By RICARDO CASTILLO
Mexico’s diplomatic corps is currently holding its 30th Meeting of Ambassadors and Consuls in Mexico City. A total of 105 working diplomats will have their top moment on Wednesday, Jan. 9, when they meet with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) at the National Palace where he will outline the diplomatic course for the nation over the next six years.
The meeting comes just days after Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard had to tell members of the anti-Venezuelan-President-Nicolás-Maduro Lima Group that Mexico was not signing the document in which the other 13 group members who previously voted to sign the declaration denying Maduro official recognition did not recognize the legality of Maduro’s new term in office.
On this issue, AMLO said that he’s abiding by Article 89 of the Mexican Constitution, which defines how a president is to conduct the nation’s foreign relations. The president added that this includes the self-determination of nations and peaceful resolution to all controversies. Not interfering in the internal affairs is a crucial part of Mexico’s new foreign policy.
Secretary Marcelo Ebrard sent proxy and Foreign Relations (SRE) Undersecretary for Latin America Maximiliano Reyes to Lima, Peru, to deliver the message that Mexico would continue to be a member of the Group of Lima, but that it would not sign the 13-nation condemnation of Nicolás Maduro, which specifically says “the group of chancellors do not recognize the legitimacy of the Nicolás Maduro presidential period that will begin on January 10, 2019.”
AMLO already explained — and he’ll probably say it again to the gathered ambassadors and consuls — that Mexico’s foreign policy is recognized the worldover for maintaining the Article 89 principles, even if “they were abandoned for some time to back up decisions made in other latitudes and for different causes.”
The decision came under a barrage of criticism from minority opposition groups National Action Party (PAN) and Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) members, who had previously fully backed the purpose of the formation of the Group of Lima, which was to oppose Maduro’s “illegal” reelection bid for the presidency of Venezuela.
AMLO admitted during a press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 8, that this is a polemical issue, but said that Mexico’s new posture is not a matter of sympathizing with a particular government, but rather one that has to do with the nation’s foreign policy, which has always yielded results and for which Mexico “has been recognized.”
The Lima Group nations showed disappointment with the new posture of the Mexican government and opposition to Maduro in Venezuela. The group has made special appeals to have President AMLO reconsider Mexico’s new policy, but instead, as an answer, AMLO has said that a representative of the Mexican government – definitely not Secretary Ebrard – will attend Maduro’s swearing in ceremony.