The Mexican president is expected to congratulate the president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden, next week on his victory, once it is certified, three officials told ., after weeks of waiting that have upset the allies of the American leader incoming. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is among a handful of world leaders who have yet to acknowledge Biden’s electoral triumph over Republican Donald Trump, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro.
MiamiMundo / .
López Obrador aims to send Biden his congratulations the day after the United States Electoral College votes on December 14 to certify the election, government sources said.
Historically, voting has been a formality. It took on broader significance this year, after Trump and his lawyers have tried to overturn Biden’s victory with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.
The judges dismissed such accusations time and again due to lack of evidence.
Biden, the former Democratic vice president and longtime senator, will be formally installed as president on January 20.
Roberto Velasco, director general for North America, traveled to Washington last week where he held meetings aimed at moving forward with Biden’s Democratic allies, according to two other sources with knowledge of the visit.
Velasco did not hold formal meetings with Biden’s transition officials, one of the sources said. A Democratic congressional adviser confirmed that he had met with the Mexican diplomat.
Among the main bilateral issues for Mexico in its relationship with the new Democratic administration will be immigration, trade and the environment, said one of the sources.
López Obrador’s office and the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Relations did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Velasco’s plans or visit.
In a newspaper column referring to the visit, published Tuesday, Velasco wrote that he met with advisers to the Senate and House of Representatives in the foreign relations committees. He didn’t mention the transition, or Biden.
Since taking power two years ago, López Obrador has sought to build a constructive relationship with Trump, who angered many in Mexico during his 2015-2016 presidential campaign by labeling Mexican migrants as rapists and drug traffickers.
As president, the leftist Mexican politician has struggled to avoid confrontation with Trump, in stark contrast to when he was part of the opposition and compared US immigration policies to Adolf Hitler’s treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany.
Last year, Trump threatened to slap tariffs on all Mexican exports to his main trading partner if López Obrador did not do more to stem the flow of migrants, mostly Central American, heading to the US border.
In response, Mexico deployed tens of thousands of National Guard elements to its northern and southern borders. Since then, political tensions and migrant crossings have lessened.
Mexican officials say the president has refrained from acknowledging Biden’s victory amid Trump’s fraud allegations to avoid provoking the outgoing US president.
Friction has increased between the two countries in recent weeks after the October arrest and subsequent release of former Mexican Defense Secretary Salvador Cienfuegos.
In a retaliatory move that could be an early test for diplomacy under Biden, López Obrador sent a bill to Congress aimed at tightening the rules for how foreign agents, such as those of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration ( DEA), operate in Mexico.