Thursday, March 23, 2023

Mexico, the United States’ Uncomfortable Neighbor

Mexico'S President, Andres Manuel López Obrador, And His American Counterpart, Joe Biden, Last November.
Mexico’s President, Andres Manuel López Obrador, and his American counterpart, Joe Biden, last November.Susan Walsh ( Associated Press)

For the United States, Mexico has become a neighbor that asks for things one day, and says no the next. and vice versa. Examples of the current Mexican government’s fickle attitude can be found on any issue on the complex agenda, which has made the country an uneasy neighbor of a North American power south of Bravo.

One of the most recent episodes that shows the unpredictability of the relationship is performed by the Attorney General of the Republic, who is still in charge of Alejandro Gertz Manero.

What a luxury for those who were able to see the face that US officials would have learned on Thursday when they learned that the Mexican president published allegedly incriminating evidence from Washington against former federal public security secretary Gennaro García Luna. was asked to do.

At the same time, American agencies are being asked that cooperation with them is being suspended suddenly. And that attitude is embodied not only by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, but also by FGR.

Knowledgeable people comment that the Attorney General’s office has been unilaterally suspended in recent weeks, and one has to say, cynically and irresponsibly, in cooperation with various US security agencies.

The reason for that interruption was the personal agenda of the prosecutor, which would have enforced the institutional disdain when negotiators from Washington agencies refused to provide her with information about her ex-sister’s descendants, through informal channels or outside the law. Had given. -Law, the nongeneralist who, as is known, wanted to be imprisoned.

According to that version, what the prosecutor’s office informally demanded was completely unreasonable and could be illegal. As this was not answered positively, the Mexican side made their counterpart feel cold. From the United States he began calling his staff in Mexico to question the closure of cooperation channels, and the response was that the prosecutor asked for things that could not be delivered.

It was the prelude to the request, now publicly, by President López Obrador to reveal part of the investigation against a former aide of President Felipe Calderón in the United States.

Even though accepting such a request may violate due process, it would be natural for Washington to drag its feet in the face of new demands for a government whose actions have become untenable, thrifty and unreliable. Because this judicial request is far from the only issue where bilateral relations are in an area of ​​turmoil and uncertainty.

Problems rise almost weekly on the agenda between the United States and Mexico. In one that is ending, a new front was opened in the energy sector, which was already for some time saturated with conflicts and disagreements between the interests of the two countries. On Monday, Energy Secretary Rocio Nahle sent a letter to regulatory officials urging changes to be made so that everyone could buy natural gas from the Federal Electricity Commission.

Given that the autonomy of the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) in this six-year term is a dead letter, and given that it would be nave to expect that the CRE and the National Center for Natural Gas Control (CINAGAS), the body which has been officially The letter was also sent, warrants evaluation and weighs its relevance with the criteria that participate in best competition and greatest social benefit, it is assumed that these examples received instruction more than an invitation and would follow. Immediately and with pleasure too.

News of the warrant, which is known to have come days after it was issued, surprised a sector that was already frustrated by a series of sudden changes in electricity production and purchases; And among those who have been shocked by unilateral government decisions are American companies.

And although the measure proposed by Nahle has already been announced in court of security and appeal, the truth is that this vulgarity, which again crushes national and foreign interests, is so typical of the López Obrador administration that it is surprising. The thing is they haven’t tried before.

Andres Manuel sees himself as a patriot. And his agenda to consolidate the emblematic companies of the Mexican energy past has been one of his main banners since his first election campaign in 2006.

After being defeated in the Chamber of Deputies last April, his initiative to modify the electricity market in favor of the CFE without remedial measures has resolved a number of allegations against companies through which In fact she’s getting what she was looking for of duly With the law blocked by the opposition in San Lazaro.

The new setback measures, published Friday by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, are intended to “force the Federal Electricity Commission to make more use of its diminished natural gas transport capacity” but would “attack competition and free competition in the region, because This would force users of the Natural Gas Transport Service (via the gas pipelines of the Integrated National Natural Gas Transport and Storage System) to purchase this hydrocarbon from CFE subsidiaries in charge of the fuel commercialization and supply business.

