SAN ANTONIO – “Felicitaciones” or congratulations from Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to President-elect Joe Biden are on hold.
AMLO, as he’s known in Mexico, said in a news conference that he was being respectful.
“We cannot meddle in the politics of other countries,” he said.
But Betsy Smith, chair of the political science department at St. Mary’s University, said the reason was likely personal.
Smith said AMLO lost his two previous presidential bids by narrow margins.
“And both times, AMLO said, ‘We want a recount. We’re claiming that this is fraud. We do not recognize the legitimacy of these elections.’” Smith said.
Much like President Donald Trump is doing now, she said.
After one election, Smith said not only did AMLO declare himself the winner, he even staged his own inauguration.
She said even so, his claims in 2006 were disproven and “there was no clear evidence of systemic fraud that would have changed the outcome of the election.”
Despite Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and unfulfilled campaign promise Mexico would pay for the border wall, Smith said a close relationship developed between AMLO and Trump, “who are populists, who are nationalists, who are critics of the media, who use the term fake news.”
Smith said she doesn’t think President-elect Biden should hold the Mexican president’s diplomatic snub against him.
If anything, Smith believes Lopez Obrador being the pragmatist that he is, will realize “a Biden administration will help AMLO domestically.”
She said more than 40,000 asylum seekers overwhelming Mexican border communities, could finally be able to enter the U.S. if Biden does away with the previous “Stay in Mexico” mandate.
Smith said not only that, “Mexico might need assistance or a loan or further funding for the war on drugs from the United States.”