Mexican president in Washington for USMCA summit

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) will visit US President Donald Trump in Washington today to celebrate the commencement

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Photos: REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) will visit US President Donald Trump in Washington today to celebrate the commencement of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and discuss diplomatic relations.

The visit arrives between the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and the looming US presidential elections in November. It also marks the first time that AMLO has travelled abroad during his 19 months in office. The visit’s high profile nature has led many to criticise the move as reckless and potentially humiliating for the Mexican president, given the consistent derogatory anti-Mexico rhetoric espoused by Trump since 2016.

The meeting will likely be politically leveraged by the opposition in both countries. With a predicted 2020 GDP contraction of 10.5%, AMLO’s popularity has been waning for weeks. His decision to sideline the Democratic Party and migrant rights groups during today’s visit has exposed his rightward ideological concession to ensure the survival of the USMCA, which is imperative to the revitalisation of Mexico’s economy. Originally a leftist champion, AMLO’s acquiescence to Trump’s Migration Protection Protocols has eroded the trust of the electorate and boosted the opposition’s prospects. The optics of the visit will likely reflect an American politicisation of US-Mexico relations as well, intended to restore confidence in Trump in the run-up to November and divert attention away from his mismanagement of the pandemic.

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