Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Obama pledges better relations to Mexico's Calderón

Yesterday, U.S. President-elect Barack Obama held his first meeting with a foreign leader since his November election. Obama met with Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderón, in an effort to strengthen U.S. ties between the two countries.

Obama promised to nurture close ties with its southern neighbor and other Latin American countries. Many in Latin America feel that throughout Bush’s presidency, the region WAS  neglected, as a result of the strong focus on the Middle East.

The two political leaders agreed that both governments have mutual interests such as the war on drugs which has resulted in an increase in violence in Mexico. They also discussed immigration, border security, and the impending global financial crisis. Mexico has seen effects from the financial crisis with many factories laying off many workers, because The slumping US economy has impacted sales of goods.  Mexico sends 80 percent of its exports to the United States.

Obama praised Calderón’s exemplary work on energy and climate change saying the two countries should expand their efforts in those areas while building on existing commercial, security and cultural ties.

With Mexico’s drug violence escalating, there are fears that Obama might seek changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement which would not please Calderón. NAFTA is said to be viewed by U.S. unions as a cause for job losses in industrial states, however Obama made no comments to the press regarding the agreement.  Calderón said that restricting trade would only increase illegal immigration.

Later that day the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi also met with President Calderón, praising the fact that the U.S. and Mexico have a shared history and heritage and pledged to work together for their shared mutual interests.