López Obrador criticises US, says Mexico will deepen ties with Cuba

Photo by Filip Gielda

16 May 2022

During an official visit to Cuba, Mexico’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has indicated that Mexico intends continuing to deepen its ties with Cuba.

The three-day visit saw him deliver a major speech recognising the historic importance of the Cuban revolution, the need for more equitable relations in the Americas, and him maintain his criticism of the US embargo. He also disparaged the Biden Administration for suggesting that Cuba and other Central and
South American nations will not be invited to the Summit of the Americas in June.

Speaking about the US embargo, he said: “quite frankly it looks bad for the US government to use the
blockade to impede the well-being of the Cuban people so that they, the Cuban people, forced by
necessity, have to confront their own government.”

“If this perverse strategy were to succeed”, Mexico’s President observed, “something that does not seem
likely due to the dignity of the Cuban people …. it would turn that great grievance into a pyrrhic, vile and
scoundrel triumph, one of those stains that cannot be erased, not even by all the water in the oceans.”
On the subject of Cuba’s participation in the summit of the Americas and the recent suggestion by the
US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Brian Nichols, that Cuba, Nicaragua,
and Venezuela would not be invited as they “do not respect the Democratic Charter of the Americas”,
López Obrador said that he would insist with President Biden that no country in the Americas be
excluded when the summit takes place in Los Angeles in June.

Mexico’s President went on to say: “It is time for a new coexistence among all the countries of America,
because the model imposed more than two centuries ago is exhausted, has no future or way out, and
no longer benefits anyone.”

“We must put aside the dilemma of joining the United States or opposing it defensively. It is time to
express and explore another option, that of dialogue with the US rulers, and convince and persuade
them that a new relationship between the countries of America, of all America, is possible,” he said in a
little reported speech.

This, he suggested, would require a new political and economic vision involving “the replacement of the
OAS by a truly autonomous body.” Such an entity, he said, might act as an economic integrator and
mediator, “something similar to the European Union, but attached to our history, our reality and our

Without such an advance, and a treaty that encourages economic-commercial development, he
suggested, the hemisphere would not be able to face strong global competition, and every nation
including the US would experience relative economic decline.

Subsequently, on his return home, President López Obrador said that he would not attend the summit
if the Biden administration excluded Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.
Speaking about Cuba’s future, he expressed the hope that “the Revolution will be reborn” and “be
capable of renewing itself.”

“I have the conviction and faith that things are being done in Cuba with that purpose, that the new
Revolution is made within the Revolution” and that this will be the “second great lesson of Cuba for the
world”, he told a high level gathering at which he was awarded Cuba’s highest honour, the Order of José
Martí. López Obrador said that he wanted “to openly express my great satisfaction at confirming that
Cuba has an extraordinary president: Miguel Díaz-Canel. An honest, hard-working, humane man, a very
good person, a good public servant, and a good human being.”

During the visit, several new agreements were signed including one establishing a legal framework to
develop technical, scientific, and academic cooperation in health, and another for the provision and
development of vaccines.

Speaking on his return, Mexico’s President announced that he had reached an agreement with Cuba to
hire more than 500 doctors and other Cuban health personnel to work in Mexico, and that Mexico
would acquire Cuban vaccines, including those in use and under development for children and young
people. López Obrador also noted that under a new cooperation agreement Mexico will provide its
general practitioners with scholarships to train in Cuba as specialists. Mexico, he said, did not have the
doctors it needed, especially working in hospitals in poor areas.

López Obrador said he was aware of what his words in favour of Cuba and its revolutionary process
caused in many sectors of Mexico. “But we come from a movement in which we have always fought for
equality, for justice and for the independence of the peoples. Let us not forget the constitutional
principles of our foreign policy: non-intervention and self-determination of peoples”.

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