Mexico President

Mexico proposes pausing relations with Spain

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Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called Wednesday (Feb. 9) for a “pause” in relations with Spain.

“The pause is: we’re going to give ourselves time to respect each other and not be seen as a land of conquest,” AFP quoted Lopez Obrador as saying. “We do want to have good relations with all governments… but we don’t want them to rob us,” he added.

His statements during his daily news conference came amid frictions with Spanish companies that he accuses of corruption. He highlighted power company Iberdrola and oil firm Repsol as firms that benefited from past Mexican governments.

“There was a plot at the top, an economic, political promiscuity at top of the governments of Mexico and Spain, but for like three administrations running, and Mexico had the worst of it, they plundered us. So the best thing is to have a break, a breather (in relations),” Lopez Obrador told reporters.

Although the relationship with Spain “is not good now,” Mexico has no plan to break off diplomatic ties or recall its ambassador, Lopez Obrador said. He also stated that both countries should respect each other.

Relations between Mexico and Spain have been strained since Lopez Obrador, who is known by the acronym AMLO, took office in 2018.
In 2019, AMLO demanded that Spain’s King Felipe VI and Pope Francis should apologize for abuses committed during the Spanish conquest.

Madrid has rejected his demand for an apology for the events of the conquest saying it “cannot be judged in the light of contemporary considerations.”

Modern historians say that conquest was marked by violence, subjugation, cultural suppression, and plunder.

The Spanish benefited from good relations during Mexican dictator Porfirio Diaz’s 1884-1911 rule, but distanced themselves from the upheaval of the 1910-1920 Mexican revolution.

Ties improved again during the Second Spanish Republic from 1931-1939, before Francisco Franco took power.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, Bloomberg