President López Obrador has finally congratulated Joe Biden on his win in last month’s United States presidential election after the U.S. Electoral College affirmed the former vice president’s victory.
“I write this text to congratulate you for the triumph the people bestowed on you and which has been confirmed by the electoral authorities of the United States of America,” López Obrador wrote in a two-page letter to the president-elect that was dated December 14 but not released until Tuesday.
Unlike the vast majority of world leaders, AMLO, as the president is best known, decided not to congratulate Biden after the U.S. media called the race for him days after the election was held.
Speaking four days after the November 4 election, López Obrador said that he would wait until U.S. President Donald Trump’s legal challenges were resolved before offering his congratulations to the successful candidate, explaining that he didn’t want to be “imprudent.”
Along with Vladimir Putin of Russia, Xi Jinping of China and Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, AMLO was among a small group of leaders who didn’t immediately congratulate Biden after the media declared his victory.
Some analysts said López Obrador’s objective was not to offend Trump, with whom he has maintained a friendly relationship, given that the U.S. president still had time to enact policies that could hurt Mexico. AMLO’s own experience in challenging the results of presidential elections he lost (2006 and 2012) was also seen as a factor in his decision to wait.
The president rejected any suggestion there could be future reprisals against Mexico for delaying his congratulatory remarks.
In his letter to Biden, López Obrador noted that they first met nine years ago, recalling he had told him personally and in writing about his aspiration to transform Mexico and eradicate political corruption, which he described as “the main cause of the painful inequality and violence we suffer.”
AMLO wrote that Mexico and the United States are linked by their proximity to each other and that “our people are united by history, the economy and culture.”
“The leaders must thus strive to maintain good bilateral relations based on collaboration, friendship and respect for our sovereignty,” he wrote.
But there was also what could be construed as a subtle warning.
“We are certain that with you as president of the United States it will be possible to continue applying the basic principles of foreign policy established in our constitution, especially that of non-intervention and [the right] to people’s self-determination,” López Obrador wrote.
AMLO thanked Biden for his “position in favor of the migrants from Mexico and the world,” expressing confidence that the incoming U.S. president will support the continuation of the development plan for southeastern Mexico and Central American nations.
“In this way, I believe that nobody will be forced to abandon their place of origin and will be able to live, work and be happy with their family among their people and culture,” he wrote.
“In that way we will manage to build the definitive solution to migratory flows from and through Mexico to the United States. I hope that soon, Mr. Biden, the opportunity presents itself to speak about this and other issues,” López Obrador said before signing off his letter to the president-elect with “warm regards.”
AMLO has managed to maintain a largely friendly relationship with Trump despite the U.S. president’s occasionally aggressive rhetoric toward Mexico.
The pair met in July at the White House, where López Obrador said that Trump has treated Mexico with respect since he took office in late 2018.
Trump declared that he had an “outstanding” relationship with AMLO and, in an apparent reference to the Mexican government’s deployment of the National Guard to block migrants’ path to the United States, thanked him for stopping the flow of asylum seekers to the two countries’ shared border.
Mexico News Daily