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John Kelly’s Mexico Tour

Presidents Trump and Peña Nieto are to have a “cordial” meeting in Hamburg, Germany
By The News · 07 of July 2017 09:52:34
President Donald Trump meets with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto at the G20 Summit, President Donald Trump meets with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto at the G20 Summit, Friday, July 7, 2017, in Hamburg. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci), photo: AP/Evan Vucci

Whichever way it goes, the relationship between the Mexican and U.S. governments is ever increasingly intense. There may be love, there may be hate, but certainly there is no such thing as indifference.

Today, for instance, Presidents Trump and Peña Nieto are to have a “cordial” meeting in Hamburg, Germany, within the G-20 Summit. Smile, at least for the photo.

At the same time, however, Homeland Security Department chief John Kelly and Central Intelligence Agency director Michael Richard Pompeo are in the nation on a three day visit in which they will be talking to the top of the echelon authorities starting with President Peña Nieto, who received them Wednesday. On Thursday Kelly and Pompeo met with the Defense and Navy secretaries Salvador Cienfuegos and Vidal Soberón, respectively in Acapulco and today they wrap up their tour with a visit to Interior Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong.

Since surely Kelly and Pompeo came to talk about security, there were several fireworks staging all over Mexico if not to salute them, just to let them know their concern in properly focused. On Wednesday, Northern Mexico drug trafficking gangs staged a shootout at Madera, state of Chihuahua, with a total body count of 14 dead and several wounded. And at sunny Acapulco, there was a riot at the local penitentiary with five inmates dead. There were other fireworks but that was good enough for Kelly and Pompeo to see the tip of the iceberg.

I mean, it is not as exciting as Chicago or Los Angeles on any given weekend, but fireworks anyway.

In all this, the not so invisible hand of U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson should be commended because during the extremely difficult and stressing times of tweeting Donald she has managed to hold relations steady and looking towards constructive relations. And of course, her terse touch is behind the smoothness of the Kelly-Pompeo visit regardless of surrounding — political or otherwise — circumstances.

The issues at hand for Kelly and Pompeo were specific according to the nature of their visitations. Wednesday President Peña Nieto’s press office issued a press release painting a rosy picture of the diplomatic meeting as usual, also attended by Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Videgaray. The president is said to have praised the stance finally taken by the Trump administration on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which could negatively affected thousands of Mexican kids living in the United States.

There were surely other issues at hand but as usual, the president’s press office shortchanges the press in its press releases and it was no different in this powwow that lasted for over an hour. Surely, there were more issues on the agenda than just praising DACA. Bilateral relations are extremely complex and specific to deal with them lightly and at a federal level, when all the problems are local, particularly at the 1964-mile long U.S.-Mexico border.

From the presidency, the entourage moved to the Foreign Relations Secretariat (SRE) facilities downtown Mexico City where sources said that this particular meeting between Kelly and Videgaray was “much more constructive than the one in February” when official staged a reclamations show. Another issue at hand was concern by Videgaray regarding the SB-4 “show me your papers” law being touted in Texas to which Kelly is said to have answer that the Trump administration does not have such laws contemplated.

As for the meeting with the military in Acapulco Thursday and with Interior Secretary Osorio Chong Friday, in which for sure both the visiting officials and their politico host will only talk about the war on criminal gangs the Peña Nieto administration is engaged in. Apparently Attorney General Raúl Cervantes will also participate in the Acapulco gathering. For Friday, Kelly and his entourage will meet with Interior Secretary (and at that moment, under Mexican law, Acting President in absence of Peña Nieto) to deal with immigration issues.

By the way, one wonders what Osorio Chong will have to say as on Wednesday he announced at the Guatemalan border that Mexico will not build a wall at that border, and even went as far to say that Guatemalans are welcome to work in Mexico. Was that a prelude to his meeting with Kelly?

Surely there will be a lot more to Kelly’s and Pompeo’s visit than meets the eye but for that information — Mexican gagsters are claiming, “we’ll have to wait for Trump’s tweet.”