to land at a new airport fifty kilometers north of Mexico City on Sunday, then drove him to the city center in his armored limousine.
On Tuesday, the two smiled and exchanged warm handshakes during Monday’s reception at the National Palace, the seat of the president. They were joined by their wives, Jill Biden and Beatrice Gutierrez, who waxed almost lyrical about the two countries’ shared values.
The two couples then joined in a big hug. The divisiveness of last June, when the Mexican president boycotted a summit organized in Los Angeles, has faded. But the words of the two leaders underscore that there are many nuanced lessons for both countries.
Starting with immigration. The US president visited the border with Mexico on Sunday, where registered migrants have been arriving for months. The 80-year-old Democrat knows he needs the cooperation of Mexico, which has pledged to take in 30,000 deported illegal immigrants each month.
White House national security adviser Jack Sullivan said before the meeting that the two leaders and their representatives would devote “substantial time” to the fight against fentanyl trafficking. This powerful synthetic opiate is responsible for the highest number of deaths in the United States.
Monday’s day ends with a dinner party, which will be attended by Justin Trudeau and the wives of the three leaders. On Tuesday, Joe Biden and the Canadian prime minister will hold a bilateral meeting during which the deployment of an international intervention force to Haiti will be discussed specifically.
After a five-year hiatus, Joe Biden’s relaunched “Three Friends Summit” will take place at the White House in 2021. At the end, the three leaders will make a statement to the press. Tuesday’s exchanges should add pride of place to the economic affairs of the three countries linked by the free trade agreement.
Of particular note: the Mexican president’s willingness to increase the public sector’s role in energy production and Joe Biden’s no-holds-barred policy in favor of American industry, particularly the development of electric cars. However, the “three friends” did not overlook the situation in Brazil: the first decision of their summit on Monday was the release of a statement condemning “attacks” by supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro against places of power in Brasilia.
Joe Biden announced on the sidelines of his meetings in Mexico City that he would welcome Brazilian President Lula to Washington in early February. “We must continue to support and build democratic institutions” in Latin America, he told the Mexican president ahead of their bilateral meeting.
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