The government of Mexico has celebrated the 238 anniversary of the birth of Simon Bolivar, “El Libertador de América” on past Saturday. The state ceremony was held in the Presidential Palace to honor Bolivar, who is considered a hero of anti-colonial struggle and Latin American unity.
The ceremony took place within the framework of Mexico’s bicentennial anniversary of independence in 2021. It started with gun salute and was attended by 33 representatives of Latin American countries on ministerial, vice-ministerial level as well as ambassadors.
The US is not represented
The United States was the only American country not represented.
Following the event, Mexican foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard held a meeting with 15 counterparts within the framework of CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), whose temporal presidency Mexico holds.
During the ceremony, Mexican President Andrés Lopez Manuel Obrador held a speech where he rejected the Monroe Doctrine and historic US interventions, declared his country’s solidarity with Cuba, laid an emphasis on the rising global role of China and proposed a new Inter-American relationship including the “dissolution of the Organization of American States” (OAS).
The proposal to discuss dissolution of the OAS received great attention, given it was made ahead of the CELAC meeting, whose members mainly are also within the OAS.
After recalling the life and struggle of Bolivar, Obrador spoke about the rising role of the United States in Latin America following the Monroe Doctrine.
“The slogan “America for the Americans” ended up disintegrating the peoples of our continent and destroying what was built, what became materialized by the work of Bolívar. Throughout almost the entire nineteenth century we suffered from constant occupations, landings, annexations and it cost us the loss of half of our territory, with the great blow of 1848”, the Mexican president said.
Cuba exception to US dominance
He summarized that “from that time on, Washington never stopped to make open or covert operations against the countries south of the Rio Bravo. The United States’ foreign policy is dominant in America”, said Obrador, with the exception of Cuba.
“There is only one special case, that of Cuba, the country that for more than half a century has asserted its independence by politically confronting the United States. We may or may not agree with the Cuban Revolution and its government, but having resisted 62 years without submission is quite a feat.”
The Mexican president compared Cuba for its defense of national sovereignty with Numancia, Iberic village that resisted the Roman Empire, and proposed the island should receive the statuıs of a World Heritage Site.
In recent days, the Mexican government also has sent medical supplies to Cuba in a display of solidarity with the socialist republic, and Obrador has called the US to lift the embargo.
‘Adios’ to US impositions, interference, sanctions, exclusions and blockades
The Mexican president then rejects the policy “of the past two hundred years”, “characterized by invasions to put or remove governments at the whim of the superpower; let’s say adios to impositions, interference, sanctions, exclusions and blockades”.
Obrador also stated “The replacement of the OAS (Organization of American States) by a truly autonomous body should not be ruled out, not a lackey of anyone, but a mediator at the request and acceptance of the parties in conflict, in matters of human rights and democracy.”
The OAS is the traditional, US-led inter-american and intergouvernemental organization.
The Mexican president even proposes to establish “something similar to the European Union, but with respect to our history, reality and identity”.
George Washington against Thomas Jefferson
Interestingly, the Mexican president places to US presidents against each other. While Jefferson lays the path to the Montroe Doctrine by claiming to aviod European interference into the Americas, Obrador cites George Washington with the words “nations never take benefit of misluck of other people”.
The Mexican President displays realism in the relations with the US: “Our proximity (to the US, YS) forces us to make agreements, not like pushing a rock uphill, what ould constitute a grave mistake, but with strong arguments, without yelling, to make our sovereignty count, to show we are not a protectorate, a colony or someones backyard.”
Strongest Mexican argument: China
The Mexican president’s strongest argument against the US is China, whose “extortinate growth has strengthend in the US the opinion that we must be seen as allied and not distant neighbors.”
After referring positively to the 1994-NAFTA, Obrador calls for further integration with respect to sovereignty between Canada, the US and Mexico in order to “gain back the lost commerce and production with China”, but warning against any new “hegemony”, instead of contuniuing to be “a debilitaed region” neighbor to “a Pacific full of military tensions”.
The Mexican president dedicates time in his speech to refer numbers of China’s eonomic rise, which he claimes to have presented to Biden before too. According to Obrador, China currently accounts for 12.2% of global trade in comparison to the US share of 9.5, a trend if countied will lead, “unstoppable by any legal means”, to a Chinese share of 64.8% against a US share of 4 to 10% in 2051.
Against these “unacceptable proportions”, which might cause “tentation to military means of correction”, Obrador proposes to reestablish economic relations in the American continent.
It is obvious that Mexican eyes are still directed to the North, but with a new selfesteem stemming from the rising share of Asia in global economy that provides a sovereignty dividend to the former US ‘backyard’.
The Mexican president Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador finishes his speech, promising “to keep alive the dream of Bolivar”.