The relationship between the governments of LĂłpez Obrador and Biden had a new chapter added on Thursday that confirms the tense nature of the relationship, with Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard declaring "dead" the Merida initiative, a bilateral security agreement worth U$ 3 billion financed by the United State. In fact, AMLO has been warning since the beginning of his six-year term that he plans to eliminate the agreement.
The statements by the head of the Mexican diplomacy were made in an interview with the Washington Post, in which he says that the plan -- initiated by Felipe Calderon and George W. Bush and continued by all subsequent presidents in both countries -- simply "does not work."
The article states that the Mexican government has been negotiating for several months with the Biden administration to modify the initiative between the two countries that fights drug trafficking and criminal groups that function as suppliers to the United States.
"Neither drug trafficking nor consumption has been reduced, so we have to have another approach," Ebrard told the US newspaper. The foreign minister said that the relationship between the countries has put behind them the Merida initiative and that they are now "in another era."
Earlier during the first months of his six-year term, President LĂłpez Obrador had declared that he planned to end the program and channel those funds - which would need the approval of the US Congress - for the creation of jobs and development initiatives in Mexico.
"We don't want army helicopters or resources for military support, what we want is production and work," AMLO explained during a morning announcement in May 2019.
The president's critical attitude toward the Merida initiative, focused on his strategy of "hugs, not bullets," was criticized at the time by the opposition, especially from legislators and leaders, who argued that the program provided countless benefits for the fight against organized crime.
The agreement, which went into effect at the end of 2008, stipulates that Mexico receives between $2 billion and $3 billion annually for the purchase of state-of-the-art technology, aircraft, weapons and ammunition to confront crime, as well as assistance in training officials, teachers and members of the security forces on issues related to the fight against drug trafficking.
According to the Washington Post article, Ebrard said that they will continue to work with the U.S. government "in the areas in which we agree," and added that the Mexican government's main concern is to improve infrastructure in order to curb and solve homicides, which have grown dramatically in recent months.
Ebrard's remarks were released as President LĂłpez Obrador decides to consolidate his anti-USA stance. Last Saturday, at an event for the birth of Simon Bolivar, before numerous CELAC foreign ministers, he proposed a new integration bloc in the region to sideline the OAS, as Luis Almagro's management has been aligned with the United States.
In that speech, AMLO praised the "dignity" of the Cuban people in enduring the US embargo and made a clear strategy of emptying the Uruguayan diplomacy of power, whom Ebrard recently accused of "facilitating" the coup against Evo Morales in Bolivia.
In addition, Ebrard's remarks were made known hours before the president travelled to Badiraguato - "El Chapo's" hometown - and one of the areas where organized crime has the greatest territorial control. In the last few years there have been reports from the opposition that organized crime helped the Morenist candidate in Sinaloa, Ruben Rocha, to prevail in the elections for Governor on June 6, which was considered a disgrace by the party of LĂłpez Obrador.
However, Michoacan Governor Silvano Aureoles, who also denounced a similar drug scheme in favor of Morena in his state to defeat the opposition, visited Luis Almagro this week to formalize his indictment in Washington, warning that the president's non-confrontational policies with organized crime put Mexico at risk of becoming a "narco-state."
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