Toward the ‘Normalization’ of US-Mexico Relations

07/15/15 Huffington Post

mexico-usa-flag-montageThe escape of Mexico’s most dangerous criminal, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, from the most secure wing of the country’s highest security prison this weekend is a wake-up call for those who insist on ignoring the explosive situation south of the border. The blind support of the Barack Obama administration for the increasingly corrupt, violent and untrustworthy Mexican government has facilitated a downward spiral of institutional decay which must be urgently stopped.

Read more…

Obama y el Estado de la Unión

1/24/2014 El Universal

By Andrew Selee, Executive Vice President of the Wilson Center and Senior Advisor to the Mexico Institute

3004717988_06761377b7_zEsta semana el president Barack Obama ofreció su informe anual en el recinto del Congreso de Estados Unidos, un discurso que se conoce por tradición como “el Estado de la Unión”. Aunque jamás hizo referencia directa a México, y apenas mencionó el tema de la legalización de millones de migrantes, tocó temas que tienen muchas implicaciones para la relación entre vecinos y el futuro de México.

Read more…

Why Did Obama’s State of the Union Ignore Latin America?

1/23/2015 Latin Correspondent

3004717988_06761377b7_zFor much of President Barack Obama’s time in office, he has been accused of ignoring his southern neighbors. Drawing down military involvement in the Middle East, along with continued crises in other areas of the world, has resulted in little public attention paid to Latin America for the past six years…

On the eve of formal talks between the two countries [Cuba and U.S.] beginning with a focus on migration policies, Obama was careful not to delve too much into the details of what normalization would look like. While much still needs to be decided, normalization of relations has the potential to be a huge part of Obama’s foreign policy legacy and his State of the Union address referenced this policy without risking the possibility of upsetting the start of talks…

While that approach can be seen as pragmatic, what was more surprising was the way the rest of the speech failed to address any other country in the region. In the past year, a number of major shifts have occurred in Latin America, but Obama did not touch upon any of them.

One the greatest omissions was perhaps Mexico. The past year has seen major upheavals in the country, particularly regarding the distrust between the Mexican state and its people. This past week, another scandal broke to further degrade this relationship when it was revealed that President Enrique Peña Nieto had bought his home in a resort town from the same developer that subsequently won billions of dollars in government contracts.

Read more…

Harper Postpones Three Amigos Summit Amid Chilly Relations with U.S. and Mexico

1/15/2015 The Globe and Mail

NAFTAPrime Minister Stephen Harper has postponed the North American leaders’ summit with U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at a time when relations with both leaders are chilly.

The unexpected move allows Mr. Harper to avoid an awkward side-by-side news conference with Mr. Obama at a February summit that all three governments were expecting would be dominated by the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline – now at the top of the political agenda in Washington.

Obama Pledges Mexico’s Pena Nieto Drugs Support

1/6/2015 BBC News

President Obama visits Mexico President Enrique Pena NietoPresident Barack Obama has promised the US will stand alongside Mexico in its fight against drug-related violence.

The vow came after talks with President Enrique Pena Nieto in the White House, in which the two discussed the recent disappearance of 43 Mexican students.

The US president said his country would be a “good partner” to its neighbour in the fight against drugs and associated problems.

“Our commitment is to be a friend and supporter of Mexico in its efforts to eliminate the scourge of violence and drug cartels that are responsible for so many tragedies inside of Mexico,” he said.

Read more…

Will Obama provide Mexico’s besieged president a much-needed lifeline?

1/6/2015 The Christian Science Monitor

President Obama visits Mexico President Enrique Pena NietoWhen President Enrique Peña Nieto sits down with US President Obama on Tuesday, the scandal-plagued Mexican leader will be under intense pressure to ensure that their discussion – which will touch on security, immigration, trade, and economic issues – produces tangible results.

Both Mexicans and the international community originally expected Mr. Peña Nieto to bring much-needed change to Mexico. But that image has been dramatically undercut by outrage over the poor handling of a case in which 43 students went missing after being handed over to police, as well as several recent political scandals. Now, Mexicans are watching to see if he can work effectively with his powerful northern neighbor in a way that could compensate for his growing political and economic woes.

“It seems like now would be the right moment to double down on those goals that were introduced in the Merida Initiative,” says Christopher Wilson, a senior associate with the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, noting that the initiative, which was originally negotiated between former presidents Felipe Calderón and George W. Bush, has yet to be formally updated by Peña Nieto.

Read more…

Obama Asks Mexico’s Help to Keep Some People Out of U.S.

1/6/2015 McClatchy DC

4097699785_073813177e_zPresident Barack Obama recently took action to address the flow of immigrants coming into the United States illegally. Now he’s looking for help from his Mexican counterpart.

At a meeting Tuesday at the White House, Obama urged Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to halt the flow of immigrants, including unaccompanied minors, coming from Central America to the United States through Mexico by strengthening porous borders and monitoring passengers traveling by train…

Christopher Wilson, senior associate at the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center, said Mexico had been trying to find the proper balance on immigration as the nation became a pass-through for Central Americans. “They’ve been struggling with that over the years, with what’s the right response,” he said.