AMLO and Venezuela: Op-Ed in Mexico’s Reforma

Just days ahead of the inauguration of Mexico’s new President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexican newspaper Reforma published a column I authored (view PDF here to get around the paywall) about the potential for AMLO to play a productive role in responding to Venezuela’s crisis. The Mexican president-elect’s invitation to Maduro to attend his inauguration on December 1 will be an important opportunity for AMLO to put such an approach into action.

As I’ve said before, Mexico under AMLO is uniquely positioned to push for meaningful negotiations between the government and the opposition, at a time when credible interlocutors are sorely lacking. Of course, the conditions for such negotiations do not appear to be in place currently. This will mean they will have to be created, which won’t be easy, but in doing so Mexico would not be alone.  The Mexican government could join efforts with other governments in the hemisphere that have taken a more independent stance toward Venezuela, such as Uruguay and Ecuador. The European Union (EU) could also be a possible ally. In recent weeks, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, has said that although mediation or dialogue seems impossible under the current circumstances, the bloc is interested in creating a “contact group”of governments that can facilitate communication and build a political solution.

The solution to the crisis in Venezuela will require innovative thinking and diplomatic muscle, and Mexico is well suited to this role. From its past work in the Contadora Group to its support of Colombia’s peace process, Mexico has developed a strong, professional diplomatic corps with experience in peacebuilding and conflict mediation. This trajectory, combined with AMLO’s unique political positioning, access to the Maduro government, and interest in new approaches, could herald promising returns.