Mexican authorities rejected the request of US congressmen to withdraw the visa of Mexican legislators who participated in the Mexico-Russia Friendship Committee. In addition, they accused the US official of meddling in internal affairs that do not concern him, nor the US.
Last week, US Representative Vicente González urged Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to prohibit the entry, travel and US investments of 25 Mexican legislators who participated in a Russian-Mexican event, one month after the invasion in Ukraine.
“In recent days and during an international crisis in Eastern Europe, several legislators from Mexico’s Federal Congress took this opportunity to shun the free world and stand with Russian President Vladimir Putin by forming a Mexico-Russia Friendship Committee. The timing of this committee sent a clear message to the US and the free world. In light of Russia’s illegal aggression towards Ukraine, I call upon you to stand with Ukraine and condemn this ‘friendship committee’ by issuing visa revocations for all Mexican members of Congress that have participated in this deplorable assembly,” González wrote in a letter.
After the letter was made public, President López Obrador accused Gónzalez of meddling in internal affairs and using the committee to promote his reelection in the 2022 US midterm elections. “I do not think it is fair or rational to want to suspend the visas of those who came together to express their points of view. This campaign against Mexico is a return to the Cold War, to the days when we had to choose one side or the other. A time full of persecution, exclusion and authoritarianism,” said López Obrador. In addition, he emphasized that Mexico is a free country, so the Russia-Mexico friendship would continue.
In addition, the Mexico's Chamber of Deputies also declared itself against González's letter since it is a direct intervention in the constitutional powers granted to the legislators. In addition, the deputies highlighted that no national law or agreement between the US and Mexico was violated. Moreover, Sergio Gutiérrez, President, the Chamber of Deputies, argued that González's letter features key errors: some of those accused are not legislators at all or have passed away some time ago.
Last month, several MORENA legislators created the Mexico-Russia Friendship Committee, which seeks to increase friendship, as well as economic and cultural cooperation between the two countries. Despite accusations of strengthening relations with Russia during its highly controversial invasion of Ukraine, López Obrador said the country will promote the committee and remain neutral. Nevertheless, Mexico’s position is not entirely neutral: the country accused Russia of carrying out an invasion in the UN. At the national level, MORENA and, at times, President López Obrador have taken a more pro-Russian stance. This contradiction has created confusion at both national and international levels, complicating which side Mexico will be on if the conflict escalates.