As US President Joe Biden makes his way to Mexico Sunday, we would be remiss to not point out the US favoring asymmetries in the US-Mexico relationship that have been recently put on the backfoot thanks to the election of Mexican president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Despite robust US support for the far right wing candidate, Ricardo Anaya, Mexico’s current president was elected in what amounted to a landslide in 2018. While his term is up in 2024, the promise of continued Mexican control over Mexican energy appears certain with Claudia Sheinbaum. The current Mexico City mayor, Sheinbaum, is looking to establish a Mexico centric energy policy in the midst of global uncertainty. Historically, oil shocks, price surges due to macroeconomic events, have led to rises in gasoline prices in Mexico.
However, the latest fiascos connected to US foreign policy, like China tariffs, surge in consumer spending and the Ukraine-Russia war, have done little to alter the price of Mexican gasoline. Many American individuals residing in border towns have made their way south for said gasoline.
This has not gone unnoticed by US policy planners who look to Mexico as an experimental workshop in which neoliberal policies can be buttressed by its natural resources. Were the Mexican administration managed by the PRI or PAN, then the likely result would be Mexican exports of precious gasoline. Instead, Mexico has found a way to maintain its limited supply of gasoline in house. The state owned oil company, PEMEX, has purchased refineries and invested in new ones to maintain gas prices low, and by extension inflation stable.
As migration continues to be a subject of discussion, it’s necessary to point out that much of Mexico’s movement northward to the US is driven by economic factors the current Mexican government has sought to address. Limited opportunities, high inflation and security have all to varying degrees of success, at least, been addressed if not improved. While there is much to be desired of any government, my first impression is that all US policy is skewed towards making the lives of every day Mexicans worse if there is no counter to their position. AMLO, Sheinbaum represent the best institutional buffer to US dominance in Mexico, and in the region.