Keep an eye on the forthcoming elections in Mexico. They may bring to power a politician who some regard as being rather too similar to the late Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. Reuters reports:
Mexican left-wing presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has an 18-point lead ahead of the July 1 election, according to a poll published on Monday that showed him with a growing advantage at the start of formal campaigning.
Lopez Obrador, who launched his campaign on Sunday, holds 38 percent of the vote, according to the poll by Parametria, published by Reuters on Monday ahead of wider distribution. That compared to 35 percent in its previous poll.
A Lopez Obrador victory could usher in a Mexican government less accommodating toward the United States, where President Donald Trump has stoked trade tensions with Mexico and aggressively moved to curb immigration.
. . .
Attention has turned to which party will hold sway in the Senate and lower house of Congress, with some believing that Lopez Obrador’s party, the National Regeneration Movement, could win the biggest share in both.
There's more at the link.
Mexico is already in dire straits, economically and in terms of crime and security, with the "cartel wars" still an overwhelming national issue that shows no sign of a solution. Lopez Obrador has prioritized subsidizing unemployed youth instead of fighting crime - a scheme reminiscent of Venezuela's mobilization of its youth into "Chavistas", the primary supporters of the late President, and now the bulwark for President Maduro. The notorious "dirty poker" of Mexican election shenanigans may also be a major factor.
Foreign Policy sums up likely developments.
If elected, López Obrador is likely to change Mexican policy towards the United States in at least three areas: energy exploration, security cooperation, and support for democratic norms in the region. On energy, he said he would review existing contracts, and continues to view the opening of Mexico’s oil industry to foreign investment as treasonous. A López Obrador administration could slow down or halt bidding on new oil and gas finds in the Gulf of Mexico and refuse to approve new cross-border natural gas pipelines.
Similarly, he could freeze existing security cooperation with U.S. agencies to fight heroin production in Mexico and capture cartel leaders. “Problems of an economic and social nature cannot be solved with coercive measures,” he wrote last year. “It’s not military assistance, or intelligence work, or deliveries of helicopters and arms, that will solve the problems of insecurity and violence in our country.”
Finally, López Obrador, who has never uttered an unkind word about the Castro brothers, Chávez, or Nicolás Maduro (but named a son after Che Guevara), would be likely to withdraw Mexican diplomats from the mediating role they have played in the region on Venezuela, and refuse to participate in international resolutions concerning Iran, North Korea, or Syria.
What about the personal chemistry between López Obrador and Trump? Shortly after Trump was inaugurated, López Obrador undertook a speaking tour of the United States, during which he repeatedly compared Trump to Hitler. Recently, López Obrador vowed to put Trump “in his place.” What could go wrong?
Again, more at the link.
Of course, if Mexico does slide even further into chaos, we'd be facing a Venezuela-style social meltdown right on our southern border. A wall probably won't be enough to stop the resulting exodus of economic refugees.