My friend and colleague Richard Grabman, author of the (sometimes irreverent) Mexfiles ( http://mexfiles.net/2018/11/30/deciphering-amlo/ ) posted his translation of an editorial he read in yesterday’s La Jornada.. The original piece was written by David Brooks (New York)
Saturday December 1, 2018 – Andrés Manuel López Obrador will be sworn in as President of Mexico. Whether you approve of his politics or not, no one can deny that this is an historic occasion. Richard readily agreed to my request to re-post. And so I give you:
Shortly before he assumes power, investors, analysts and politicians in the United States have sought to define who and what President Andrés Manuel López Obrador will be like. For now, there is no consensus – he remains an enigma.
However, what is most worrying for many regarding bilateral relationship between the United States and Mexico is not so much what the new Mexican government will do but the erratic and provocative policy of the Donald Trump regime, which already laid the groundwork for the crisis López Obrador must face.
Media reports here say AMLO is scaring investors (Wall Street Journal), while others offer a more positive outlook for investors, calculating that fears are exaggerated (Bloomberg) while still others are alarmed that a possible “enemy” is of democracy is coming (Financial Times). All this, along with the usual claim that AMLO is “unpredictable”, “temperamental” and “you-do-not-know-which-version-of him-will-govern” (New York Times). And still others fall back on the word of the day, the increasingly ambiguous term , “populist “(one headline sought to merge everything and call him “a pragmatic populist “).
Meanwhile, experts and former diplomats (including former ambassadors in Mexico) predict “a difficult path” and possibly even “explosive outbursts” between the two leaders — based on their personalities, or their divergent policies – They offer lists of recommendations of what the new government should do, from economic, energy and security policy, and center on anti-drug cooperation with the United States.
The first crisis:
Almost all indicate that the first bilateral crisis of the new president is already more than announced: asylum seekers in the border. In fact, perhaps as early as 24 hours after AMLO takes office, his chancellor Marcelo Ebrard is scheduled to fly to Washington to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen to continue to address the issue.
Ebrard had already begun discreet negotiations with Pompeo in Houston a few days ago. News reports reported that an agreement had been reached, but that was denied, and Ebrard insisted that all that exists is a conversation for now on how to deal with the situation.
But Trump’s position does not leave much room. While talks were going on between the Americans and the elected government last week, Trump tweeted that asylum seekers would not be allowed into the United States until a court approves their petitions and that “everyone will remain in Mexico. If for any reason it becomes necessary, we will CLOSE our Southern Border. ”
In part, what is at stake are principals governing the relationship between the incoming Mexican government and the Trump regime. The US government’s position is that Mexico should be a staging ground in the process of evaluating asylum requests, something that can last for months and even years.
According to José Pertierra, an expert lawyer in migration and asylum in Washington, what Trump asks is nothing less than that “Mexico become an accomplice in violating the international law on refugees” and violating the United States’ own asylum laws. that establish that anyone has the right to enter US territory to request it.
“What Trump is doing is dismantling the entire asylum system,” by increasingly restricting entry into the country and, with his former attorney Jeff Sessions, reducing reasons for granting asylum until they are almost non-existent — for example, nullifying claims for asylum based on domestic violence, or gender violence, or criminal violence as he explained in an interview with La Jornada.
“But for this to work, he (Trump) needs Mexico to accept and house all those people in its own territory, where the applicants do not know anyone or have access to the support infrastructure on the US side. Many come [to the United States] because they know someone here, “he explained. Therefore, Pertierra reiterated, Mexico is in danger of being subordinated to Trump’s anti-immigrant strategy.
In the coming days, the first impressions and reactions will spring up about the new president in the neighbouring country, including among the Mexicans and Latin Americans living in the United States who await AMLO’s response to the persecution they suffer from this regime and its allies.