“They are taking time,” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador told the United States Government three weeks ago when he asked him to stop financing organizations that he understands are opponents, such as Mexicans against Corruption and Impunity (MCCI). “It is a joke that the United States Government gives this money,” López Obrador reproached this and previous administrations whom he accused of “financing the coup,” he said on May 18. According to their data, Mexicans against Corruption and Impunity has received 50 million pesos from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in the last three years, said the president.
The issue, minor in such a broad bilateral agenda between two neighboring countries, has become an obsession for the president who thus intends to suffocate the organization. This is the only way to explain the dimension of the terms used in reference to the United States such as: “mockery”, “violation of our sovereignty” or “financing of coup plotters.”
The matter, although it has not been part of the dialogue table this Tuesday, flies over the talks and diplomacy between the parties. There has been no formal response to the express request from Washington so far, and although US President Joseph Biden announced that he would increase USAID’s budget, he also said that they would reconsider the destination of the money that arrives in Mexico after the complaint filed. by the López Obrador Administration.
According to Roberto Velasco, director general for North America of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, the United States “has been respectful and receptive to the Government of Mexico.” “We consider that the relationship at this time is going through a good time,” added Velasco, one of those in charge of organizing Kamala Harris’ visit to Mexico, in an interview with EL PAÍS.
The official assured last Friday that there was no response to the diplomatic note and that his government was not taken for granted by the memorandum issued by Biden to federal agencies in which he indicated that the fight against corruption was a priority and that it was interpreted by some Mexican media as a ratification of USAID aid to the NGO indicated by the president. “We do not interpret it as an answer,” Velasco said. “First, because we have never considered defining the international cooperation policy of the United States Government. Naturally that is something that they have to define and will also have to establish based on their relations with each country. What we are proposing, which is public, is about a specific organization and we are awaiting a response, “he added.
USAID’s controversial role in Latin America has seen ups and downs due to its connection to the State Department. In Ecuador, she was forced to leave the country during the time of Rafael Correa and the same happened during the government of Evo Morales in Bolivia, under the accusation that she served US interests. Without going so far, it has become a point of friction between the Government of Mexico and the United States that, far from ending, will be reinforced, since Biden announced that he will increase resources to USAID by 10%, mainly to combat climate change and stop emigration in Central America, although with ramifications to finance projects that allow the United States “to lead efforts to support open and free societies and strengthen democratic institutions, combat growing authoritarianism and corruption,” announced Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, in the budget presented at the end of May.
Present in Mexico since the late 1970s, USAID has been increasing its presence in Mexico in recent years since it played an important role in the 1985 earthquake with the dispatch of hundreds of experts in rescue tasks. Since then, he has dedicated himself to collaborating on issues that have to do with tuberculosis, contraceptives or caring for the environment. At the same time, “USAID supports the efforts led by Mexico to reduce corruption and impunity at the federal and state levels, and works together with various public, private, and non-governmental actors to assist the Mexican Government in the prevention, investigation, and punishment of corruption.” , points out their website.
According to Guadalupe González, an international specialist in bilateral relations, when asked how the relationship between the two countries will affect if the US continues financing Mexicans Against Corruption, the expert points out that it is a “minor” issue, although it has escalated. much because of the electoral context in which the statements were made. “Let’s see what the result is. Domestic political issues contaminate the relationship because, furthermore, the funds that come from the United States not only reach the opponents, which is what the Administration says, but they have also financed other organizations that are important to Mexico. “
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