Things That Matter

As World Leaders Rush To Congratulate Joe Biden, One Latin American Leader Is Waiting ‘Out Of Respect’ For Trump

Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States. As millions of Americans took to the streets to celebrate the long awaited results, leaders around the world rushed to congratulate the President-Elect.

However, two of the United States’ closest allies (even before the Trump presidency) were conspicuously missing from the list of well wishers: the presidents of Brazil and Mexico, the region’s most populous nations and home to its two largest economies.

Although few were surprised by Brazilian President Jaír Bolsonaro not jumping on the Biden bandwagon. As the so-called “Trump of the Tropics,” Bolsonaro is an unabashed Trumper and has publicly backed President Trump’s reelection and recently took spoke out against Biden’s suggestions about climate change and how to help the Amazon rainforest.

Other global holdouts who had not congratulated Biden included the leaders of Russia and China. The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a Trump confidant, sent formal congratulations to Biden on Twitter more than 12 hours after U.S. networks called the race.

Mexico’s president says he won’t congratulate Biden until Trump’s election lawsuits are resolved.

Even though every major network has projected Joe Biden as the next President of the United States, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) hasn’t congratulated the President-Elect on his victory.

Yes, it’s true that AMLO (a left-wing populist) has developed a close relationship with Donald Trump despite the ideological chasm between the two men. And despite Trump’s frequent Mexico-bashing, AMLO has basically followed Trump’s every whim and demand. But it seemed obvious that AMLO would quickly reach out to the next president of a country that is so economically and politically important to the interests of Mexico.

The U.S. is the lifeblood of the Mexican economy, accounting for 80% of foreign trade and tens of billions of dollars annually in remittances from Mexicans residing in the United States.

Instead, AMLO has decided to wait. “We don’t want to be imprudent,” the Mexican president told reporters Saturday, speaking more than seven hours after U.S. news outlets had called the election, a projection that immediately sparked a global tide of solidarity for Biden. “I want to wait until the electoral process is finished.”

AMLO insisted he was waiting out of an abundance of respect for Donald Trump.

Credit: Jabin Botsford / Getty Images

Although AMLO insisted that he has excellent relationships with both Joe Biden and Donald Trump, he added that his decision did not amount for an endorsement of either. However, he did take the time to fawn over his current U.S. counterpart.

“President Trump has been very respectful of us, and we have achieved some important accords,” López Obrador said. “And we are thankful to him because he has not interfered.”

AMLO’s failure to reach out to the new President-Elect is seen as a major diplomatic error.

In Mexico, the ambiguous message from AMLO immediately triggered a media firestorm from critics charging that the Mexican president had essentially sided with Trump.

“This was a very serious mistake by López Obrador,” said Jorge G. Castañeda, a former Mexican foreign minister, who noted that presidential aspirants worldwide welcome foreign affirmations as legitimacy-conferring markers. “The standard on these matters, and this is a long-standing issue in diplomacy, is pretty much this: You should do what everyone else does.”

Columnists and journalists were even harsher in their assessment, with many calling it a tacit endorsement of Trump’s questionable legal tactics and assertions of electoral fraud.

“The president of Mexico now owns Donald Trump’s hallucinatory observations about the presidential election,” tweeted columnist Pascal Beltrán del Río. “The relationship with Biden was already going to be difficult; now more so.”

And the fallout was not just on this side of the border. Even Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-TX), who leads the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, went on Twitter to denounce AMLO’s mistake as a “stunning diplomatic failure at a time when the incoming Biden Administration is looking to usher in a new era of friendship and cooperation with Mexico.”

Although not everyone was surprised by AMLO’s decision – since he shares so many similarities to Donald Trump.

Credit: Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Although the president’s decision to hold off on congratulation Biden sparked fury from many, it came as little surprise to some. Much like Trump, AMLO cherishes loyalty above all else and often views politics in a similar me-vs-them prism.

The Mexican president has also long projected himself as a victim of electoral fraud that prevented him from being able to take the Mexican presidency earlier – dating to two failed runs at the presidency before he finally triumphed in 2018.

Like Trump, AMLO is not one to concede defeat. Nor does he forget perceived slights. Following his narrow loss in the 2006 presidential race, he mounted a protracted protest campaign alleging fraud that sent tens of thousands of supporters into the streets and shut down much of the capital for weeks.

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Biden Is Counting On Mexico’s President To Help With Immigration But That’s A Risky Move

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Biden Is Counting On Mexico’s President To Help With Immigration But That’s A Risky Move


One of the stranger things to happen during the Trump presidency was the unlikely alliance between Trump and Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). The former frequently spoke disparaging of Mexicans and pursued cruel and inhumane immigration policies that directly targeted the constituents of the latter. Yet AMLO was a major supporter of Trump’s most severe immigration policies and, in fact, helped bring them to fruition.

