Politics

AMLO crafts foreign policy with view to winning votes: ex-ambassador

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The federal government’s response to the European Parliament (EP) after it passed a resolution that condemned the harassment and killing of journalists and human rights defenders in Mexico has been described by a veteran politician and former ambassador to the European Union (EU) as a “comedy of errors.”

In a statement penned by President López Obrador and other officials, the federal government accused European lawmakers of “corruption, lies and hypocrisy” and described them as misinformed sheep.

Longtime leftist politician Porfirio Muñoz Ledo, an 88-year-old former deputy, senator, federal cabinet minister and Mexico’s ambassador to the EU between 2001 and 2004, said the language used by the president is beyond belief.

“His irate, insulting, confused and disproportionate response is not in accordance with the powers of a head of state,” he told the newspaper El Universal.

Muñoz, who was an outspoken deputy with the ruling Morena party until last year, said the statement – issued by the president’s office last Thursday – could perhaps be attributed to López Obrador’s “fatigue due to hard work” and “anxiety to win” the so-called “revocation of mandate” referendum, at which citizens will have the opportunity on April 10 to decide whether the president should complete his six-year term or leave office early.

President López Obrador's responded to a European resolution condemning violence in Mexico with a critical press release of his own.
President López Obrador responded to a European resolution condemning violence in Mexico with a critical reply.

He also said that López Obrador sees foreign policy issues as domestic issues and an opportunity to win votes. Indeed, the president frequently quips that “the best foreign policy is domestic policy.”

According to Muñoz, López Obrador thinks that the Europeans are “neo-colonials,” even though that belief is “absolutely false.”

“These are deliberate acts of domestic policy. This shows that he wants to play internal politics. If the head of the executive makes a statement [on foreign affairs] he must do it through the Foreign Affairs Ministry. … If the head of the Mexican state wants to make a complaint [about Europe], … his interlocutor is the president of the European Commission. This six-month term it’s the president of France,” he said.

Muñoz questioned López Obrador’s intention in calling European lawmakers sheep.

“Whose sheep are they? Claudio X. González’s? Carlos Loret’s?” he asked.

The former is a businessman and outspoken critic of the president who founded Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity, an anti-graft group that has exposed alleged government corruption. Carlos Loret de Mola is a journalist who has also reported on alleged government corruption.

Muñoz said that López Obrador addressed the members of the EP as if they were his “internal interlocutors” – members of his own government, in other words. “He calls them meddlesome; that’s a grave mistake,” he said.

The former ambassador to the EU also said that the free trade agreement between Mexico and the EU allows for dialogue between the two parties on a range of issues. But members of the EP and Mexican lawmakers haven’t held a meeting for two years, Muñoz said.

With reports from El Universal 



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