The United States Must Not Be Fooled by the Bicentennial Agreement

Mexico and the United States held a binational meeting last Friday to close the final chapter of the Merida Initiative and replace it with the Bicentennial Agreement, a new security understanding between the two nations.

The high-level dialogue was attended by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Mexico was represented by its president, secretary of foreign affairs, secretary of public security, secretaries of defense and the Navy, and the secretary of the interior.

It was a belated meeting held half-way through a six-year term in the face of the alarming numbers of homicides and missing persons in the country, which has surpassed all records in modern Mexican history.

The Merida Initiative, one of the most ambitious joint undertakings by Mexico and the U.S. had more success than failure during the Calderon administration. Never had the fight against crime been waged with such determination. It was a pity that during the corrupt and mediocre administration of of Enrique Peña Nieto, where only larceny and impunity prospered, such initiative was squandered and underestimated.

When the current government took office three years ago, this initiative was almost completely ignored. The government did not see its potential or its depth, and ended up burying the plan. Nevertheless, when he took office, Andrés Manuel López Obrador made a commitment to his people and to the United States to:

• Change the security strategy. Instead, Lopez Obrador not only failed to comply with the strategy, but even worse, the strategy disappeared;

• Lower homicide rates. Instead the rate multiplied under Lopez Obrador’s administration;

• Pursue criminals, Instead, Lopez Obrador freed them;

• Work with U.S. security agencies. Instead, Lopez Obrador practically expelled U.S. security from Mexico;

• Try corrupt politicians for past offenses. Instead, Lopez Obrador exonerated them;

• Stop the massacres taking place in the country. Instead, they doubled under Lopez Obrador’s administration, and he made a mockery of the events, and

• Stop the murder of women. Instead the number of murders in Mexico under Lopez Obrador’s administration surpassed the number of women murdered in Afghanistan.

The list of Lopen Obrador’s governmen failures in terms of security is immense. Far from fulfilling promises, Lopez Obrador’s government has only seen twice the number of failures and increased violence.

With all these deceptions, failures and falsehoods, does the United States still believe that the president is going to comply with the new agreement? Does it they really think he has the will to fight crime?

Perhaps the U.S. does not realize that this government, instead of prosecuting and imprisoning criminals, corrupt politicians and businessmen, prefers to prosecute scientists and charge them with organized crime for using funds authorized by Congress.

Upon analysis, it is not pessimistic to see that the problem is not the agreements or the strategies. The problem is that the government does not have the will to fight crime. It can agree and sign on to a thousand strategies, but if the government is not forced to comply, strategies are useless.

We Mexicans are praying the agreement will work. No one wants it to fail like before. If President Joe Biden really wants it to work in a coordinated manner between both countries with real results, then the United States must impose sanctions to ensure the fulfillment of each point of the agreement. They can’t be sanctions without serious consequences, but must be severe sanctions with serious implications for the country such as classifying crime as terrorism (after the Salamanca bomb*), to mention one sanction that Donald Trump considered only to be rejected by Lopez Obrador, as if he were defending all this. Biden could also demand that Mexico return aid that the U.S. has allocated to the country if the goals of the new are not reached.

The United States must apply real pressure, because if it doesn’t, the money will disappear. And there’s no doubt that equipment that is delivered, such as airplanes, vehicles and technological equipment, will be raffled off later like lottery prizes, just as the presidential plane was raffled off. And when the president is asked to account for his failure to achieve any results, he will mockingly answer, “I have other data,” “hugs work better than bullets,” “respect the principle of non-intervention,” “we are not like we used to be,” and “we are a sovereign country and we do not allow ourselves to be managed.”

This is no exaggeration given how arrogant Lopez Obrador has been with the United States, unlike any other president. He has openly endorsed a candidate in the presidential election, supported and advocated for dictators who are enemies of the United States, run off security agents, disagreed with and belittled the victory of an elected president, opposed U.S. policy, demanded that the U.S. end its economic embargo on Cuba and praised its dictator. He is the only president who has deceived and publicly mocked the U.S. by freeing an extradited general and publicly disclosing incriminating files. Lopez Obrador is the only Mexican president who has ever asked for a visa for the family a drug lord. But the strangest thing of all is that the U.S. has not only shown him respect, but has applauded and congratulated Lopez Obrador while continuing to believe in him.

I miss Uncle Sam!

Lopez Obrador has already greatly deceived us Mexicans, each one of us without exception. That some allow themselves to be deceived and others defend him for financial gain is different, but he has lied o all of us, something which has led to apocalyptic consequences as more than 600,000 people have died from COVID-19, 100,000 have been killed in criminal violence, thousands have disappeared, and thousands of women have been murdered. Lopez Obrador has turned the country into a cemetery; that has been the true transformation.

The United States must not continue to be fooled by Lopez Obrador. Either it puts him notice for his deceptive behavior, or America’s binational security agreement will fail again.

*Editor’s note: On Sept. 19, 2021, a bomb contained in a package delivered to a bar in Salamanca, Mexico, exploded, killing two people and injuring five others.

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