An Interesting Move

López Obrador’s request seems to seek Biden’s validation of the AIFA in the face of criticism from his opponents and, in the process, an endorsement of his government.

In an interesting political move to say the least, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has put U.S. President Joe Biden in a challenging situation.

By publicly asking him to land at the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA), out of both friendship and political considerations, the Mexican president has literally told his counterpart how important it is for him that Air Force One, the U.S. presidential plane, land at a terminal that is one of the most symbolically important and controversial projects of his government.

López Obrador’s request seems to seek Biden’s validation of the AIFA in the face of criticism from his opponents and, in the process, an endorsement of his government.

AMLO said that the U.S. decision should be based “not on logistics, but on politics. President Biden may not know this, but I am taking the opportunity to tell him that out of friendship, out of diplomacy, we ask him that his plane land at the Felipe Ángeles International Airport.”

If he didn’t, he added, “imagine our adversaries,”* and warned the U.S. authorities “not to lend themselves to this crude and conservative opposition who will use everything.”

It is then a question of domestic policy, the only thing that interests his government, and to which everything else is subordinated.

In the first instance, it’s the decision of the Secret Service, charged with the U.S. President’s security, who evaluate the possible risks — including the most trivial — not only in the landing but also in the route or form of transport that Biden will use to travel to where he’ll be staying.

But the decision also has political implications, now being considered by the U.S. government.

Is Biden willing to do López Obrador a favor? Yes, probably, despite the Mexican president’s rebuffs, like his absence from the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles in July 2022, or his apparent reluctance to resolve commercial problems that are now on the verge of becoming legal problems.

Every U.S. administration, especially Biden’s, has a national security interest in the relationship with Mexico, and so landing at the AIFA is a gesture that could be seen as a huge political favor.

What impact it may have on bilateral issues, such as migration and security, North American projects in both countries or their respective proposals for hemispheric integration, remains to be seen, but it is clear that the two countries, despite everything, are aware that they need each other.

That López Obrador felt obligated to publicly ask a favor, or issue a warning, only highlights the importance of the issue for the Mexican president.

If anything, the gesture comes as trade disputes between the two countries — especially over energy investments — enter a phase that could lead to arbitration panels that the U.S. believes will eventually rule in its favor.

But who knows if Biden and his administration will appreciate this move.

*Editor’s Note: This quote, though accurately translated, could not be independently verified.

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About Hannah Bowditch 103 Articles
Hi, my name is Hannah. I am originally from UK but currently residing in Montreal, Canada, working in a bakery and trying to brush up on my French! I hold a Masters degree in Translation from the University of Portsmouth and a BA in English Literature and Spanish. I love travel and languages and am very pleased to be a part of the Watching America team.

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