Mexico's Obrador Asks Biden to End US 'Disdain' for Latin America and the Caribbean During Bilateral Talks

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador asked US counterpart Joe Biden to end the US’s “abandonment” of and “disdain” for Latin America and the Caribbean, as the two leaders held bilateral talks in Mexico City on Monday, January 9.

Seated opposite each other in Mexico’s National Palace, Obrador called on Biden to boost economic engagement in the region and prioritize regional neighbors, like Mexico, over Asian economies.

“This is the moment for us to determine to do away with this abandonment, this disdain, and this forgetfulness for Latin America and the Caribbean,” he said. “You hold the key to open and substantially improve relations among all the countries of the American continent.”

Obrador shared his vision of establishing the Americas as “an economic region in the world, strengthening brotherhood in the American continent, respecting our differences and our sovereignty, and ensuring that no one is left behind and that together we pursue the beautiful utopia of freedom, equality and true democracy.”

He called Biden and the American people friends of Mexico, saying, “We are neighboring peoples and brotherly peoples.”

In a statement, the White House said the two presidents discussed a number of issues, including creating “a more prosperous and secure future for North America.” Credit: President of Mexico via Storyful

Video transcript

ANDRÉS MANUEL LÓPEZ OBRADOR: [SPEAKING SPANISH]

INTERPRETER: President Biden.

ANDRÉS MANUEL LÓPEZ OBRADOR: [SPEAKING SPANISH]

INTERPRETER: Friends, ladies, and gentleman, friends, all.

ANDRÉS MANUEL LÓPEZ OBRADOR: [SPEAKING SPANISH]

JOE BIDEN: This is something--

- Yeah, it's working now.

JOE BIDEN: Working now, OK. Thank you. Well, Mr. President, my friend, it's good to be with you again on the 10th North American Leaders Summit in Mexico City. Last month, we celebrated 200 years of bilateral relations with Mexico. And looking back on our shared history, it's clear that the stronger and safer we both are is when we stand together, when we work together.

Mexico is a true partner. And when we work together with common values and mutual respect, nothing much is beyond our reach. So today, we're going to discuss how we can further deepen that relationship, not only with Mexico, but the Western Hemisphere. This includes strengthening our supply chains to make the hemisphere even more competitive but also to discuss our shared security, including our joint action address, the plague of fentanyl, which has killed 100,000 Americans so far, and how can tackle irregular migration, which I think we're well on our way to doing.

Above all, we're both committed to pursuing a better future, one grounded on peace and prosperity for all of our people. So Mr. President, this afternoon and years ahead, I look forward to building that better future. And I might add just in the last 15 years, we've spent billions of dollars in hemisphere, tens of billions of dollars in hemisphere. And what we have to do is what you've done, and I compliment you on it, we have to continue to support and build democratic institutions in hemisphere.

One of the things I was able to do at the G7 is get the G7 to agree that we would have a multi-, multi-billion dollar project for infrastructure for the Western Hemisphere, for Latin America, and for Africa both. So there's much we can do, much we have to talk about. And I'm looking forward to being able to do it because I'm confident we can get it done. I'm confident we're at one of those moments where we all change the direction. The last fundamental change that occurred in world politics was at the end of World War II, [INAUDIBLE].

We're in a totally different place now, totally different place. We're at one of those inflection points, where what we do in the next several years will change what the world looks like for the next two, three, or four decades. And that's what we have an opportunity to do, and I think we're in a good position to do it. And having said that, the United States provides more foreign aid than any other country in the world, to not just hemisphere, but around the world. Fortunately, our responsibility doesn't end with the Western Hemisphere. It's in Central Europe. It's in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, in Southwest Asia.

[INAUDIBLE]

Thank you for having us, and I look forward to this session.

[CHATTER]

- We want to thank the media representatives for being here. Thank you.