Migration and fentanyl at the center of the meeting between Biden and AMLO in Mexico City

This is the first visit by an American president to Mexico since that of Barack Obama in 2014. On Monday January 9, Joe Biden met his Mexican counterpart, Andras Manuel Lopez Obrador (“AMLO”), on the sidelines of the leaders’ summit of North America, which also includes the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. Migration, security and energy are at the center of the exchanges. These are three sensitive topics for the Mexican host, who is wary of foreign interference and for whom energy reforms are non-negotiable.

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Mr. Biden, for whom this is also his first trip to Latin America, came with two requests: that his neighbor step up his efforts to curb the massive influx of migrants at his border and to attack the trafficking of fentanyl, this drug of synthesis that floods American cities. It is therefore on these two subjects that he spoke on Monday, during the bilateral meeting with “AMLO”. The Mexican president, for his part, expounded on humanism and politely affirmed that the United States had not invested in Latin America since the 1960s, which the American president diplomatically denied. The two heads of state, however, multiplied the gestures of friendship to attest to their good relationship, without announcing any concrete agreement.

Author of a slogan according to which “The best foreign policy is domestic policy”, the Mexican president shows little interest in diplomacy, does not go to international summits and has only left Mexico on nine occasions during the first four years of his term. During his daily press conferences, he regularly criticizes the intrusion of Washington or Madrid in Mexico’s security and energy policies during previous governments.

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“He is sometimes very critical of the United States and takes attitudes that can only be understood with the aim of satisfying his electoral base, explain to World Rafael Fernandez de Castro, director of the Center for United States-Mexico Studies at the University of California, San Diego. He has politicized the relationship and is using migration as leverage, because Biden needs Mexico to contain the flows. »

Two important gestures

“Mexico deploys a “megaphone diplomacy”, which plays above all on symbols, and the United States is betting on a diplomacy of results”observes for her part Martha Barcena, who was the ambassador of Mexico in Washington during the first two years of the sexennium of “AMLO”. “’AMLO’ is a leader who forged himself in social movements and has never been a legislator. He is not used to compromise and prefers the approval of crowds. Biden has distinguished himself for his mastery of negotiation during his long career in Congress.she adds.

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