MEXICO CITY (AP) – Leaders around the world had two notable gripes to congratulate Joe Biden on his victory in the US elections: the leaders of two of Latin America’s largest countries, both seen to be friendly to President Donald Trump. .
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, sometimes dubbed “Trump of the Tropics” for his populist, off-the-cuff style, has kept silence over Trump’s loss. And Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obredor refused to congratulate Biden on this point, saying he would wait until the legal challenges on the vote were resolved.
Trump and the two Latin leaders are united by some surface similarities: they prefer to wear masks during the coronovirus epidemic, and all three can be loosely described as populist and nationalistic. But the intentions of the two Latin leaders may be different.
Bolsonaro and his son – who plays a role on the political landscape to Trump’s children – seem actively uncomfortable with the outcome of the American race. Bolsonaro, who previously hoped for Trump’s reelection and whose son wore a “Trump 2020” hat with the logo, has largely kept silence this week, but his sons have not done so.
Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro posted photos on social media saying how Biden’s votes were growing so quickly when Trump was not. The young Bolsonaro questioned the network’s decision to stay away from Trump’s speech on Wednesday, accusing him of vote fraud, calling it an attack on the freedom to speak.
A senior Brazilian embassy official in the United States, who cannot identify himself with fear of rehearsals, said Brazilian officials fear loose talk by Bolsonaro or his sons could destabilize relations between countries .
Officials in the Presidency’s office, who were not authorized to speak on record, said Bolsonaro has been adopting a more pragmatic tone at least since Wednesday, following the guidance of his advisors.
At the beginning of the week, some of the more ideological elements in Bolsonaro’s office believed in Trump’s victory, but since then, diplomatic staff have made contact with Biden’s campaign.
Lopez Obredor’s cordial relationship with Trump, meanwhile, was often seen as unusual for a left-leaning politician, but had a work base.
Partly, this is political realism: In 2019, Trump threatened to impose crippling tariffs on Mexican products until Lupéz Obredor mimicked Central American immigrants, who crossed the border of Mexico and reached the US border. Mexico complied, circled the migrants and sent them back to their home countries.
But there were also moments of genuine friendship between the two. On Saturday, López Obredor was one of the few world leaders who were still ready to praise Trump.
“President Trump has been very respectful to us, and we have reached very good agreements, and we thank him because he has not interfered and respected us,” Lopez Obrador said.
And López Obredor sparked many outrage at home and in the US Democratic Party when he made his first – and yet only – visit for the summer as president abroad to celebrate the implementation of the new US-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement with Trump Met to celebrate. , Which both leaders saw as fixing problems with the old North American Free Trade Agreement of the 1990s.
Lopez Obredor did not meet with Biden or his campaign team during that visit, and the wounds are still apparently there, even though the Mexican president said he knew Biden and had “very good relations” with him.
Rape Joaquin Castro, a member of the Democratic Congress of the 20th District of Texas, wrote in Spanish on his Twitter account that the reluctance to congratulate Biden “represents a true diplomatic failure on behalf of Andrés Manuel Shope Objor, a moment in which The Biden administration wants to usher in a new era of friendship and cooperation with Mexico. “
Representative Jesús García, a Democrat from Illinois 4 district, wrote in the same vein as Lopez Obredor that “American voters have spoken and Joe Biden is our presidential election. He won fair and square. Don’t miss the boat.”
Democrats are unlikely to be as vengeful to Mexico as the Trump administration once appeared with attention to threats of building a border wall and punishing tariffs. But a Biden administration that only quietly pressured Mexico to limit migrant crossings could leave Lopez Obredor in a more uncomfortable position.
Mexico was able to easily break down on migrant caravans in 2019 and 2020 because the US open pressure on being at home is quite understandable; But asking Mexico to do so without open threats would be politically more expensive for Lopez Obrador.
The Mexican president may fear reprimand shortly after Trump leaves office, but his failure to patch up any hurt feelings with the Biden team is already exposing Lopez Obredor to criticism at home.
The newspaper El Universal said in an editorial Sunday, “(Mexican singer) Juan Gabriel was quoted as saying, ‘What would you gain?” “Donald Trump will be President for two more months, but Joe Biden will be President for four more years!” And we have already left this relationship at the wrong turn.
Former US Ambassador to Mexico Antonio Garza disagreed.
“It seems a bit clumsy, and probably missed an early opportunity. But on the inauguration day (it) will hardly matter, ”he said.
Garza, now an attorney at the White & Case law firm in Mexico City, wrote that he is “confident that the Biden administration will be committed to solid relationships with America’s neighbors, and that it will help both Canada and Mexico with business, immigration and The importance of security will be on cooperatively addressing those issues. ”
“Look,” he said, “there are many other hot spots in the world for our next president who are sweating for this wrong trip.”
Associated Press writer Mark Stevenson reported the story in Mexico City and AP author Deborah Alvares from Brazil.