Martes 11 de Junio 2024
SPECIAL MISSION

International challenges for President Sheinbaum

President Sheinbaum will face challenges both domestically and internationally. President López Obrador and his party gave her no respite.

Créditos: X @Claudiashein
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She had a taste of it with the fall of the Mexican Stock Exchange and the devaluation of the peso following Morena's announcement to approve constitutional changes in September to elect Supreme Court judges, transform the National Electoral Institute (INE), and eliminate autonomous bodies such as the National Institute of Transparency and Information Access (INAI), the Federal Competition Commission, and the Energy Regulation Commission (CRE). This was seen abroad as the end of legal certainty and the rule of law, guarantees for both national and foreign investment.

During the campaign, she barely touched on foreign policy issues, only commonplaces like maintaining a friendly relationship with the US. Nothing she said indicated an understanding of the changes occurring on the global stage and the need for a creative and proactive foreign policy.

She has not indicated how she will straighten out a foreign policy that led the country to align with dictatorships, quarrel with Latin American countries and Spain, adopt a false neutrality towards invaders, and lose ground globally.

However, her reaction on social media to the numerous congratulations she received for her resounding victory gives hope for a more professional and institutional handling of foreign policy. The influence of Juan Ramón de la Fuente was evident.

The most important challenges will be in the relationship with the US, on traditional issues: trade and investment; migration and border security, including the illicit trafficking of drugs, weapons, and people. Hopefully, we can expand the agenda to include infrastructure, energy transition, scientific, educational, and cultural cooperation, and the Mexican community in the US. For now, she and her team will have to work on two scenarios in the relationship with the US, the cornerstone of our foreign policy: Biden's re-election is the first, which could facilitate cooperation. The second, the election of Trump, would present a trial by fire at the beginning of 2025 with the threat of mass deportations and a total border closure.

In July 2026, the three USMCA member countries must express their support for the extension of the agreement. The US has defined a very clear process of public hearings in Congress and reports that will begin in 2025 to reach the decision, while Mexico lacks a similar framework.

The window for relocating investments to Mexico will close, and we will lose opportunities if President Sheinbaum's government does not guarantee legal certainty and security, infrastructure, access to electricity and renewable energies, energy transition, and workforce training.

On her horizon will be the elections in Venezuela, commitments on climate change, G-20 meetings, the election of the UN Secretary-General and the OAS Secretary-General, and the directors-general of UNESCO and FAO. In some areas, such as energy transition and a genuine feminist foreign policy, she can make a difference.

By Martha Bárcena 
Eminent Ambassador 
@MARTHA_BARCENA