Mexico-USA: Changes and Inertia

After being downgraded in importance due to the tragedy developing after the passage of hurricanes Ingrid and Manuel, the visit of U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden to Mexico took place yesterday with a clear change of topics, at least in discourse, on the bilateral agenda and with an emphasis on issues such as economic cooperation, trade and structural reform in Mexico.

The change, however, will not translate as far as can be determined into a new type of binational relationship based on understanding, effective cooperation, responsibility and mutual benefit. On the contrary, Biden’s insistence on deepening a model of bilateral trade, spearheaded by NAFTA, forces one to recall that that model has been highly disadvantageous for the country and has not contributed to the population’s general development. As for the rest, it appears that the general backdrop of subordination of the Mexican government before the U.S. government that prevailed during the last federal administration has not ended, as demonstrated by the Mexican authorities’ failure to bring up the NSA’s spying on Peña Nieto — which clearly contrasts with the response of the Brazilian government, whose leader, Dilma Rousseff, canceled her upcoming visit to the U.S. in protest of such practices.

With such precedents, the support expressed by Joe Biden, together with the structural reforms presented by the Mexican president within the context of the agreement with Mexico, take on the shape of lobbying and undue interference by the U.S. in the sovereign processes of our country and of decisions that do not correspond to the Mexican president in matters that are being debated and have generated discontent and dissatisfaction among broad sectors of the population. In similar fashion, Biden’s support of the aforementioned three-party agreement is nonsense during a time when the organization of the country as a whole shows a crisis in representation and in which that high-level agreement is an object of harsh criticism.

Furthermore, during yesterday’s meeting, topics were left out of the bilateral agenda that needed to be brought up in the present context such as immigration, which only merited a mention by Joe Biden, and security, which was central to the agenda of the previous Mexican administration while practically abandoned by the current administration, even though violence nationally remains a recurring theme and the American authorities have not abandoned their characteristic double standard around the phenomenon of drug trafficking.

To sum up, more than the announced relaunching of the bilateral agreement due to the onset of Peña Nieto’s administration and Barack Obama’s second term, what appears to have been decided is a simple change of focus on the agreement, a return to interests — never forgotten by Washington — in advancing the neoliberal agenda in our country and a continuation of the superpower’s inconsistent and counterproductive attitudes on issues such as security and immigration.

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