It is a sign that Biden is seeking to re-establish relations with the Mexican leader, who has developed a close personal relationship with former President Donald Trump, sources familiar with the content of the appeal told CNN.
In the months following Biden’s election victory, Lopez Obrador, known in Mexico as AMLO, challenged his new counterpart to discuss his relationship with Trump and make controversial political decisions related to security. It will take a huge personal commitment on both sides to achieve a positive relationship between Biden and Lopez Obrador, say people who are closely following the relationship.
“I think the administration, and President Biden in particular, believe in leaving the past. He wants to build a constructive relationship in the future,”
In contrast, the testimony from the phone call last week seemed soft and friendly. This was Biden’s second call with a world leader after his conversation with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The White House said the two leaders had focused heavily on migration – agreeing to “work closely” to stop illegal immigration – and on coordinating the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s a signal that the connection can begin to move in the right direction with this phone call. It’s a vital connection for both sides and it’s important to stabilize the connection,” said Bill Richardson, a former governor of New Mexico.
But there is more than rhetoric that needs to be corrected. Substance and style are also expected to be obstacles.
Lopez Obrador took action that emphasized relations with the United States before Biden took office.
“Shot over the nose”
“It was a shot in the nose,” Saruhan said, adding that AMLO also recently said it was considering taking action against the United States for allegedly fabricating information in the Cienfuegos investigation. “Now, are you trying to use this as a negotiating point with the incoming Biden administration, or do you just not understand how the relationship works?” This is the question I could not answer. Like so many things in life can be a combination of both. “
Aspects of the security of the connection and the future of Trump’s border wall did not appear in the initial conversation between the two, according to testimony and sources familiar with the appeal, who added that it was unclear when the more difficult issues would be addressed. But they all agree that these problems cannot be avoided.
“The general concern is that the incredibly necessary and strategic relationship between intelligence, security and law enforcement between the two countries must be on a secure footing,” Saruhan said. “I think the administration needs to send this message clearly that after 9/11, it’s not just about drugs, but much more from the point of view of common security documents.”
But synchronizing the two leaders on all issues can be a challenge.
Biden, who is known for being able to establish close personal relationships with world leaders, will be tasked with developing a personal relationship with Lopez Obrador, whose leadership style does not reflect his.
Wrinkling will be required
“You build the relationship because it’s so important. Biden is a very good personal politician, as is Lopez Obrador. They’re good guys,” said Richardson, who also added that “there will be differences.”
The two leaders do not share the same bombastic and transactional style of governing, and Lopez Obrador is a populist who has built a political brand on his own cult of personality, prompting him to ally himself with Trump.
And even a pandemic is an area where the two leaders will be challenged to see face to face. The two leaders have taken a contrasting approach to the crisis that is devastating both nations. Biden was very clear about the need to wear masks and maintain social distance, while Lopez Obrador ignored the virus and traveled across the country during the pandemic, often without wearing a mask.