Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, second from the left, and Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, next to him, in Mexico on Sept. 16. Photo: Google

By KELIN DILLON

On Wednesday, Sept. 15, the eve of the anniversary of Mexico’s 1810 Independence, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) gave his “grito” to the nation from the balcony of the National Palace in the Historic Center of Mexico City, albeit scaled back due to covid-19 social distancing regulations.

Rather than having a large crowd gather at the Zócalo, the downtown square remained empty for the second year in a row, with the event only being attended by a list of specifically invited attendees, including new U.S Ambassador Ken Salazar and Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel.

Thursday, Sept. 16, saw the traditional military parade held in the capital’s Plaza de la Constitución, featuring 15,000 members of the Armed Forces.

While the Sept. 16 event historically has gone without speeches, a total of three were given this year, including one controversially made by Díaz-Canel, where he thanked López Obrador for Mexico’s support of his own administration in Cuba.

For his part, AMLO took his speech as an opportunity to publicly request that the United States lift its blockade on Cuba, raising eyebrows from other attendees and members of his cabinet.

“The government that I represent respectfully calls on the United States government to lift the blockade against Cuba,” said López Obrador. “No state has the right to subdue another people or another country.”

 

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