A Troubled Relationship

A letter to the U.S. Congressional leadership demanding an investigation of Mexico’s failure to comply with provisions of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement gives an indication of the state of the U.S.-Mexico bilateral relationship.

The letter, sent by Republican Rep. Clay Higgins to Democrat Carolyn Maloney, chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, condemns actions of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government favoring Mexican state-owned enterprises to the detriment of U.S. interests.

The letter in and of itself will not do much. If anything, a congressional hearing might give voice to those in the United States who believe that their country’s political and economic interests are being impacted by what they characterize as the nationalization of the Mexican energy industry and by the emphasis on the use of fuel oil and coal for electric power generation.

These are lawsuits filed by lawyers, to be resolved by organizations and procedures set out in the USMCA itself.

But at the same time, the letter is an indication that things are not going well and could get worse.

Higgins and another 40 Republican legislators contend that the Mexican government is not respecting international agreements and that $20 billion in U.S. investments is at risk, with the knowledge and consent of President Joe Biden.

In other words, they are trying to put pressure on the Biden administration to retaliate against the Mexican government over a variety of problems, reflected in the idea of closing the common border to the arrival of undocumented immigrants, thereby eliminating routes for the entry of possible terrorists and drugs.

And in the process, they can strike a blow against the López Obrador government, which has few allies in the United States. It is not well understood by either Republicans or Democrats, and they do not consider it to be a reliable partner.

In any event, the fact is that at the same time as the Biden administration is trying to reach out to and win over the López Obrador regime, the U.S. Congress and a large number, if not the vast majority, of nongovernmental organizations and analysts remain critical. This is as much because of the López Obrador government’s environmental and human rights policies as because of violence, drug trafficking and organized crime.

The problems that the United States is encountering resonate strongly in other areas of the world, especially in countries with investments in Mexico. These foreign investors, in turn, are apprehensive about legal promises and their own interests, as well as about possible changes in the agreements between the U.S. and Mexico.

To complicate things further, this is occurring at a time when the world is entering an era of a new “Cold War.” For some, this demands clarification. López Obrador, however, appears to be more inclined to denounce the U.S. economic blockade against Cuba than the Russian military invasion of Ukraine.

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