Now, with a new president in the White House, AMLO is being asked again to recalibrate his approach to immigration but having once been a major ally of Trump, how will he work alongside a President Biden?

Presidents Biden and AMLO host a virtual meeting to discuss a wide range of topics.

President Biden is hoping that Mexico’s President AMLO can help him avert another crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. However, given AMLO’s close alliance with Trump and support of his harsh immigration policies, Biden may face an uphill battle.

But as the administration faces an uptick in migrants attempting to cross into the U.S., Biden is hoping that AMLO can become a partner in preventing another cycle of out-of-control migration from Central America. The Mexican president appeared open to collaboration, issuing a joint statement committing to address climate change, the pandemic and migration north.

Their first head to head meeting comes after a rocky start for the two leaders. Mexico’s President was one of the last leaders in the world to congratulate Biden on his election victory, with many saying AMLO fears a Biden administration as potentially more interested in pressuring Mexico on its own domestic matters.

President AMLO was a key player in Trump’s harsh and inhumane immigration tactics.

Despite his racist rhetoric directly targeting Mexicans and his cruel and hardline immigration policies that largely shifted the pressure to Mexico, AMLO largely accepted Trump’s worst policies with little resistance.

As migrant caravans formed in Central America and attempted to make their way to the U.S. passing through Mexico, AMLO unleashed his newly formed Guardia Nacional to stop them in their tracks. His agents arrested and deported thousands of migrants back to their home countries, often using tear gas and other extreme tactics to do so.

And President AMLO said nothing as Trump implemented the “Remain in Mexico” policy which forced thousands of refugees and asylum seekers to await their claims on the Mexican side of the border, amid a global health pandemic, shifting the burden to Mexican officials.

Biden looks to continue many of Trump’s policies.

Although Biden campaigned against Trump’s harsh immigration policies, the president wants many of the same things from AMLO that Trump asked for: help in keeping Central American migrants from immediately surging north toward the United States through Mexico. And although Biden declared he would break sharply with Trump on immigration, he’s only abandoned some of his predecessors policies.

The Biden administration has formed a task force to unite parents separated from their children Trump’s family separations policy. He’s also begun welcoming back a limited number of asylum seekers who were exposed to violence and kidnappings in dangerous areas of Mexico under a Trump-era program. But the Biden administration has kept in place a separate Trump policy that empowers agents to rapidly expel new arrivals at the border to Mexican authorities as Biden hopes to avoid a crisis that challenged his predecessors.

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An Alleged Rapist Is Running For Governor In Mexico And Still Has The Support Of President AMLO

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An Alleged Rapist Is Running For Governor In Mexico And Still Has The Support Of President AMLO

Guillermo Gutierrez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

For years, Mexicans have been taking to the streets to denounce violence against women and to demand accountability from their leaders. However, much of that messaging doesn’t seem to have reached the very top as President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) continues to support a candidate for governor facing multiple allegations of sexual assault.

A candidate for governor faces multiple sexual assault allegations and still enjoys widespread support.

Félix Salgado Macedonio, a federal senator (currently on leave) is accused of sexually assaulting five women and yet is still in the running for governor of Guerrero.

Despite the accusations he faces, 64-year-old Salgado, has maintained the support of President AMLO, who has claimed that the allegations are politically motivated, and other high-ranking party officials including national party president Mario Delgado. He was considered the frontrunner in the election for governor.

AMLO came to the candidates defense, calling on people to stop politicking and avoid “media lynchings” and asserting that people should trust the party process that was used to select Salgado as candidate.

“We have to have confidence in the people, it’s the people who decide. If polls are taken and and the people say ‘I agree with this colleague [being candidate],’ I think that must be respected. Politics is a matter for everyone, not just the elites,” López Obrador said.

The MORENA party has committed to reselecting its candidate for governor but Salgado is still in the running.

Officials from the MORENA party announced that they would conduct a new selection process to find a contender for the June 6 election. The party’s honesty and justice commission said its members had voted unanimously to order a repeat of the selection process.

While the honesty and justice commission has ordered a new candidate selection process, Salgado was not precluded from participating in it. He indicated in a social media post on Friday night that he planned to seek the party’s backing for a second time.

“Cheer up colleagues! There is [still fight in the] bull,” Salgado wrote on Facebook.

Activists continue to fight back against his candidacy and the president’s support for an alleged rapist.

Women have protested in Mexico City and Guerrero state capital Chilpancingo and the hashtag #NingúnVioladorSeráGobernador (No Rapist Will be Governor) has been used countless times on Twitter.

Yolitzin Jaimes, a member of the feminist collective Las Revueltas, said the withdrawal of Salgado’s candidacy is a positive first step but urged the authorities to continue investigating the rape allegations.

“… He has to go to jail, … he mustn’t return to the Senate and he mustn’t be nominated [for governor] by any political party because … it’s very probable that he’s seeking to go to the Labor Party [a Morena ally],” she said.

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