Brazil and Mexico summoned U.S. ambassadors Monday after media reports that the United States had spied on their countries’ presidents.
“Without prejudging the veracity of the information presented in the media, the Mexican government rejects and categorically condemns any espionage work against Mexican citizens in violation of international law,” Mexico’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
In Brazil, Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo called the situation “an inadmissible and unacceptable violation of Brazilian sovereignty.”
To watch additional interviews with James Jones, Former Ambassador of the United States to Mexico, and Dolia Estévez, author of U.S. Ambassadors to Mexico: The Relationship Through Their Eyes, click here.
Translated by Ashley N. Garcia, Staff Intern for the Mexico Institute
Last week in conjunction with El Palenque, a well-known and widely consulted discussion forum on the Animal Politico website, the Mexico Institute posted a question to the Palenqueros concerning the major challenges and opportunities facing the United States-Mexico relationship. This is the first of what we hope will be a long-term collaboration with Animal Politico, which will also carry a Spanish language blog from the Mexico Institute, titled “La Vista desde DC.” Here we present a summary of the views and opinions presented in the forum.
Modern Mexico Task Force, Center for Hemispheric Policy, 12/4/2012
The general elections that took place in July in Mexico and the recent presidential election in the United States provide an opportunity to put forward ideas to renew the U.S.-Mexico bilateral agenda and to develop a new vision for North American integration. Unfortunately, as has happened in the past, the two countries will most likely forgo this opportunity. While foreign policy generally does not feature in the elections of these two countries as a key topic, many issues concerning the U.S.-Mexico relationship, including migration, border security and trade, tend to gain some visibility, albeit a negative one, in the U.S. electoral game. One example was President Barack Obama’s electoral promise to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). By contrast, these “intermestic” issues (issues that concern both the international and domestic realms) did not feature prominently in the Mexican elections, although in this past electoral season the fight against drug-trafficking and the associated levels of violence was an exception.
Op-ed, Luis Rubio, Christian Science Monitor, 12/3/2012
Mexico confounds. If one watches the news, either here or in the United States, most of what comes out about this country is violence among the drug cartels. But if one looks at its economy, Mexico has become the largest trading partner of almost 30 US states.
President Enrique Peña Nieto, who took office on Saturday, wants to change that mismatch by putting the economy first, which will require addressing the onslaught of the narco mafia in a very different way from his predecessor. This new approach has great potential, including improved public safety, and is one that Mexico’s northern neighbor should also embrace.
Enrique Peña Nieto takes office tomorrow, Dec. 1, as the next President of Mexico—whose young and otherwise successful democracy is beset by narco-bloodshed (60,000 murders in the past six years), an underachieving economy (average annual growth of only 2% since 2000) and a feeling that its Latin American leadership role has been eclipsed by its fast-developing South American rival, Brazil. Peña, 46, the popular former governor of central Mexico state, convinced Mexican voters that his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico from 1929 to 2000 as a corrupt, one-party dictatorship, has righted itself enough to right Mexico. He spoke with TIME’s Latin America bureau chief, Tim Padgett, and Mexico reporter Dolly Mascareñas at his transition headquarters in Mexico City. Excerpts follow (translated from Spanish).
Héctor Aguilar Camín and Jorge G. Castañeda, Foreign Affairs, 11/2012
Mexico has long been hostage to unchallengeable traditions: its nationalist approach to oil wealth, overly sensitive attitude toward sovereignty, entrenched labor monopolies, persistent corruption, and self-serving bureaucracy. Acquired over time, these attitudes and practices became cemented in the national soul and embedded in the habits of the government and society, sapping the country’s potential.
The good news is that all of this is rapidly changing, as Mexico leaves behind its hefty psychological baggage. Yes, the last 15 years, a time of too little economic growth and too few reforms, have been frustrating, especially for those who expected the transition to democracy to solve everything. But these years have unveiled a new national consensus: a broad agreement on values that, despite seeming normal for any other modern democracy, did not figure clearly in the Mexican public consciousness until very recently.
Andrew Selee and Chris Wilson, Op-ed, CNN, 11/27/2012
As they meet for the first time Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexico’s President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto will be operating in a landscape of U.S.-Mexico relations that has changed profoundly since Mexico’s outgoing president, Felipe Calderon, took office six years ago.
It’s a ritual turning into a tradition that will be played out once again when re-elected President Obama meets Mexico’s President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto at the White House on Tuesday. And there will be a new twist: both leaders know that millions of voters with roots in Mexico vaulted them to their high offices, and in Obama’s case more than 70 percent of the Mexican-American electorate in the U.S.
According to the White House, the meeting will last only hours but cover a wide-ranging agenda. Peña Nieto, who takes office Saturday, then heads to Canada to meet his other NAFTA partner. His July victory represents a return to power for the PRI party, which had ruled Mexico for 70 years but had spent the last 12 in opposition.