Mexico Can be a Counterweight to US Foreign Policy in Latin America

Photo by Emiglex | CC BY 2.0

The candidate of the radical left Andrés Manuel Lépez Obrador, known in Mexico as ‘AMLO’ is set to win the presidential elections on July 1st, consistently over 20 points ahead of his nearest conservative rival. White House foreign policy analysts are frantically worried that he would reverse “one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world”[1]. What worries them most is AMLO’s plans to reverse the privatisation of Mexico’s oil and build refineries. Though more importantly for the wider region, his foreign ministers friendliness to Venezuela and the rest of the Latin American left that could derail Trump’s policy of isolating Maduro and Castro in the region. Losing the second biggest economy in Latin America as a US ally could help shift the right wing advance in the region and put momentum behind the radical left once again.

Mexico had a long tradition of progressive foreign policy. In the 1930s it stood alone with the USSR in sending arms to the republicans in the Spanish civil war, meanwhile the European democracies left Spain at the mercy of Hitler and Mussolini. After the Cuban revolution Mexico defied US attempts to isolate the revolution within the Americas. Though the formerly left nationalist PRI, (party of government for most of the 20th century and which AMLO was a member of), shifted its alliances and in 1988 a section of the party’s left, disillusioned with the growing conservatism of the PRI…

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