Cuban President Fidel Castro says it shows Mexico has become a lackey of the United States.
Armand Peschard-Sverdrup, director of the Mexico Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, however, said the expulsion of Cuba’s ambassador to Mexico and the recall of Mexico’s ambassador to Cuba “is indicative of Mexico’s more independent foreign policy. Mexico has matured and evolved and Cuba hasn’t.”
There’s also some fascinating political intrigue behind the action.
The ostensible reason for the rift is that Mexico recently supported a U.N. resolution calling for the United Nations to investigate human-rights abuses in Cuba, and Castro criticized Mexican President Vicente Fox. Castro also criticized Peru, which also voted for the resolution and recalled its ambassador to Cuba.
In Mexico’s case, however, there’s more to it. Under the PRI, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, Mexico maintained close relations with Cuba even when most Latin American countries cut diplomatic ties. When Fox became the first non-PRI president, things changed. There are policy differences and bad blood between Fox and Castro.
Furthermore, Cuba just deported a Mexican businessman, Carlos Ahumada, who had videotapes of himself allegedly offering bribes to politicians close to Lopez Obrador, the leftist mayor of Mexico City who may run for president in 2006. There are suspicions Ahumada may have dirt on officials close to Fox as well. And Cuban diplomats recently visited with members of Obrador’s Party of the Democratic Revolution, leading Mexican officials to suspect Cuba is meddling in Mexican politics.
We doubt that cutting diplomatic ties is wise. But it’s indicative of Cuba’s increasing isolation in Latin America — and political intrigue.