Tuesday, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador urged U.S. Sec. of State Antony Blinken to refrain from meddling in domestic matters and noted that his country is more democratic than its neighbor.
The terse statements came after remarks and social media posts from representatives of the U.S. Department of State addressing widespread protests that took place in Mexico over the weekend. The protests against Lopez Obrador’s attempts to defund Mexico’s National Electoral Institute drew more than 100,000 participants in Mexico City and thousands more in other cities.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department, said in a statement that “In Mexico, we see a strong debate on election reforms on the independence of electoral and judicial institutions that demonstrates Mexico’s dynamic democracy. We respect the sovereignty of Mexico. We think that respect for judicial independence along with a well-funded, independent electoral system foster a strong democracy.”
The Supreme Court of Mexico is anticipated to make the final decision regarding the electoral reform issue. According to Lopez Obrador (AMLO), his efforts to reform the INE are a means of conserving cash. His opponents contend that cutting off funds to INE will impair its operation and inadvertently give AMLO the power to choose his replacement.
AMLO mockingly remarked, “It’s the same as when the U.S. government controlled all of Latin America and appointed and deposed leaders at will. They are still discussing liberty and democracy. Let’s be clear about this: in our opinion, and with all due respect, Mexico has more freedom and democracy than the United States. And if they want to discuss the subject, go ahead. I can provide proof.”
The U.S. government has drawn ire from Lopez Obrador in the past for allegedly trying to meddle in domestic issues, such as supporting his political rivals.
AMLO declared, “We aren’t a colony, we are not a protectorate. We deserve respect because we are a free and sovereign nation.”