Mexico’s Policy Towards Nicaragua: There Lies the Detail!

How is it that the Mexican government can assume a leadership position in a Latin America where governments have clashing political goals?

How is it that the Mexican government can assume a leadership position in a Latin America where governments have clashing political goals?

25 de enero 2019


The statements from high-level representatives of the current Mexican government announcing their willingness to serve as mediators in the Nicaraguan crisis, provoked a broad and serious debate, as well as concerns and some aggravation.

Maximiliano Reyes, Under-Secretary of Foreign Relations with Latin America and the Caribbean, spoke about Mexico’s foreign policy goals when he addressed the Mexican senate.

I analyzed Reyes’ statements as a starting point to understand what we can expect from the current Mexican administration.

The Under-Secretary stated: “Mexican diplomacy will play a decisive role in Latin America and the Caribbean. Mexico should be a leader in the region and we are ready to assume this responsibility.”

Without a doubt, this is a laudable proposal. However, a few questions remain floating in the atmosphere:

How can the Mexican government assume a leadership position in a Latin America where governments have clashing political goals?

How can Mexico assert its leadership while leaving its fellow members in the Lima blowing in the wind, by refusing to sign the declaration regarding the government of Venezuela?

How does Mexico plan to assert its leadership after giving the boot to its partners in the OAS’ working group on Nicaragua, and announcing unilaterally that it is ready to act as a mediator?

Reyes also asserted that the governing principle of Mexican foreign policy will be “non-intervention in the internal affairs of States.” If this is the case, how can Mexico offer to mediate a crisis if no one has asked Mexico to do it? Isn’t this an act of intervention?

Reyes added: “…we will be paying attention to the impact that the political crisis in Nicaragua could have on our fellow citizens or Mexican companies in that country. Mexico is the second most important investor in Nicaragua, after the United States, and there are 47 Mexican companies creating jobs in that country.”

This statement is very consistent with the crude realities of foreign policy: States don’t have friends; they have interests. However, it is well-known that some of these Mexican companies are operating with the sponsorship or in partnership with the ruling clique. And that’s where the doubt creeps in. Does the Mexican government know this? If it does not know, it’s high time Mexico discovered it. And if the Mexican government does know it and is still proclaiming these intentions, then we know exactly what to expect.

Finally, the Under-Secretary for Human Rights of the Mexican Foreign Ministry declared: “we are determined to defend human rights at all levels.” Very well. In the case of Nicaragua, the United Nations Office for Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IAHCR), Amnesty International and the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts have all confirmed that the Ortega regime has committed crimes against humanity.

Somebody has some explaining to do: How can Mexico proclaim to defend and promote human rights while ignoring the reports of these entities officially recognized by the Mexican government?

In conclusion, Ortega has shown no interest in dialogue and continues to cling to power by any bloody means necessary. Given this situation and given that the Mexican government is trying to appear obliging towards him, we have two options:

– We can assume that the Mexican government is acting in good faith: Will Lopez Obrador risk being accused of being a coup-backer when he does not bow to Ortega’s orders? This has already happened with the Catholic bishops, with Luis Almagro, the IAHCR, with the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the Permanent Council of the OAS.

– We can assume that he is acting out of political convenience. Will Obrador risk his goal of becoming a continental leader by acting as an accomplice to a government accused of committing crimes against humanity?

What can we expect from such a contradictory situation?

Perhaps that unforgettable scene from the Cantiflas movie “There lies the detail,” can help to guide us: “…Esteemed Judge, it’s not one, nor the other, but exactly the opposite…”

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Enrique Sáenz

Economista y abogado nicaragüense. Aficionado a la historia. Bloguero y conductor de la plataforma de comunicación #VamosAlPunto


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