“Presumed President Biden”: Mexico’s Confused Position Against the Winner of the US Elections

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“We have to wait”. This is how the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has stopped this Wednesday criticism for refusing to pronounce on the triumph of Joe Biden in the November 3 elections. The opposition claims that it is a missed opportunity to build a new relationship with the United States, the country’s main trading partner, while the government defends that doing so is meddling in the internal politics of its neighbor. A message from Martha Bárcena, the Mexican ambassador to Washington, set fire to the controversy over an ambiguity in the translation: “This well-founded position underscores respect for the US electoral system and institutions, for the Democratic and Republican Parties, as well as President Donald Trump and the alleged President-elect Joe Biden ”.

The English term used in the statement was prospective, which translates as future or possible, although it also has presumed meanings among its meanings. “The difficulty of translating”, has justified the ambassador before the criticism of several users of social networks. Beyond the ambiguity in the words, the message that Bárcena released this Tuesday afternoon adds to the confusion after the silence of Mexico and remains halfway before the need for the Foreign Ministry to react to what other countries have said , respond to the opposition’s questions and not strain the relationship with Trump, who has not conceded defeat and will end his term on January 20. It is said that “Mexico pauses its decision to congratulate the winner of an election, until the legal issues have been resolved”, but is quick to describe Biden as “virtual president-elect”, in the words of Bárcena, which seem to be a product of a lack of coordination and on which there was no official statement from the Foreign Ministry. The newspaper The universal notes this Wednesday that Biden’s transition team tried to coordinate a call from the Democrat with López Obrador, but that it was rejected until Mexico has more certainty about the elections.

“In line with the principle of non-intervention, if the United States does not agree, Mexico has nothing to do by pronouncing in favor of one or the other candidate”, wrote Natalia Saltalamacchia, an academic at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM). The specialist, however, clarifies that “it is not a good way” to start the relationship with Biden and that the president’s neutral position has been consistent since he came to power in December 2018, “with the exception of the case of Bolivia.” .

“I sincerely and with great pleasure celebrate the arrival to the presidency of Luis Arce,” said López Obrador in a message published last Sunday, regarding the voting on October 18 in the South American country. Unlike the United States, in Bolivia there were no significant post-electoral conflicts, but the Mexican government collided several times with the interim office of Jeanine Áñez, whom it described as a coup leader after offering asylum to former President Evo Morales. For some, Mexico endorsed its diplomatic tradition of giving asylum to politically persecuted persons and for others, it was a nod to the Latin American left-wing governments, after deciding not to confront Trump, with whom it met last July. It was the only visit abroad that López Obrador has made as president and he did not meet with any Democratic representative.

While the French Emmanuel Macron, the German Angela Merkel and the British Boris Johnson have already met with Biden, López Obrador has assured that the Democrats and Republicans understand his position and that the controversy is an attack by his political adversaries. “It is a country where there are 38 million Mexicans, some voted for one party and others for another”, López Obrador said, “How irresponsibly are we going to speak out? It does not correspond to us ”. “We are not a colony (…) the Government of Mexico is not dummy no foreign government, ”he pointed out when ruling out retaliation from the United States, just at the beginning of a legal quagmire to decide who will be the next occupant of the White House.


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