A recent source of conflict between the U.S. and Mexico has been Mexico’s energy policies. A new Mexican law allows a state-run producer, which relies heavily on coal, a greater share of the electric power market, which decreases the shares owned by private and American energy firms, which include wind and solar companies, therefore not only upsetting the U.S. because of their loss of profits but also because it will have a negative effect on the global environment. Other business advantages in Mexico have been given to state-run companies by the new government, which the U.S. and other countries, including major trading partner Canada, find to be unjust, straining their diplomatic relationships. Already, the U.S. and Mexico have experienced tensions due to the influx of migration from Mexico across the U.S. border.
The current president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has brought a more people-first, nationalistic approach to governance in Mexico. In intervening in the economy more as a president, Obrador is moving more toward a socialist economy, taking power away from private companies in the energy sector, and also upsetting more capitalist, free-market countries, like the United States. While some of President Obrador’s efforts to decrease poverty and crime across the nation, with new welfare programs and messaging of “abrazos, no blazes,” meaning “hugs, not bullets,” is appreciated, while virtually ineffective, he has also eliminated the chances that Mexico will meet its original goal of decreasing its carbon footprint. President Obrador is attempting to consolidate economic power, but relying heavily on fossil fuels, building up his agenda, and further destroying the environment in the process. According to the New York Times, “The government has not completely abandoned renewable energy. It plans to spend about $1.6 billion to build a giant solar plant in northern Mexico as well as refurbish more than a dozen state-owned hydroelectric plants.” However, Obrador stated “that technological advancement will become a reality,” but “to get there, we need more time.” That time, in the eyes of the U.S., should be now.
President Obrador should continue to focus on creating a sense of pride in Mexico, as he has done by using indigenous symbols, creating slogans and initiatives that help the lower class, and more. He should not worsen relations with his neighbors by going forward with his plan to rely heavily on pollution-generating fossil fuels. Instead, it would be helpful to revisit his previous plans to decrease crime, by reimagining his anti-violence and anti-‘Narco state’ initiatives and making them more effective and practical.
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