López Obrador’s difficult relationship with Spain: from "give us some time" to the "they lacked humility"

The relationship of the Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador with Spain is not exactly good, and is full of clashes and rudeness. Last one this Wednesday when he asked for a “pause” in contacts with Madrid to turn the page to a stage in which, according to the president, Spanish authorities and companies have taken advantage of the North American country. “They were like owners of Mexico”he maintained, while adding that now “the relationship is not good.”

Therefore, he proposes “taking a break”, arguing that it is what is “convenient” for both parties. “Maybe when the government changes, relations will be reestablished and I wish that when I am no longer here, they were not the same as they were before,” he said. Of course, he does not speak of breaking diplomatic relations but of “taking time.”

In addition, Obrador charged against Spanish companies in the country. He put the focus, for example, on the alleged bad practices, among them Repsol, favored in his opinion during the presidential mandate of Felipe Calderón. He questions, specifically, the granting of a contract to extract gas in the Burgos Basin, paid at “very high” prices and without results. “In the end, less gas was extracted than Pemex extracted when it had not delivered the contract,” he said. And he repeated his continual references to the past: “They looted us.”

“They lacked humility”

Already in July of last year Obrador harshly criticized the role of Spain in what he called “the conquest” of America. “Why did they have to ask for forgiveness, with great arrogance?they forget that power is humility,” he said, crossing reproaches with Madrid again. Moreover, he even sent a letter to King Felipe VI in this regard about which the Aztec president said that “they had not even deigned to answer “.

“We propose that these are times of reconciliation to look to the future. Not only condemning authoritarianism, robbery, looting of Mexicobut also recognizing what Spain and Europe contributed to our country,” Obrador said then, who has never managed to fully channel relations with Moncloa despite the recent efforts made by the Foreign Minister, Jose Manuel Albares.

And also then he focused other of his criticisms on the business sector. “It was abused in the neoliberal period and acts of corruption were committed by Spanish companies,” she snapped, and went on to give examples. “We have cases like that of Repsol, with juicy contractsvery good for them, very bad for Mexico’s public finances, the case of OHL, also preferred by the Government,” Obrador concluded.

“Love and peace”

In this tension he had a very notorious clash with the former Prime Minister José María Aznar. “But you, what is your name? Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Andrés on the Aztec side, Manuel on the Mayan side, López is a mix of Aztec and Mayan… and Obrador, from Santander,” Aznar said sarcastically in response to Obrador’s references to “conquest.” And it had to be the Mexican leader who then tried to calm the atmosphere. “Love and peace”, he maintained, without giving more importance to Aznar’s references.


The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, during a working meeting at the National Palace, in Mexico City.

“We respect the Spanish people a lot, they are a hard-working, honest people, and if there is a difference it has to do with the authorities, not with the people of Spain“, he expressed. And it is precisely that the contacts with the authorities in recent times have been anything but positive. Andrés Manuel López Obrador has become a Chinese in the shoe of Spain almost every time he speaks.

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