Mexico stands alone within the 14-country Lima Group in not recognizing Juan Guaido, leader of the National Assembly, as interim president of Venezuela. The nation doubled down on its tacit backing of President Nicolas Maduro by also rejecting the joint call from Spain, France, United Kingdom, Netherlands and other nations of the European Union, along with left-leaning Ecuador, Costa Rica and Uruguay, for a peaceful democratic transition through new and transparent elections. Rather than join some 50 democratic nations, Mexico has sided with a more autocratic bunch, Cuba, Russia, China and Turkey among them, proffering weak calls for dialogue along the lines of those that have failed many times in the past.
Mexico’s about-face on Venezuela has surprised many. It wasn’t just that Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, colloquially known as Amlo, rejected the previous administration’s position: That has happened across many policy arenas. It was that he spurned a growing regional and indeed global consensus against the Maduro regime, and that he has eschewed domestic public opinion. Amlo’s more callous take on the political goings-on in his South American neighbor will diminish his political capital at home and abroad.
Just weeks into Amlo’s presidency, Venezuela’s dismal situation exploded. With last May’s rigged elections unrecognized by so many in and out of the country, the opposition rallied around the head of the National Assembly to take the helm and call new elections. Nearly all of Latin America, Canada, the United States and Europe backed the call.