Palacio Raymundo Riva: Response to López Obrador

Once again, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador referred to Carlos Loret and to this writer because he did not like that it was suggested that he agreed to finance 1.5 billion dollars to protect the security of Americans. The president summoned us to present evidence of our “slander.” As is known, López Obrador, who always complains that he is slandered, is the king of defamation. In this case, the first complaint should be made to the White House, since one of its main officials mocked the president on the same afternoon of the meeting, for having given in to President Joe Biden and paying, on the one hand, for the border wall.

What in Mexico was an argument based on information and background, in Washington was celebrated by those who know the intricacies of what happened. Abdullah Hassan, deputy spokesman for the White House, wrote on his Twitter account: “In his four years, Trump could not finish the border wall, let alone get Mexico to pay for it. President Biden just got Mexico to agree to pay (emphasis mine) $1.5 billion to improve processing and security through the administration of proven border solutions.”

In addition to reviewing the Mexican president, Hassan made it clear that Biden got López Obrador to do what he wanted, adding him to his infrastructure program with the contribution of resources, to help him improve the security of Americans, not Mexicans, in the issue of drug trafficking, while disinhibiting and curbing migration, which is doing so much electoral damage to the head of the White House. The day after the visit to the Oval Office, Loret wrote a column titled “Chiqui-visita”, while in this space, a day later, “Solicitous and docile in the White House” was published, which are the ones referred to by López Obrador this Wednesday.

In this space it was noted: “In the same way as with Donald Trump, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador behaved with Joe Biden. Warlike from afar and solicitous face-to-face. During his brief visit to the White House last Tuesday, López Obrador accepted what his predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto, refused: pay for a barrier that prevents undocumented immigrants and drugs from easily crossing the border between Mexico and the United States. Trump demanded it of Peña Nieto, and the then president confronted him. Trump did not ask López Obrador to do so, but he forced him to militarize the border with Guatemala and change his asylum policy. Biden went further. He accomplished the same as Trump and more.”

López Obrador referred this week to the projects to modernize the border bridges on the Mexican side. These exist, and were mentioned in the column, highlighting the priorities of the Mexican government, in the Mesa de Otay, the expansion of the bridge and border port between Reynosa and Pharr, and the expansion of the San Jerónimo-Santa Teresa border port. The border modernization initiative, however, began in the context of the introduction of the Infrastructure and Employment Act signed by Biden in November, a five-year plan to modernize border infrastructure at a cost of 3.6 billion dollars to make the region safer and the transit of people and trade more efficient.

The plan prepared by Customs and Border Protection, it was added in the column, aims to protect Americans and facilitate trade and tourism, through an increase in biometric verifications of people and vehicles to prevent the passage of drugs and neutralize “other threats to safety.” The White House had been negotiating it for two years with the border state governments, with the Mexican government and with business sectors, and the end of the talks was announced in May during a forum in Tijuana where the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Marcelo Ebrard, participated. ; the United States Ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, and the Under Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Judicial Affairs, Todd Robinson.

The instruction from Biden and López Obrador, Ebrard said at the time, was to accelerate the work so that, by the end of next year, the projects would be fully operational. However, it was added in the column, there was a problem. The barrier that the White House had run into was the government of López Obrador, who disagreed with a demand for security from the Biden government on the Mexican border.

Mexico was willing to receive equipment and technology from the United States for these purposes, but not the condition for it: accept that the tests to verify the start-up of the equipment would be carried out by Sandia National Laboratories, a Department of Energy laboratory operated by Honeywell International. , which is a US government contractor. That company specializes in national security, counterterrorism, police surveillance, military sensors to perceive humans and satellites.

The White House proposal, through the National Security Council, was that the equipment installed in Mexico be supervised by that company, which would also carry out the tests to ensure that its programs would not be altered. In short, that there was no Mexican corruption.

This discussion, without being secret, has not been socialized either. It has nothing to do with the 17 billion pesos that Mexico will inject for the modernization of its customs, but with the 1.5 billion dollars of equipment that, as Hassan said, are “to improve processing and security through management of proven border solutions”.

Now it is time to summon President López Obrador to explain to Mexicans why, first, he doubled the investment originally agreed upon with Biden, and second, because he did accept the equipment that he previously rejected, effectively paying our taxes for the safety of the Americans.

Note: This column will stop publishing next week. We restart on Monday, August 1.

twitter: @rivapa


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