The complaints and requirements have come in less than a week from US government agencies and the Democratic Party, the formation of President Joe Biden. By way of official pronouncements, internal documents and letters, the petitions have to do with the processing of the electrical reform in Mexico, support for Russia from sectors of the ruling party and, finally, the actions of the judiciary. They all question in some way the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, his movement or figures close to him, such as the Attorney General of the Republic, Alejandro Gertz Manero. And they have all come after the recent visit by John Kerry, White House Climate Envoy, focused on the energy policy of the Fourth Transformation. The temperature between the two countries is rising at a crucial moment in which both Washington and Mexico are emphasizing their purpose of advancing regional integration in North America.
The latest voice of alarm came from the office of veteran Democratic legislator Bob Menéndez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In a letter addressed to Antony Blinken and the United States Attorney General, also signed by three other Democratic senators, deep concern is expressed about “apparently selective judicial procedures”, going so far as to refer to Gertz Manero’s “personal vendettas”. The Mexican prosecutor is precisely in the eye of the hurricane due to the accusations of having tried to maneuver in a personal case against his in-laws for the death of his brother. In any case, the letter, advanced by Associated Press, is not the only example of this climate. On Monday, the Democratic representative promoted a petition to withdraw the visas of 25 legislators from Morena, the Labor Party and the PRI who created a friendship group with Russia and expressed their support for Vladimir Putin in Congress in full aggression against Ukraine.
Last week Washington conveyed its “important concerns” about the electricity reform and this Thursday, after the decision of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) to endorse the law that changes the regulation of the sector, paralyzed for a year in the courts, Ambassador Ken Salazar went a step further. “The Government of the United States respects the sovereignty of Mexico and its democratic processes. It is in this tenor of cooperation and respect that we are concerned that the Electricity Industry Act of 2021 will likely open the door to endless litigation, creating uncertainty and obstructing investment”, he warned.
López Obrador has flatly rejected the accusations of the Democratic legislators. “They are, with all due respect, liars, because it is not true. Maybe they are misinformed”, he stated in his morning press conference. “And it’s good that there are only four, because four swallows don’t make a summer. But what am I going to answer them? I mean, nothing. And they will continue like this, and hopefully they will be few, ”he continued. The Mexican president has announced that at the end of April he plans to meet with US senators in the southeast to address development programs in Central America and “confront the migratory phenomenon.”
“But they are uninformed,” he insisted. “I have no connection other than respect with prosecutor Gertz Manero. It is no longer the time when the president gave instructions in the judiciary, in the Supreme Court, in the Attorney General’s Office, no; now there is a true rule of law, there is no crooked state, ”said López Obrador, who has always defended without nuance the actions of the attorney general of the Republic. And he has gone further: “People don’t like that. How will the people of Mexico like it when conservatives go to the United States or anywhere else to accuse a legal government, legitimately constituted?
For the president, these are episodes of “interference”. He has openly spoken of “lobbying” related to the electricity reform, whose viability is precisely in the hands of justice after being deadlocked in Congress due to lack of support. And he has also criticized the voices that ask to revoke the visas of the deputies who turned to the Kremlin. However, the framework of bilateral relations should also be taken into account. In the first place, economic and commercial stability, both in Mexico and in the United States, depends, among other factors, on compliance with the T-MEC trade agreement that the energy policy of the Fourth Transformation questions by placing it in the hands of a State company. , the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), the majority management of the electricity market.
Second, these tensions, added to the White House’s objections to Mexico’s immigration policy and the strategy to stop the security crisis, always occur without direct confrontation between López Obrador and Biden. The harmony between the two has been palpable when they have coincided and in their public statements it is always evident. There are not even significant tensions between the Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, and his counterpart, the Secretary of State, Blinken. However, the US administration is subject to a broad coalition in which different legislative, economic, social and human rights sectors pressure the president to be stricter in his relationship with Mexico. And Washington officials have given ample evidence of their intention to tighten the nuts on the president.
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