The United States Equation in Mexico

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - HealthFour candidates for the Mexican presidency debated each other on May 20th. While their words and arguments primarily dealt with domestic issues, there is no doubt that the United States and trade loomed in the whole equation. The front runner, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, made his position very clear that the best way to fight the United States was to strengthen Mexico’s economy, support Mexico’s citizens in the United States, and seek a diplomatic means against a border wall being built as well as militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border. Ricardo Anaya, who is running in second place, believes that Mexico must be firm in its negotiations with the United States, and that the United States needs Mexico as much as Mexico needs the United States. The third candidate, Jose Antonio Meade, believes that the current policies of engagement with the United States under current Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto are the best for both Mexico and the United States. The fourth candidate, an independent named Jaime Rodriguez “Bronco,” said that all negotiations with the United States must include everything on the table—meaning that concessions from Mexico must match concessions from the United States.

Of the four candidates, Obrador’s opinions carry the most weight. Since he is well out ahead in the opinion polls, his opinions are more likely to become national policy in Mexico and more so how Mexico deals with the United States. Being left of the political spectrum, there is no doubt that Obrador’s position will be a highly nationalist one, and one where it could either work in cooperation with the United States, or be an independent policy highly critical of everything the United States does. Like U.S. President Donald Trump, Obrador is a populist who believes that Mexico should come first….although from a more leftist perspective. One important component in helping Mexico first and foremost is to raise the Mexican minimum wage and salaries as a whole. Obrador noted that Mexican workers in the United States can earn ten times more than in Mexico, and this blatant inequality has to be changed. Another thing is that the best way to fight corruption and the the cartels is to help Mexican farmers and whole villages in Mexico’s vast countryside fight poverty so that, according to Obrador, “they are forced not to plant drugs but corn.” In Obrador’s view, helping the people in the countryside will mean that Mexico can deal with its own problems and will not need the massive aid of the United States to fight the cartels. The message from Obrador is simple; Mexico must help itself so that it will be less dependent on the wishes of the United States and thus be able to determine its own future.

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