Photo: NPI
Photo: NPI

Is AMLO contradicting his nationalistic ideals by accepting the new USMCA’s terms?

Mexican president Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador decided to make his first official trip outside Mexico to the U.S. after 19 months in office and in the middle of…


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AMLO traveled to the U.S. on July 8 to celebrate the USMCA, a new international trade that went into effect last week and involves the three North American countries of the U.S., Mexico and Canada. The big missing piece from the meeting was Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who missed due to meetings with his cabinet and sessions in parliament in which he had to be present.

While Trudeau was absent for the meeting, AMLO’s official visit was highlighted for its contradictions.

Before becoming Mexico’s president, AMLO wrote a book called Oye, Trump (Hey, Trump), where the now-president criticized and questioned Trump for subjugating immigrants and encouraging racism against Mexicans in what he called an act of “hispanophobia”. 

Besides, both countries are also among the Top 5 ranking of deaths by COVID-19

The U.S. being the first-worst affected and Mexico the fifth, just behind Italy. Not caring about statistics, both presidents continued their visit without wearing masks or worrying about social distancing. 

To conclude with the negotiation, in a conference held outside the White House, AMLO remarked on Trump’s help during these unexpected times, forgetting that in 2019, the U.S. president warned about increasing a 5% tariff on all goods from Mexico in case the migrant caravan wasn’t stopped

However, contradictions didn’t stop there.

The 10 businessmen that traveled with AMLO belong to the group that during his presidential campaign he called, “The Mafia in Power” (La mafia del poder). 

The nickname alludes to the corrupt connections and the monetary benefits these capitalist leaders obtained with previous presidents that helped fuel their economic success. 

AMLO, who calls himself an activist against “neoliberals” and capitalism, has accepted the terms of one of the most free market contracts in the world. 

The Fourth Transformation (4T), as AMLO’s presidential term has been called, aimed to eradicate poverty and social inequality. However, the terms presented by USMCA trade go against that aim.

USMCA’s objective is to extract wealth from the public and give it to the private. 

By easing the connection between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, the trade enriches few entrepreneurs and promotes the social inequality that AMLO intended to eliminate.  

The new terms of the deal hurt the economy of Mexico’s southern region while making the cities on the border more powerful. 

It follows the old adage that AMLO pretended to eliminate, implemented with the old NAFTA treatment, back in 1991 by then president, Carlos Salinas de Gortari, a principal icon of neoliberalism in Mexico. 

The paradox is clear

A president that pegged himself a populist and a leftist makes his first international trip to the U.S. in an attempt to save Mexico’s economy by promoting the free market and rejecting his nationalist discourse.


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