Foreign policy and defense
Mexico is a nation in North America. Its capital city is Mexico City. In foreign policy, Mexico emphasizes the right to self-determination in one’s own country and adheres strictly to the principle of not interfering with the affairs of other countries. In the 2000s, however, international cooperation gained more room. Mexico participates in regional trade and economic development initiatives, the fight against organized crime and drug smuggling, as well as migration and human rights.
Foreign policy is dominated by relations with the United States. The dependence of the mighty neighbor in the north is great. Four-fifths of Mexico’s exports go to the United States, when demand falls there, hitting the Mexican economy hard. Relations are also affected by traffic north by drugs and job-seekers without a permit over the 300-mile-long common border. In addition to regular trade and investment negotiations, there are ongoing discussions on illegal immigration and drug smuggling to the United States (see also Population and Languages as well as Democracy and Rights).
- Countryaah: Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Mexico for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Mexico has tried to persuade the United States to allow more Mexicans to work legally in the neighboring country, while the United States, for its part, calls for more effective measures to combat illegal immigration. Hundreds of thousands of people cross the border illegally every year, and hundreds of thousands are sent back across the border by US authorities. Hundreds of people perish annually in attempts to get through deserts in the border areas.
The drug smuggling linked to widespread violent crime is a common concern. Mexico is the most important transit country for cocaine deliveries from South America to the United States, and in Mexico cannabis, methamphetamine and heroin are produced for the north market. The United States is calling for tough smuggling to tackle the smuggling, while Mexico says the high demand for drugs in the United States is part of the problem, as is the widespread flow of weapons across the border south.
Wall along the border
Donald Trump’s resignation as President of the United States in 2017 led to a much increased uncertainty in relations between the countries. One of Trump’s main election promises was to build a wall along the border and make Mexico pay. According to the proponents, the wall will shut out Mexicans like Trump in roughly derogatory terms called rapists, drug dealers and job thieves. Some reinforcements have been made by the barriers that already existed along the border, but there is no indication that the United States has made Mexico account for the costs.
By contrast, Trump has put pressure on Mexico to tighten its border guard and actively work to block out Central American migrants trying to get to the United States. He has also threatened to throw out millions of paperless Mexicans from the United States.
Furthermore, Trump promised to tear up the free trade agreement between the countries, but in the end the deal was renegotiated instead (see Economic overview). However, concerns remain high in Mexico over Trump’s free-trade hostile attitude, which is not least targeting the important automotive industry.
Relationships are generally good with the rest of Latin America. Since Andres Manuel López Obrador took office as President in 2018, relations with other left-wing governments have improved and exchange with right-wing governments has decreased. When Bolivia’s president Evo Morales was forced out of power in November 2019, it was Mexico that first received him, and other people from his government. Likewise, Mexico has granted asylum to people belonging to Ecuadorian former leftist President Rafael Correa’s party, which is in conflict with the current more moderate government in Quito.
In the mid-1980s Mexico, together with Colombia, Venezuela and Panama, formed the so-called Contadora group, which worked for peaceful solutions to conflicts in Central America. From the Contadora group arose the Rio group, which came to cover all of Latin America. The Rio Group, in turn, joined the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) which was formally formed in 2011.
Celac has the same member states as the all-American cooperative organization OAS – except that the United States and Canada are also part of the OAS, which was founded as early as 1948. Many see Celac as an attempt to reduce the influence that OAS and thus the United States have in the region, but the organization has not received any influence to speak of.
Mexico also co-founded the Pacific Alliance (Alianza Pacífico) in 2011, along with Chile, Peru and Colombia. It is primarily a trade block but also strives for increased integration on other levels as well. Unlike many other regional initiatives, the Pacific Alliance has in a short time taken concrete steps towards a common market for goods, services and people.
Within the UN, Mexico has been particularly involved in disarmament issues. Mexico has also invested in strengthening ties with countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. A large number of trade agreements have been signed since the 1990s.
Mexico became the first country in Latin America to join the OECD in 1994. Nowadays, Chile and Colombia are also members.
The military has no prominent role in politics. Defense appropriations are low and equipment fairly outdated. Mexico’s military forces are made up of both professional military and partly conscripted by lottery and serving part-time for a year. The military is often used for tasks that are normally regarded as police – as a fight against drug trafficking. In poor states such as Chiapas, the military is accused of gross abuses against the rural population.
FACTS – DEFENSE
Army: 208 350 male (2017)
The air Force: 8,500 men (2017)
The fleet: 60 300 Men (2017)
Military expenditure’s share of GDP: 0.5 percent (2017)
Military spending’s share of the state budget: 2.2 percent (2017)
Murdered migrants are found
Seventy-two murdered men and women are found at a ranch in the state of Tamaulipas. They are believed to be migrants from South and Central America who were kidnapped by the Zeta cartel and murdered when they refused to work for the drug smugglers. After the massacre, the head of the immigration authority resigns.
Violent before the state elections
The electoral movement before the state elections becomes violent. Rodolfo Torre Cantú, PRI candidate and favorite in the governor’s election in the state of Tamaulipas, is murdered. Drug cartels are suspected to be behind the murder. A mayor candidate in Tamaulipas is also murdered.
The Minister of the Interior resigns
Minister of the Interior Fernando Gómez Mont leaves the government following a controversy over the fact that his party PAN has entered into alliance with PRD in order to stop PRI from successes in upcoming state elections. PAN and PRD are usually far apart.
Killed police officers are found
Six police officers with severed heads are found outside a church in the state of Durango in the north. Police suspect the executions are a vengeance for ten members of a drug cartel, the so-called Golf cartel, killed by army soldiers.
Addiction to drug addicts in the United States
US police arrest 300 people affiliated with Mexican drug cartels operating in the United States. The effort, which took place in 19 US states, is largely directed at the drug league La Familia.
Midterm elections make Calderón more difficult
The result of the midterm elections to the Chamber of Deputies makes the situation of President Calderón more difficult during the second half of his six-year term. His party PAN backs and receives 143 of the chamber’s 500 seats. PRI more than doubles its representation, to 237, and resumes its usual role as the largest party. PRD gets 71 seats, PVEM 21, Labor Party 13, Panal 9 and Convergencia 9 seats.
Drug police killed
Eleven federal drug police are found murdered on a road in Michoacán. Everyone has been tortured. The murder is believed to be a revenge for a high-ranking person in the La Familia drug cartel arrested a few days earlier.
Swine flu breaks out in Mexico
About ten people die in swine flu causing panic. For ten days, virtually all of Mexico City is closed in an effort to stop the spread of infection.
The government presents stimulus packages
Measures for the equivalent of about $ 150 million will help prevent the Mexican economy from being infected by the problems in the United States during the housing and financial crisis there.