With elections in our country officially over, the delegations of Mexico and the United States resumed NAFTA renegotiation talks yesterday.
The resounding triumph of Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the smooth political transition that President Peña Nieto’s administration has allowed, gave new vigor to the negotiating team, now accompanied by the future Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Marcelo Ebrard; Economy, Graciela Márquez; and future leader of the renegotiation team, Jesús Seade.
The high-level U.S. and Canadian governments visits to the President-Elect contributed to easing concerns about a possible change in the Mexican position.
However, the most relevant note regarding the new bilateral relationship was the unusual exchange of letters between López Obrador and Donald Trump.
The extensive letter sent by AMLO to President Trump proposes a new understanding between the two countries. In seven pages, he alludes to dignified and respectful treatment dozens of times.
López Obrador centers the bilateral cooperation for development on four strategic areas: trade, migration, development, and security. The generation of employment and welfare in Mexico and Central America will reduce forced migration and facilitate migration control.
However, it is the last paragraph that provokes astonishment due to the personal message from Mexico’s next President to his American counterpart.
For starters, López Obrador points out the unbreakable ties between both countries, such as language (sic), culture (sic), traditions (sic), a "long relationship and much solidarity." And then, an eloquent closing where López Obrador points out the similarities that bind him to Trump: fulfilling their promises, successfully facing adversity, placing voters at the center, and displacing the establishment or the ruling regime.
Curious, to say the least, that it is López Obrador himself who affirms his affinity with Donald Trump when throughout the campaign he denied and disqualified those who mentioned any similarity between the two.
Aside from understanding exactly what adversity Mr. Trump faced during his campaign, it is even more amazing that AMLO exalts the way, in his view, both came to power: putting citizens first and defeating the system, when neither of them ended a dictatorship or an undemocratic regime. Yes, they triumphed over the ruling parties, flagged by other opposition parties. In any case, Trump would qualify as an outsider or external to the political class, but not AMLO, who is the net product of the patriarchy.
Where they are similar is in the binary way of conceiving the world, in black and white, between allies or enemies, loyal or fake press, wise people or suspicious civil society.
Unfortunately, they both share a self-centered vision that will be difficult to overcome.
The views expressed here are solely those of the author.