Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a Cupboard-level delegation arrived in Mexico Friday to fulfill with each the sitting president and president-elect after a sea-change election there that might provide an opportunity for the neighbors to restore strained relations — or make them worse.
U.S.-Mexico ties have deteriorated considerably beneath President Donald Trump, who campaigned on constructing a border wall and who has repeatedly blamed Mexico for financial and social issues in america.
Pompeo’s delegation rolled by way of Mexico Metropolis’s streets in a motorcade of SUVs with diplomatic plates and tinted home windows, flanked by police on bikes. They have been assembly first with President Enrique Pena Nieto after which with leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who received a landslide victory in elections and can take workplace in December.
Earlier this month, Trump and Lopez Obrador each made optimistic statements following a phone dialog; the wall was not talked about.
Becoming a member of Pompeo on Friday is Trump’s son-in-law and White Home adviser Jared Kushner, who has performed a key function in sustaining relations with Mexico, partly due to his shut ties to the overseas secretary of the present authorities, Luis Videgaray. Additionally within the delegation are Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Homeland Safety Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
The State Division mentioned the go to is meant to show the energy and significance of U.S.-Mexico relations and the Trump administration’s eagerness to work with the incoming authorities. The 2 sides will focus on methods to fight transnational legal organizations, the opioid epidemic within the U.S., commerce tensions and irregular migration.
Sharing an almost 2,000-mile (three,200-kilometer) border, Mexico and america have historically coordinated carefully on safety and immigration. Mexico can be america’ third-largest buying and selling associate for items, with the U.S. shopping for about 80 p.c of Mexico’s exports from cars to fruit, greens and beer.
One proposed plan is to declare Mexico a “protected third nation,” that means individuals touring by way of Mexico hoping to say asylum within the U.S. would have to take action in Mexico as a substitute, in accordance with a Mexican official who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of he was not licensed to temporary the media. Nonetheless, the official mentioned, the proposal has little or no assist in Mexico as it might burden the nation with tens of hundreds extra asylum seekers a yr, one thing the nation lacks the assets to sort out.
When requested in regards to the plan earlier this week, Lopez Obrador didn’t reply straight, saying solely that immigration should not contain “coercive measures.”
Mexico’s president-elect has mentioned improvement, the renegotiation of NAFTA and immigration would be the essential subjects of debate Friday. Lopez Obrador, who campaigned closely on rising assist for Mexico’s poor and preventing authorities corruption, has mentioned encouraging improvement in Mexico would assist resolve immigration issues.
Regardless of optimistic statements from each side, the upcoming transition of energy in Mexico additionally has the potential to destabilize U.S.-Mexico relations if both chief takes intention on the different to attraction to his political base at dwelling. They’re unlikely companions as they occupy reverse ends of the political spectrum.
Lopez Obrador has already introduced that his authorities will cancel a pending buy of U.S. helicopters for instance of cost-cutting measures. Initially the sale was promoted by the State Division as a transfer that may assist a strategic associate struggle towards legal organizations.
And November midterm elections within the U.S. deliver the likelihood that Trump may return to the rhetoric of his presidential marketing campaign that was derogatory towards Mexico.