“Poor Mexico: so far from God and so close to the United States.” The famous quote from Mexican dictator Porfírio Díaz compiles the turbulent history of relations between the two countries. This July 8, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador — also known as AMLO — visited his American counterpart Donald Trump for the first time since he took office late in 2018. The “budding” relationship between the left-wing AMLO and the far-right wing U.S. president seems inexplicable, but it is key to both presidents’ political fortunes as the storm of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to rage in both countries.
The long-awaited meeting, which happens to be AMLO’s first international trip, takes place as the U.S.–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) is set to become a reality, starting a new chapter of trade relations between the two major nations. In 2019 alone, Mexico’s trade with the U.S added up to USD 614.5 billion, a 0.48-percent increase over 2018.
Now, with a possible 10-percent nosedive in Mexican GDP this year due to the coronavirus crisis, Mexico needs an ally in Washington more than ever.