Wednesday 08 July 2020
Washington – (AFP):
US President Donald Trump today welcomes his Mexican counterpart, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, in Washington, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, four months before the US presidential election.
The goal of the Mexican president’s first visit abroad since he came to power 18 months ago raises questions and criticism from both sides of the border.
Officially, the first bilateral meeting between the two presidents aims to celebrate the entry into force of the new free trade agreement in North America. But in evidence of the continuing tension, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that he will not come to Washington to this end.
On Tuesday evening, Trump expressed his pleasure to receive his Mexican counterpart, describing him as a “friend.”
For his part, the Mexican President stressed that the meeting “will be a working meeting” and that he will not “go into party politics.”
But this meeting in the Oval Office is not unanimous, especially in the United States, where the number of those infected with Covid-19 continues to increase dramatically in the south and west of the country, which raises the concerns of health authorities.
And about ten deputies from the Latin American countries called in the Congress to cancel the meeting, but to no avail, given that the entry into force of the new agreement is only an excuse.
They considered that the president’s actual goal “is to divert attention from the emerging Corona virus crisis” and to hide “his failure to address the epidemic in an appropriate manner.”
The new free trade agreement came into effect last Wednesday, knowing that the borders between the three countries are partially closed due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
The new agreement, dubbed “the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement,” replaces the “NAFTA” agreement that entered into force in 1994.
“Underestimating the science”
For their part, a number of Mexican opposition figures condemned the visit and saw it as a form of acquiescence.
“It is a futile and risky visit without any benefit for Mexico,” former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda told AFP.
The Mexican president stressed what he saw as a change in the tone of his American counterpart.
He said, “President Trump’s remarks on Mexico involve more respect than before,” expressing his gratitude.
On the other hand, Rep. Democrat Choi Garcia wrote of Chicago, who was born in Mexico, that Trump is seeking to take pictures with Lopez Obrador in an attempt to erase “four years of insults, attacks and abusive policies” towards Hispanics while seeking a second term in the November elections. .
“Trump’s harsh policies have shocked immigrant children, left innocent people in detention for an unlimited period of time, and terrorized entire groups with raids and deportations,” Garcia wrote in the Mexican newspaper Reforma.
“I hope President Lopez Obrador will use this controversial trip as an opportunity to seek respect from Trump for 36.6 million people of Mexican descent and 11.2 million Mexican immigrants residing in the United States,” he added.
During his 2018 election campaign, the Mexican president had promised to stand against the Republican billionaire if he criticized Mexico.
“If (Trump) writes an offensive tweet, I will respond to him,” he said at the time, adding, “I think he will realize that he must be reasonable and that he should not insult the people of Mexico.”
Mexican historian Enrique Krause said that the meeting will take place between two men “united by disregard for science” and accustomed to attacking the press.
In the interest of his image as an unspent president, the Mexican president arrived on Tuesday evening on a commercial flight.