Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a visit by John Kerry, Joe Biden's special envoy, last February.- (AFP)
Doubts about the participation of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the ninth Summit of the Americas have exposed a diplomatic front that goes beyond the relationship between the Mexican Government and the Administration of Joe Biden, host of the conclave that will be held from 6 to 10 June in Los Angeles.
The president issued a clear warning, that is, if Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua do not receive a formal invitation, he will not attend the regional meeting either.
Washington's decision has not yet been made, although according to statements by high-ranking officials, the United States is inclined to exclude these countries.
The absence of the Mexican president, one of the giants of Latin America, would be an exception, but at the same time he speaks of the long history of tensions between López Obrador and the Organization of American States (OAS),
Another president who is considering absenting himself from the summit is the Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro.
The decision has not yet been made, but he is inclined not to travel to Los Angeles to continue focusing on his re-election campaign, his absolute priority, reports
Naiara Galarraga Gortázar
from São Paulo.
Bolsonaro, who has a cold relationship with Biden and his Administration, prefers to stay home to try to turn the polls around, which place Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the lead.
The Brazilian has quite abandoned the international agenda.
The Mexican president has never hidden his animosity towards this multilateral organization.
Last July, he publicly enunciated it in an act on the occasion of the anniversary of Simón Bolívar, coming to propose a new regional order, thus dismantling the organization.
And he defended that idea again, using the same words, last Sunday during his official visit to Cuba.
“The proposal is, neither more nor less, to build something similar to the European Union, but attached to our history, our reality and our identities.
In that spirit, the replacement of the OAS by a truly autonomous body, not a lackey of anyone, but a mediator at the request and acceptance of the parties in conflict in matters of human rights and democracy, should not be ruled out,” he stated.
"Although what is proposed here may seem like a dream, it is worth trying."
This geopolitical turn has resonated again in the morning press conference last Thursday precisely because of the debate on participation in the Summit of the Americas.
How did they start in Europe?
European Community, now European Union.
What, we can't do it?
Are we going to continue with the policy of two centuries ago, of manifest destiny or of America for the Americans, understanding that America is the United States?
The positions of the OEA regarding Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela are not a mystery either.
The organization tried to lead, for example, the international opposition against the government of Nicolás Maduro.
It has done so above all in the hands of its secretary general, Luis Almagro, who has led the regional forum since 2015 and was re-elected to remain in charge until 2025. The role of the former Uruguayan diplomat in the 2019 elections in Bolivia also weighs.
The Mexican foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, attributed to him some "very doubtful and questionable actions to intervene in internal processes, as was the case of Bolivia, which was disgraceful."
The pressure exerted then by Almagro led to the resignation of Evo Morales, forced by the break with the Army.
Mexico was the first country to welcome the former president,
who later settled in Argentina.
And Mexico is also one of the countries in the region that has worked hardest for a diplomatic solution to the Venezuelan crisis, which was made clear a year ago when it welcomed the umpteenth attempt at dialogue between Chavismo and the opposition.
The Government of López Obrador has tried to activate itself in foreign policy through different paths, but, fundamentally, there are three initiatives.
The first is the search for a different relationship with the United States.
The country cannot live with its back to Washington, it needs it for almost everything, although its politicians know that the United States also needs Mexico.
The routine of the bilateral agenda goes through several disagreements in matters of migration, economy or security, and at the same time there are constant stagings of relaxation.
The president's sit-in at the summit would be another source of friction.
however, this week Ambassador Ken Salazar visited the National Palace and this Thursday he met with Foreign Minister Ebrard in a forum on border infrastructure.
The second initiative is the Latin American route, in which the Government's willingness to resort to diplomatic means such as the so-called vaccine diplomacy and alternative organizations to the OAS, considered more inclusive by López Obrador and his team, has been made clear.
For example, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), of which Mexico held the temporary presidency until handing over the baton to Argentine President Alberto Fernández last January.
The third diplomatic path of the Mexican president is Europe, with special emphasis on relations with France, Germany and Italy and coldness -especially symbolic- with Spain.
In any case, before this summit, regional balances and the relationship with the White House are relevant.
The event will debate “the cracks” that the pandemic has left “in the health, economic, educational and social systems”, in addition to “the threats to democracy;
the climate crisis;
and the lack of equitable access to economic, social and political opportunities”.
And behind the position of the president and the government there is a diplomatic strategy that, taking advantage of the new impetus for the policy of active support for Cuba and despite the principle of non-intervention in foreign policy enshrined in the Mexican Constitution, aims to overcome the OAS and reconfigure the multilateral map of Latin America.
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