Although he is a human rights defender, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has had numerous arrests of migrants since he came to power, but failed to meet Donald Trump’s demands.
The leftist president tried on Friday to defend his migration policy against the customs offensive of his American counterpart launched in retaliation for a Mexican attitude deemed too lax. “We are doing the job,” defended Mr. Lopez Obrador. “We do not sit idly by.”
When he came to the presidency last December, “AMLO” announced that there would be no more persecution of migrants, promising them work, medical coverage and education for their children, as well as humanitarian visas. “Lopez Obrador spoke a little faster in announcing a change in migration policy,” said AFP Javier Urbano, researcher in international relations at Iberoamericana University.
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More and more migrants
The migration of Central Americans and a growing number of Cubans to Mexico has accelerated in recent months, exceeding the capacity of the country, according to the expert. Mexican migration policy then hardened.
According to official figures, Mexico has arrested 510,607 migrants, mainly from Central America, between January and April of this year, an increase of 17% over the same period last year.
“It’s incongruous compared to the speech that is very innovative and progressive,” notes Leticia Calderon, a migration expert at the Instituto Mora research center. But “on the ground the reality is completely different”.
In recent weeks, unprecedented police operations have been observed to arrest hundreds of migrants who were advancing in groups in the south of the country or in the small hotels where they lived.
The authorities also changed the humanitarian visas they had issued so far, allowing migrants to circulate throughout the country, limiting them only to southern states.
Several riots and mass escapes, including of Cuban migrants, have recently occurred in detention centers in the state of Chiapas.
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This flow of migrants, sometimes forming “caravans” of several thousand people, triggered the wrath of Donald Trump, who sees it as a “threat to national security.”
“We are under a lot of pressure (American) and no offense to the Mexican government, our security policy is in line with that of the US government,” said Javier Urbano.
The expert notes that the government’s attempt to control the flow of migrants by making arrests is hampered by its limited capacity to take care of and repatriate these people to their country of origin.
Even if Mr. Lopez Obrador is able to respond quickly to Mr. Trump’s demands, the subject will remain on the table in the US electoral context. President Trump “is seeking re-election and this subject is very important for his conservative electoral base,” says Javier Urbano.
In the letter sent Thursday by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador after the announcement of the taxes decided by Donald Trump, he proposed “to deepen the dialogue, to seek alternatives to the problem of immigration”.
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New “Marshall Plan”
The Mexican government would like to convince the United States to finance a massive investment plan in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador of about $ 10 billion a year.
In May, “AMLO” announced that it no longer wanted US security assistance, preferring instead that the money would be used for economic investments in its country and in Central America.
The experts welcomed the idea of a “Marshall Plan”, but questioned its modalities and the role that the Central American countries will play in its implementation. In the midst of this new phase of tension between the two neighbors – who share a border of about 3100 km – Donald Trump accused Mexico of doing nothing against narcotics and advanced Friday the figure of 80’000 people died in the States In 2018 because of drugs.
On the other side of the border, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced, just four months ago, that “officially, there is no war” against the narcotrafic after evoking during his campaign a possible amnesty for the little hands of the cartels, a proposal that sparked a heated controversy in Mexico.
The Mexican president, however, has launched the creation of a national guard, led by a military, which could count 150,000 men by 2024, and will be responsible for bringing peace to the country.
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Source: afp / nxp