Max de Haldevang, Bloomberg News
EnergiesNet.com 01 11 2023
The question was about migration. But Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had a lot to say on just about everything else.
Standing between US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a summit-ending news conference in Mexico City on Tuesday, the Mexican leader, known as AMLO, spent about 28 minutes answering a single reporter’s questions as his guests fiddled uncomfortably at their lecterns.
He touched on malaria vaccines, scholarships for disabled children, his Mayan train project and “beautiful, well-dressed men and women with jewelry” in TV crime dramas.
He talked about fentanyl and vapes and, toward the very end, asked Biden to help Mexican immigrants in the US.
Unaccustomed to Lopez Obrador’s daily press conferences, which often stretch to near three hours, Biden and Trudeau stared politely at their lecterns, their feet, the sky. Anywhere that might provide distraction.
The awkward news conference was in keeping with the tone of the summit, known colloquially as “Three Amigos.” On Monday, AMLO kicked off a meeting with Biden by delivering a complaint about US indifference toward Mexico and Latin America. The US president, clearly annoyed, responded that he didn’t have the luxury of focusing only on countries in the Americas.
“The United States provides more foreign aid than every other country, just about combined, in the world to not just the hemisphere but around the world,” Biden told his counterpart in the meeting. “Unfortunately, our responsibility just doesn’t end in the Western Hemisphere.”
As AMLO’s question-and-mostly-answer session wound down, he upbraided Mexican television networks for failing to condemn gangsters. Finally, he seemed to feel the January chill in the outdoor courtyard of Mexico’s 16th-century National Palace.
“Well, that’s all we’ve been talking about — I’ve run over my time and it’s very cold,” AMLO said.
“Oh, no no,” Trudeau muttered, with a slight grin.
The world’s most powerful person, meanwhile, hadn’t had the chance to answer all the questions posed to him.
“I want the record to show I don’t know what questions I didn’t answer,” Biden said. “I’m prepared later. Thank you very much.”
Trudeau managed to smile with AMLO as the three men posed for a photo. Biden stood with his mouth open in bemusement.
–With assistance from Justin Sink, Josh Wingrove, Maya Averbuch and Eric Martin
bloomberg.com 01 11 2023