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“Look to the south”: The keys of the Mexican chancellor’s tour of Peru, Bolivia and Colombia to strengthen relations with the region

The Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Marcelo Ebrard, began a tour of Peru, Bolivia and Colombia with a view to strengthening the political and economic alliances of the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in South America.

The tour, in addition, is part of the intense pre-campaign carried out by the chancellor, since he is one of the main candidates to succeed López Obrador in the 2024 presidential elections.

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Prior to his departure, the Secretariat explained in a statement that the tour is intended to endorse the commitment to strengthen ties of friendship and cooperation, as part of the “Look South” strategy.

Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard and the President of Peru, Pedro Castillo, meet in Lima. August 3, 2022 (Photo internet reproduction)

In addition, these are countries with leftist governments with which the Mexican president maintains a strong alliance, since he has publicly supported the leaders of Peru, Pedro Castillo; and Bolivia, Luis Arce; and Gustavo Petro, who will assume power in Colombia next Sunday.

Ebrard’s first stopover was Lima, where he met with Castillo at midnight on Wednesday, at the end of a day that marked a new political crisis for the Peruvian president due to the resignation of Aníbal Torres, the fourth president of the Council. of Ministers that he has had in just one year of Government.

According to the official statement, the foreign minister conveyed López Obrador’s “greetings and affection” to Castillo, and invited him to participate in the Pacific Alliance Summit to be held in Mexico in November.

After a private session, both led a working meeting with businessmen from both countries, in which it was agreed to increase the exchange in tourism, investment and trade. Currently, Mexican companies maintain investments of US$16 billion dollars in Peru, especially in areas such as telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, food, mining, financial services and insurance.

LITHIUM

Ebrard continued the tour to Bolivia, where this Thursday he will meet with Arce, one of the Latin American presidents closest to López Obrador, with whom he usually endorses the brotherly relationship and gratitude for the role played by Mexico after the coup that former president Evo Morales suffered in November 2019.

This is the longest stop of the trip, since the foreign minister will hold events in the cities of La Paz, Uyuni and Sucre, and will signal the restart of the work of the Mexico-Bolivia Chamber of Commerce and Investment (Camexbol), made up of 25 companies in sectors such as white goods, mining, construction, electric vehicle manufacturing, insurance and the stock market, among others.

He will also lead a ceremony together with the new honorary consul of Mexico in Santa Cruz, Luis Fernando Saavedra, and will hold a meeting with leaders of the Mennonite community of Mexican origin residing in that South American country.

The activity that arouses the greatest expectation is the visit that he will make tomorrow to the Salar de Uyuni, which is the largest reserve of brine-type lithium in the world.

Ebrard will tour the Bolivian Lithium Deposits Plant (YLB) as part of a strategy to promote collaboration between the two countries and learn first-hand about the Bolivian experience in exploration and exploitation, at a time when Mexico seeks to advance in a scheme informal regional cooperation of the Latin American countries that have the largest reserves of this mineral.

“Bolivia is one of the countries that has one of the largest reserves in the world, and it is a dialogue that matters to us and interests us. If Latin America coordinates, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Mexico would have more than 65% of lithium from around the world, is one of the strategic minerals for the future,” explained the chancellor, who elaborated on the subject in a column published in the Bolivian newspaper La Razón.

“This strategic metal places Bolivia in first place in world reserves and Mexico in tenth place. For the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, lithium is a key mineral for the country’s energy future, which is why Bolivia becomes a natural ally for the development and consolidation of the industry for the benefit of both peoples,” he said.

On Saturday, Ebrard will participate as guest of honor in the celebration of the 197th Anniversary of Bolivian Independence and then will leave for Colombia, where on Sunday he will attend the inauguration of Petro, with whom he will also meet in private.

“With Colombia we have a very close and growing relationship in tourism, in investments, in many issues, so it is one of Mexico’s priority relationships,” assured the chancellor before leaving.

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