The political deference that the government of Mexico made to the president of Cuba, Miguel-Díaz Canel, came at a far from ideal moment and is causing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to stumble. In his harangues in El Grito, López Obrador shouted cheers for democracy. Twelve hours later, the European Parliament voted, almost at the rate of two to one, a resolution against the Cuban government’s repression against its citizens on July 11, accusing it of having violated human rights, in particular freedom of expression, before a protest in 40 cities that Havana had not seen since 1994. The defender of democracy and freedoms, as López Obrador presented himself, defending the repressor of democracy and freedoms, as Diaz-Canel was pointed out. This sum of two did not give four.
The Ministry of Foreign Relations should have warned the president of the existence of that draft resolution and of the possibility of a vote on Thursday, but López Obrador did not alter his plans. Diaz-Canel invited the Military Parade on September 16, and opened an unprecedented space on this iconic date of the national holidays, to deliver a speech. In a synchronized way, the two coincided in criticizing the United States government. Díaz-Canel had a privileged platform in the National Palace to do so and be heard, and López Obrador used the moment to establish a position and aspire, whether he thought about it or not, to regional leadership, sheltered by the countries of the anti-American axis and by the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, which is intended to be the dynamo of a new Organization of American States.
If last week was the one of the loss of sovereignty before the United States, this will be the one of the recovery of sovereignty against the United States. López Obrador, with that moral language that he uses for everything, said that “it looked bad” for the United States government to use the blockade of Cuba to impede the well-being of its people, repeating for the third time in less than three months the demand for the end of embargo. López Obrador aligned himself with Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia, the three nations with the greatest current attack on Washington.
López Obrador made discursive chicanas, blaming the embargo that the Cuban people, “forced by necessity”, had to confront their own government, as part of a “perverse strategy” of the United States. This justification of the repression will bring much criticism to the president, who continues to accumulate points to be pigeonholed in the group of autocratic presidents. However, it is refractory to dissent, which hardens and radicalizes it. His underlying problem is with the United States.
Playing in the two fields, which are antagonistic, thinking of landing on your feet, is a very high bet. And when you bet high, you either win a lot, or you lose a lot. Here, what the Mexican president has to carefully analyze is what his real room for maneuver is compared to a country on which more than 85% of the Mexican economy depends and from where the remittances that have prevented an outbreak have arrived in cataract. Social. The principles cannot be chemically pure when there is a dependency like the one in the United States, but that same dependency generates windows of opportunity if one acts with intelligence and political office.
So far, from what is known about his way of prosecuting, it has been very simplistic, which provokes Biden, who has not reached the aggressiveness of former President Donald Trump against Cuba, dismantling what was advanced by his predecessor Barack Obama. López Obrador has commented internally that Biden would not dare to do anything against him because of his high levels of popularity. Under that logic, if it were the subject of an attack by Washington, there would be a negative response in Mexico against the United States. However, there is a high probability that López Obrador has a diagnosis as romantic as it is wrong.
The protests against the United States in the 1970s, the decade in which their world is anchored, did not change Washington’s actions. What caused changes was political and diplomatic pressure, without public bravado, as happened with the Panama Canal Treaty, which López Obrador used as a moral model that Biden could follow, although in reality it is not an analogous example, nor by his origin, neither because of its history, nor because of the unanimity in Latin America against that American enclave, very different from the political dialectic with Cuba.
If López Obrador wants to help Cuba effectively, it is not the rudeness of macho as he will achieve it. That will lead nowhere with the Cubans, and will at the same time damage the United States’ relationship with Mexico. But if you review the past, not for propaganda purposes, but to find ideas of how to act, you can analyze the great effort of Grupo Contadora, an idea of the government of Miguel de la Madrid, which contained a United States invasion of Central America and raided the path to negotiated regional peace, resisting pressures without fighting publicly, or the Caribbean Basin Initiative, in which the government of Carlos Salinas participated, to stimulate the development of that region through a kind of Marshall Plan backed by the United States. .
Biden, like Obama, is prone to substantially improving the relationship with Cuba, but the country he governs is in more difficult conditions for a new rapprochement, thanks to the polarization caused by Trump. López Obrador has to consider that context and act intelligently if he wants to pave the way for a negotiation between the two countries, but with discretion, if he is serious. Otherwise, tied to his immediate prominence, he will be cornered in the place that the world designates for autocratic populists, and as an ungrateful and unreliable North American partner, whom, when the conditions are given to speak with Cuba, everyone will ignore. .