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Mexico chief criticizes U.S. earlier than Kamala Harris assembly


Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador sharply criticized U.S. help to a bunch in his nation hours earlier than he met just about on Friday with Vice President Kamala Harris, underscoring the issue of her mission to get his assist with immigration points.

López Obrador singled out America’s funding for a non-governmental group in Mexico that fights corruption and often criticizes his administration, reflecting his broader marketing campaign towards voices of opposition, together with political dissidents and journalists.

But the Biden administration is counting on impartial anti-corruption and humanitarian teams as a part of a wider technique in Mexico and Central America to rebuild civil society and deal with poverty and violence, which they consider will assist discourage kids and households from making the damaging journey north from Central America — by Mexico — to america.

By criticizing the American help earlier than his assembly with Harris, López Obrador risked embarrassing her at a high-profile second — their first one-on-one assembly, if a digital one, in her function as President Biden’s diplomatic emissary on the migration concern — and disrupting the Biden administration technique only a month earlier than her first journey to Latin America, particularly to Mexico and Guatemala.

Harris’ workplace didn’t touch upon the late wrinkle and whether or not it could change her technique. The 2 leaders smiled and exchanged cordial remarks throughout the opening of their assembly earlier than reporters have been ushered out, with Harris emphasizing their nations’ shared values of dignity, respect and the household bonds.

“This partnership, I consider, couldn’t be extra necessary right now. Our nations face critical challenges,” Harris mentioned, citing the COVID-19 pandemic, its financial repercussions and the latest surge of Central American migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We should battle violence. We should battle corruption and impunity,” she mentioned. Harris mentioned it was within the two nations’ mutual curiosity to enhance situations in Central America and convey different nations past the Americas to hitch the trouble, so that folks is not going to need to depart their homelands.

López Obrador was conciliatory in his public remarks to Harris. “We’ve got so many issues in frequent,” he mentioned, “and we’re in settlement in the case of the insurance policies that you’re endeavor in the case of migration, and we’ll assist.”

He famous that relations between the 2 nations had a lot improved since his most up-to-date assembly with Biden, when Biden was vice chairman. López Obrador mentioned he had particular proposals however would “depart that for later,” hinting maybe that he may make extra provocative feedback when reporters left the room.

In an announcement following the assembly, Harris mentioned the 2 nations had agreed to share info to fight migrant smuggling and human trafficking, and to “carry collectively regulation enforcement from each nations to dismantle legal networks” whereas defending human rights.

Her assertion mentioned america is dedicated to financial improvement initiatives within the area that shield the proper of employees to prepare unions, reflecting the change in emphasis from the Trump administration, which seldom weighed in on human rights and employee points in diplomatic relations.

In a tweet, López Obrador mentioned the 2 leaders spoke “in pleasant phrases.” He wrote, “We’re dedicated to working collectively to seek out environment friendly, humane and simply actions [to deal with] the migration phenomenon.”

Earlier, in his day by day information convention, López Obrador introduced that his authorities had despatched a diplomatic protest observe to the U.S. authorities “asking for a proof” of the U.S. help that goes to Mexicanos Contra la Corrupcion, an anti-corruption group.

“That is deplorable {that a} group against our authorities, that was devoted to blocking all the general public works we have been finishing up … be given this financing by a international authorities,” López Obrador mentioned.

He sought to painting the U.S. contribution as underhanded. Nevertheless, such financing to civil society teams is a typical a part of the work of the U.S. Company for Worldwide Improvement.

The anti-corruption group has denounced quite a few initiatives and points in Mexico, together with the federal government’s troubled dealing with of the COVID-19 pandemic and the allegedly shoddy building of a subway line that collapsed on Monday, killing greater than 20 individuals.

Andrew Selee, the president of the nonpartisan Migration Coverage Institute in Washington, mentioned Mexico’s chief was “attempting to distract from a home disaster of the subway that collapsed, in addition to attempting to have some leverage in negotiations” with Harris.

López Obrador’s disdain for anti-corruption teams echoes complaints from anti-democratic leaders in Turkey, India and elsewhere, Selee mentioned, including, “It’s form of the playbook of leaders who’re uncomfortable with civil society.”

Harris’ assembly with López Obrador was her second in two weeks with the top of a Latin American nation. She met just about final week with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, promising $310 million in further help to the nation, half of a bigger effort to extend humanitarian help and assist rebuild civil society within the so-called Northern Triangle nations, which embrace Honduras and El Salvador.

She introduced Wednesday that she would go to Mexico and Guatemala on June 7 and eight, her first international journey as vice chairman and her most vital gesture since Biden tapped her in March to supervise the diplomatic response to an inflow of Central American migrants on the southern border. Harris spoke by cellphone with López Obrador final month.

Her project, which the administration defines as addressing the foundation causes of migration within the area, reminiscent of poverty, violence and corruption, is her most high-profile solo job and carries important home political implications.

Republicans have been hammering the administration over immigration, a problem for which Biden’s ballot numbers are considerably weaker than for his dealing with of the pandemic and the financial system. As Harris visited Wisconsin on Tuesday to promote the administration’s legislative agenda, Republican leaders within the state mentioned she ought to have as an alternative gone to the border. Administration officers, nonetheless, say that isn’t a part of Harris’ purview.

The administration sees authorities corruption, gangs and drug cartels as main obstacles to rebuilding civil society, discouraging migration north and distributing humanitarian help {dollars} in Central America, particularly in El Salvador and Honduras. Notably, Harris has no identified plans to satisfy with the leaders of these two nations.

In a speech Tuesday, Harris denounced El Salvador’s authorities, which moved over the weekend to dismiss 5 judges on the nation’s Constitutional Court docket, a vote seen by American and different international critics as an influence seize by President Nayib Bukele.

“An impartial judiciary is vital to a wholesome democracy and a powerful financial system,” Harris mentioned in the speech from the White Home to the Digital Washington Convention on the Americas. “On this entrance, on each entrance, we should reply.”

Requested on Wednesday about these feedback, Harris mentioned that she is “making an allowance for the challenges which have lengthy existed, and live on, round corruption within the area and the challenges that that creates when it comes to a return on the funding.”



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