News Latin America The cancellation of the Pacific Alliance summit favors bilateral dialogues

The cancellation of the Pacific Alliance summit favors bilateral dialogues

The cancellation of the Pacific Alliance summit has been fruitful for the region’s bilateral dialogues. After President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador asked to postpone the event that was scheduled for this week because the Peruvian Congress had denied Pedro Castillo a trip, the leaders of Chile, Ecuador and Colombia chose to maintain their agenda in Mexico. Gabriel Boric arrived on Tuesday night and had two intense days of activities, one of them largely dedicated to meetings with Lopez Obrador and his team. Guillermo Lasso visited the tenant of the National Palace this Thursday, with whom he had a private conversation about the bilateral relationship. Gustavo Petro, for his part, has also arrived this Thursday in Mexico City, where he will participate in the talks for Venezuela and will meet with the Mexican president, with whom he will discuss, among other things, the immigration situation and the deportations of Colombians from Mexico.

Short, but intense. This is how Boric described his tour of Mexico. On his first day in the country, the Chilean president visited the National Palace, where he held a private meeting with Lopez Obrador and the two first ladies. At that meeting they closed agreements on education, international cooperation, economy and environment, as they explained. Boric also met with dozens of Mexican and Chilean businessmen, at a breakfast in which he promoted foreign investment in Chile. This Thursday, the president visited a school in the Coyoacan mayor’s office in the morning and in the afternoon he visited the Senate and the capital’s head of government, Claudia Sheinbaum.

The details of the agreements reached between the two governments were explained in a joint statement published this Wednesday. In educational matters, the authorities of both countries should establish this year a working group to facilitate the recognition of the academic titles granted by the other. In international cooperation, they agreed to “deepen efforts as a region to achieve sustainable development and environmental protection.” In economy, support bilateral trade and organize a visit by Mexican businessmen to Chile. Lopez Obrador also accepted the invitation to the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the coup against Salvador Allende, to be held the following year in Chile, which would represent one of the few trips the Mexican president made abroad during his term.

And in the multilateral sphere, the governments of Boric and Lopez Obrador have promised to maintain “their willingness to positively assess their respective candidacies for international organizations.” This point of agreement comes after the fight for the presidency of the Inter-American Development Bank, in which Chile, Argentina and Mexico failed to agree and all have a common candidate, and lost the election against the Brazilian Ilan Goldfajn, supported by USA. In a joint press conference, the Chilean president admitted that if he had had a “deeper dialogue”, the result would have been different.

Boric was joined this Thursday by Lasso’s visit, his third to Mexico so far in office. The Ecuadorian president met with Lopez Obrador to discuss the economic and commercial relationship between the two countries, and to deepen bilateral cooperation, according to what both Executives published in a statement. One of the important points of that dialogue was focused on “the challenges of security at the regional level.” Ecuador is currently facing a problem with narcos, who are fighting over control of land, and the gangs are widely linked to Mexican drug cartels. To attend to this, the leaders promised to “share information and exchange experiences in the fight against organized crime.”

Ecuador and Mexico are also negotiating a trade agreement, key to the entry of the former into the Pacific Alliance. According to the statement, both Administrations “instructed their negotiating teams to have, within a week, a benefit proposal for the two countries on issues related to bananas and shrimp, which allows the proper closing of the negotiation.” Before boarding the plane, Lasso told the press that he hoped that his visit would serve to “finish” the last stage of the negotiations.

Gustavo Petro has also traveled to Mexico despite the cancellation of the summit. He has reasons for it. There they are going to resume this weekend the dialogues between the Government and the Venezuelan opposition that he has put so much effort into reestablishing. Since he was elected president, he has been close to Maduro, whom he has tried to reintegrate into regional normality. He will take advantage of his trip to the North American country to see Lopez Obrador on Friday, with whom he maintains a good relationship. Together they want to lead the new axis of the regional left.

The first objective, which was to launch the discussion on Venezuela, has already been achieved. For a few months they have also been talking about offering Russia and Ukraine mediation to achieve peace, although it has not yet materialized. These initiatives have earned them some criticism because in a certain way they equate the attacked country and the aggressor. In addition, they will address the occasional thorny issue between the two countries. Colombia has complained about the treatment its citizens receive upon arrival in Mexico City, where they are sometimes detained and expelled by immigration. So far this year, almost 22,000 Colombians have been deported. After seeing Lopez Obrador, Petro will have a meeting with the head of the city government, Claudia Sheinbaum. There he will be declared a distinguished guest of Mexico City and will then sign the book of illustrious visitors.

The meetings were scheduled to take place in the middle of the Pacific Alliance summit. This event will now have to be reconsidered, given the impossibility of Castillo traveling to another country to receive the presidency of the organization that includes Chile, Mexico, Colombia and Peru. Boric said during his visit that the following week he will meet with the Peruvian president, and will be able to discuss with him the strategy to take the meeting to Lima, and thus be able to finally pass the baton to him.

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