The most credible theory about why Mexico is cozying up to Cuba’s dictatorship and looking the other way as Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro brutally represses street demonstrations, can be summed up in one word — fear, says a leading analyst.
“Well-placed foreign policy analysts tell me that Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s disregard for the defense of universal rights and basic freedoms in Cuba and Venezuela is partly due to fear that these two countries could use their clout with Mexico’s leftist movements to stir up trouble at home,” Andres Oppenheimer writes for the Miami Herald:
Peña Nieto has recently passed ambitious energy, education, and telecommunications reforms that have gained enthusiastic applause from Wall Street, but that most of Mexico’s left opposes. The last thing Peña Nieto wants is for Cuba and Venezuela to encourage these leftist groups to derail the reforms in Congress, or through protests on the streets.
“Cuba and Venezuela are domestic policy issues in Mexico,” says Miguel Hakim, a former Mexican undersecretary of foreign affairs in charge of Latin American affairs. “The Peña Nieto government does not want them to stir up the pot at home while he is trying to implement his energy and education reforms.”