AMLO Blasts U.S. Support for Mexico NGOs Before Call With VP
(Bloomberg) -- Two hours before his call with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador lambasted the U.S. for funneling money to non-profits that have published critical statements about his government.
“You cannot receive money from another country for political purposes. It’s treason of your country,” said AMLO, as the president is known, at his daily press briefing on Friday. “It’s interference, interventionism, and in favor of a coup.”
Lopez Obrador and Harris held a virtual meeting Friday to discuss joint measures to impede migration primarily from the Central American countries south of Mexico. Both countries agreed to establish a “strategic partnership” to address the root causes of migration, Harris said in a statement after the call.
The U.S.-Mexico talks are intended to focus on strategies to distribute aid to the region so that people don’t leave.
“Through this joint initiative, the United States and Mexico will leverage their expertise and resources to tackle a range of challenges, including lack of employment, limited market access, and deforestation and regional instability caused by climate change,” the White House said in a statement.
Harris, appointed by President Joe Biden to be the main U.S. negotiator on international immigration efforts, is heading to Guatemala and Mexico on June 7 and 8. Her government has proposed $4 billion for its plan.
Lopez Obrador said before the call that though he did not intend to discuss U.S. funding to non-governmental organizations with Harris, he considered the money flow partisan and called for it to end.
Mexico’s Foreign Ministry sent a diplomatic letter to the U.S. asking it to freeze the dollars it gives to the investigative news website Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity. AMLO also decried U.S. funding for the press-freedom group Article 19, which has a chapter in Mexico, saying it has also criticized his government.
Lopez Obrador characterized the U.S.’s support of Mexicans Against Corruption, an NGO with the stated intention of improving the rule of law and fighting corruption in Mexico, as creating the conditions for insurrection. Lopez Obrador alleged the founder of the organization belongs to the political opposition.
“The conditions for a coup are created with the help of foreign governments and news sites,” AMLO said.
‘Differences Among Us’
His meeting with Harris was briefly opened to U.S. press, who watched as the two leaders exchanged pleasantries.
“Our approach is to work with international institutions, to work with nations worldwide, the private sector and community organizations,” Harris told AMLO.
“There have been differences among us, however we have a common border,” AMLO said through a translator. “We need to understand one another and avoid fighting.”
He assured Harris that “we will help” on migration. “You can count on us,” he added.
He said he had brought a “specific proposal” for the meeting but did not elaborate in front of reporters. AMLO has said he would seek U.S. support for his flagship environmental program, a reforestation effort costing more than $3 billion called Sembrando Vida, or Sowing Life.
A Bloomberg News report showed the program has instead encouraged deforestation in Mexico as farmers clear forest to plant fruit trees in exchange for government payments. AMLO has denied the initiative has led to widespread deforestation.
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