JOE Biden’s administration is too preoccupied to worry about growing relations between the Mexican government and Havana, an expert has said.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador sparked some concern in Washington last month after sending fuel and aid to a Cuba mired in domestic crisis.
Economic sanctions and protests had hit the island’s leadership hard – but they were able to rely on the leftist Mexican leader for vital support.
Dr. Jorge Domínguez, an expert in Mexican politics formerly of the University of Harvard, told Redaction Report that Obrador’s actions were simply an extension of growing Mexico-Cuba relations – and that he shouldn’t be concerned with a potential American response.
Following the July 11 protests, Biden appeared to put pressure on the Cuban government, labelling the nation a “failed state”.
Last Thursday sanctions were slapped on three more Cuban officials, adding to an ever-growing list.
But with the Afghanistan crisis only adding to Biden’s fast-filling plate, Washington may take little notice of the situation.
Dr Dominguez said: “Think migration, trade, climate change, drug trafficking, concerns about rights of journalists and NGOs, worries about corruption – no wonder the Cuba question has been low on the Biden agenda regarding Mexico.
“AMLO has not had to ‘reinvent the wheel’.
“Trump cared only about migration and the renegotiated NAFTA, not about Mexico-Cuba.
“The Biden administration’s agenda of issues with Mexico is huge, and Cuba is not high on that list.”
It’s only a “mild shift” towards Cuba nonetheless, according to the expert. Obrador has been full of praise for leftist governments in the Caribbean and Latin America.
This latest move may only consolidate his steady popularity with his own voters in Mexico.
“Those critical of the Cuban government supporting the PAN, those more favorable to the Cuban government supporting AMLO,” Dr Dominguez said.
“In some sense, therefore, AMLO’s mild shift in Cuba policy responds to his political base.
“AMLO has also adhered to a more traditional, “inherited” past policy, namely, returning to Cuba those Cubans who have entered Mexico without proper documentation.
“AMLO’S Cuban-government-friendly policies are likely unaffected by Arce’s presidential election in Bolivia or Castillo’s more recent in Peru.
“This has been his personal preference for sometime and was part of his foreign policy from the start.
“AMLO also tends to be fairly parochial in his approach to the outside world — not one to follow South American politics closely, hates to travel outside Mexico and has done very little.”
The protests have waned, and it appears that Washington’s initial excitement about the unrest is over, for now. Instead, the possibility of a growing left in Central and Latin America is rapidly materialising.
Dr Jorge I. Dominguez is a retired Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico at Harvard University. You can find his website here.
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