Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday he would like to disband the army and put national security in the hands of the new National Guard militarised police force, though he recognised the proposal was unlikely to happen. In an interview with Mexican newspaper La Jornada, the leftist president said he favoured guaranteeing the nation’s security through the National Guard, which he formally inaugurated on Sunday. “If were up to me, I would get rid of the army and turn it into the National Guard, declare that Mexico is a pacifist country that does not need a military and that the defence of the nation, if necessary, would be done by all,” Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said. Only a few countries in the world have abolished standing armies, among them the Latin American nations of Costa Rica and Panama. Mexico’s army has traditionally kept on the sidelines of international conflict, but has been deployed to tackle drug gangs since 2007. Lopez Obrador recognised the political challenges to eliminating the military, adding: “I can’t do it because there is resistance. One thing is what is desirable and another thing is what is possible.” The creation of the National Guard, which launched with 70,000 members and which Lopez Obrador intends to grow to 150,000 units across Mexico, has raised concerns about the militarization of law enforcement in Mexico. Lopez Obrador has already tapped the force, which was created by a constitutional change, to patrol the country’s northern and southern borders
Three days after U.S. President Donald Trump announced a deal with Mexico to stem the flow of migrants at the southern border, the two countries appear unable to agree on exactly what’s in it. Stung by criticism that the agreement mostly ramps up border protection efforts already underway, Trump on Monday hinted at other, secret agreements he says will soon be revealed. “We have fully signed and documented another very important part of the Immigration and Security deal with Mexico, one that the U.S. has been asking about getting for many years,” Trump wrote Monday, saying it would “be revealed in the not too distant future.” Not so, said Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, holding up a paper and pointing to the previously announced details. He told reporters the two countries agreed on two actions made public Friday and said if those measures didn’t work to slow migration, they would discuss further options. “There is no other thing beyond what I have just explained,” he said. The episode revealed the complicated political dynamics at play as Trump and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador tussle over who made out best in the agreement hashed out under Trump’s threat of new tariffs on Mexico. Trump appeared eager to declare his negotiation tactics successful, even as he tried to hype the deal with made-for-TV drama and invented measures, sparking questions and confusion. Mexico’s leaders showed they weren’t willing to play along. The White House did not respond to inquiries about Trump’s tweets.
President Donald Trump announced late Friday that he had suspended plans to impose tariffs on Mexico, tweeting that the country “has agreed to take strong measures” to stem the flow of Central American migrants into the United States. But the deal the two neighbors agreed to falls short of some of the dramatic overhauls the U.S. had pushed for. A “U.S.-Mexico Joint Declaration” released by the State Department said the U.S. “will immediately expand the implementation” of a program that returns asylum-seekers who cross the southern border to Mexico while their claims are adjudicated. Mexico will “offer jobs, healthcare and education” to those people, the agreement stated. Mexico has also agreed, it said, to take “unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration,” including the deployment of the Mexican National Guard throughout the country, especially on its southern border with Guatemala. And Mexico is taking “decisive action to dismantle human smuggling and trafficking organizations as well as their illicit financial and transportation networks,” the State Department said. The move puts to an end — for now — a threat that had sparked dire warnings from members of Trump’s own party, who warned the tariffs would damage the economy, drive up prices for consumers and imperil an updated North American trade pact. Trump’s Friday night tweet marked a sharp reversal from earlier in the day, when his spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters: “Our position has not changed. The tariffs are going forward as of Monday.” Mexican President Andrés Manuel López
Mexico’s president said on Friday (May 31) he would respond with “great prudence” to threats by his US counterpart Donald Trump to impose tariffs on Mexican goods entering the United States, and called on Mexicans to unite to face the challenge. Mr Trump says he will introduce punitive tariffs on June 10 if Mexico does not halt the flow of illegal immigration from Central America to the United States, battering Mexican financial assets and hurting stocks worldwide. It is the biggest foreign policy test to date for President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who during his six months in power has consistently sought to deflect Mr Trump’s barbs and avoid embroiling himself in confrontations. Mr Lopez Obrador predicted the Trump administration would rectify the tariff threat and said that Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard would be in Washington working to convince the US government that Mr Trump’s measures were in neither country’s interest, and that Mexico was making progress containing migration. Mr Trump said on Thursday he would ratchet up tariffs unless Mexico stopped people from illegally crossing the border it shares with the United States. The plan would impose a 5 per cent tariff on Mexican imports starting on June 10 and increase monthly, up to 25 per cent on Oct 1. Speaking at his regular morning news conference, Mr Lopez Obrador said he believed Mr Trump would understand that the tariff threat was not the way to resolve the matter, and stressed that Mexicans had united behind his government. “I
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was born on 13 November 1953 to a family of modest means in the southeastern state of Tabasco. Lopez Obrador worked for the state’s indigenous affairs bureau in the 1970s. As a boy in the state of Tabasco, he played center field on the local baseball team and sold imported U.S. clothes at his father’s store. It was the 1960s, and some of his friends thought López Obrador might join Mexico’s burgeoning business community.
In his early 20s, López Obrador took a job working with an indigenous group called the Chontal Maya, some of Mexico’s poorest people, who happened to be sitting atop billions of dollars in untapped petroleum. The unfairness enraged him. He lived in a dirt-floor shack and slept on a hammock with his young wife. He cultivated a group of activists, poets and disaffected oilmen, meeting late in the night.