LatinNews Daily - 02 March 2022

MEXICO: López Obrador rules out economic sanctions for Russia

On 1 March, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said his government would not impose economic sanctions on Russia.

Analysis:

Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard has “energetically condemn[ed]” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but only after the government’s initial response, which did not mention Russia by name, was criticised by Ukraine’s ambassador to Mexico, Oksana Dramarétska. President López Obrador’s latest position, which stands in marked contrast to the broad economic sanctions taken by the rest of the international community, including key allies like the US, is likely to subject his government to further criticism over its response.

  • In a daily press conference, López Obrador said that it was not Mexico’s place to implement economic measures and that dialogue was the best way to achieve peace. He said the invasion contradicted international law and the principle of non-intervention, but that “moderation… should prevail in foreign policy”.
  • A journalist asked whether there would be reprisals for Russian companies operating in Mexico, referring to Russian airline Aeroflot and Russian oil and gas company Lukoil, which recently acquired a 50% operator interest in an offshore oil project in the Gulf of Mexico. López Obrador replied: “We are not going to take any economic reprisal as we want to maintain good relations with all the governments of the world, and we want to be in a position to talk to those in conflict.”
  • López Obrador’s comments came the same day that Ebrard and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed their perspectives on Ukraine via a phone call. Blinken stated that Mexico was “an important partner in our work to advance democracy and security”, stressing both countries’ condemnation of Russia’s actions and calls for a cease in hostilities.
  • In a move further at odds with the rest of the international community, López Obrador also condemned the “censorship” of Russian media. The European Union has announced it will ban Russian state-backed outlets RT and Sputnik. Leading technology companies including Google, Twitter and Facebook have also banned or restricted access to the outlets on their platforms.

Looking Ahead: As international condemnation of Russia’s invasion intensifies and more sanctions are adopted, the Mexican government will likely face pressure from the political opposition domestically, which has so far remained fairly quiet on the government’s response, and international allies to change its stance.

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