In a statement, IMCO explained that we are facing a scenario of violation of two articles of the Hydrocarbons Act and furthermore, the measure “will have detrimental implications not only for the transporters and marketers of this input, but also for the end-users.” – especially the industrial sector – which will be subject to the prices and quality of service as determined by the CFE”.

Beyond the specific implications of the warrant, which was not announced by López Obrador, it was as if he wanted to take a prudent distance given a visit to the National Palace this week by US envoy for climate agenda and interests manager John Kerry. Among the companies in their country affected by this renationalization of electric energy, the truth is that it is a policy as sinister, even if signed by the Secretary of Energy, and in line with the López Obrador agenda that shamelessly stonewalls legislation. Status of.

Because whether or not the warrant orders to be enforced, the damage has been done. Once again, Mexico has made it clear to investments, national but above all foreign, that today nothing on paper in the terms of the contract is valid for this government. that if they know how to count, expect that any day their contracts, especially those involving the energy sector, may turn into paper, and if they want the kicking right, they line up, a Line that also has unnecessary to say, Americans, with Ambassador Ken Salazar as appointments manager, have been visiting the National Palace almost every week to try to shield their businesses for months in Mexico.

Those talks in López Obrador’s office are also symbolic of something The Wall Street Journal reviewed in a timely manner last Sunday. The New York newspaper reviewed the series of attacks by AMLO against the private sector, particularly energy, and how it could affect a business plan that gave the country decades of growth.

The subtext of the report is easy to trace. Mexico has entered a dynamic that destroys not only part of the conditions that give it stability, but also the guiding principles of both the old Free Trade Agreement (FTA) or the new TMEC, whose final negotiations Well, it was done. Out by the team by Andres Manuel.

That guiding principle is faith, the belief that Mexico was a serious participant, an actor whose problems would be no greater than his willingness to respect the law and agreements.

As various analysts have pointed out over the years, the main feature of the FTA, which came into force in the 1994 disaster, was that Mexico would implement policies to advance and strengthen a legal framework, and a legal administration, which Will give certainty to all the actors. Those who want to do business in the country.

In a way that this was always an act of politics, a proposal that governments would change competition and regulation laws, adopt and respect best practices in terms of free enterprise and fairness before the law, and that there would be a strong system that would allow entrepreneurs to be governed by rulers. Saved from the uncertainty of and six years of change.

If Andrés Manuel found corruption in some concessions or contracts—something that wouldn’t surprise anyone, by the way—if he didn’t see the obligation to honor fictitious or Leonine contracts—something that people support, of course. From– He has many Tantras and even today an emerging power to cure or reverse such things. And it can be said that in many concessions—highways, prisons, gas pipelines…—- it has been achieved.

However, since the start of 2022, it seems that he has won a rush as he enters the final phase of his six-year term. We are in the year, now it is clear, in which he will revise regardless and regardless that his actions may be regressive, any contractual conditions that he has that specifically affect the CFE or privileges.

Cain Salazar might say that with his daily visits to the National Palace he has managed to save part of what was lost to the economic interests of companies in his country. This implies that thanks to the fact that the ambassador has the sympathy of the president, he is able to defend his country’s agenda. But it also means that we are dealing with a plan that relies on empathy between two people, the president and Washington’s envoy, and not agreements that are beyond humor or situation.

On the other hand, other countries do not hesitate to say in the corridors that with a unilateral change of circumstances, with the unilateral return of the strong man to the castle, Mexico may do it once, but that the next time the Mexicans will trade the big guys. They’ll make you feel like there’s no chair for those who don’t respect the agreed-upon rules.

But among trading partners, there had been no progress in decades with those from North America, and the most important of them being Uncle Sam, who is now given caps week after week seeking support. And the old saying warns that things cannot be done.

There will be costs for the country, be it the US summit or cooperation in law enforcement, whether the FGR has the luxury of conditioning, the migrant issue or legal certainty.

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Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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