Opinion

Mexico and Spain, relations on standby

andres-manuel-lopez-obrador-mexico

The Grito de la Independencia, which celebrates 200 years since the beginning of emancipation from Spanish rule and the formation of a nation-state with its own identity as Mexico, comes with relations on 'standby' between the government of the populist president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and his Spanish counterpart, the socialist Pedro Sánchez.

And I emphasise that this cooling-off is a matter between governments, because (fortunately) it is free of sterile quarrels created in the heat of stupid revisionism that underlies the binational Spanish-Mexican business.

Both Mexicans and Spaniards are very clear that their goodwill will not be interrupted because the tenant of the National Palace wants the Royal House, presided over by King Felipe VI as head of the Spanish state, to send a letter of apology to the current indigenous peoples two centuries later.

The famous pardon that, since March 2019, López Obrador has demanded from both the Royal House and Pope Francis, as the highest representative of the Catholic Church, on the grounds that the Spanish massacred the indigenous people during the Conquest and then the Church carried out 'unwelcome' acts in its evangelisation process.

According to the Mexican president, the events of 500 years ago are still insurmountable and the only way to close the historical wound is with a public 'mea culpa'.

Such a rant has caused a rift in binational political and diplomatic relations, with only Cuban President Miguel Díaz Canel attending the 15 September celebration of the Independence Day ceremony. Like-minded people attract like-minded people.

The former foreign minister, Arancha González Laya, received an invitation to attend the celebrations; she was removed from her post a month ago and has been replaced by José Manuel Albares, a professional with a clear vision of international relations, affable and committed to the added value of diplomacy. There will surely be a rapprochement with the Foreign Ministry, presided over by Marcelo Ebrard, sooner rather than later.

For the time being, Spain is awaiting the change of diplomatic credentials at the Mexican Embassy in Carrera de San Jerónimo once Quirino Ordaz Coppel, still governor of Sinaloa, replaces María Carmen Oñate.

And more changes are to come, because the capricious President López Obrador himself wants an indigenous woman in the Mexican headquarters in the Iberian country, in Culture, as he has arrogantly tweeted, stressing once again that he has a dispute with the Spanish monarchy and reproaching them for never having replied to the letter (in which he demands historical pardon) and that, instead, according to him, it was leaked to the newspaper El País.

So now the revenge comes in the form of removing the statues of Columbus and putting an indigenous woman in her place... I have nothing against the indigenous people, but I have nothing against sterile atavisms and the discourse that lubricates hatred and rescues corpses from the past, simply because populism feeds on grievances to keep people distracted, to cover up the mediocrity of the government's work.

What Mexico and Spain need is to strengthen their bilateral relations, to broaden the frameworks of cooperation; right now, the Aztec country needs to vaccinate its adult population as soon as possible; well, the Spanish health system has had seven million doses of anti-COVID vaccines in stock for days because it has already immunised 75% of its population and is moving ahead with inoculating adolescents from the age of twelve.

Mexico needs so many doses that there are initiatives such as those in Coahuila in which the maquiladoras are taking adolescents - aged 12 to 18 - to the United States, specifically to Eagle Pass, to be vaccinated.

Such initiatives are welcome at a time when the country's leadership rests on the short-sightedness and obtuseness of a person who only governs for his friends and personal interests. The neglect of public health policies for children with cancer in Mexico should be brought to the table of the UN and the WHO.

On the subject

Yes, the indigenous population must be asked for forgiveness for how badly they have been treated historically by all the governments that have passed in the last 200 years. For the horrendous way in which the Yankees took their lands, for the massacres of Aguas Blancas, Acteal and others not so long ago.

For the servile exploitation under which they live in their own country; for abandoning them to their fate, without decent schools, or secondary schools nearby, let alone universities within their reach. For the mistreatment and discrimination, just for being indigenous, which the most shameful thing is that it happens in 21st century Mexico, from one Mexican to another Mexican. President López Obrador should morally ask for their forgiveness...