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Weekly Report - 23 September 2021 (WR-21-38)

López Obrador makes bid for regional leadership role

Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador played host to regional leaders for the sixth summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) on 18-19 September. López Obrador’s attempt to resuscitate Celac was eye-catching because for well over two years of his six-year term, which began in December 2018, he showed little interest in foreign affairs or Mexico’s role in the region. His change of heart appears to have coincided with the January departure of President Donald Trump from the White House, to whom he paid his sole foreign visit. Until then López Obrador’s eyes were fixed northwards not southwards. There is a leadership vacuum in Latin America, especially given the loss of credibility of Brazil, the region’s other heavyweight, under President Jair Bolsonaro, but there are inherent risks to trying to fill it.

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