Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard's trip to Russia next week is keeping the State Department in alert. Vladimir Putin is becoming Washington's main enemy and the government is carefully observing any kind of rapprochement with Mexico.
In Russia, Ebrard is meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, but officials at the US Embassy in Mexico City have shown signs that they are keeping an eye on a possible photo with Putin. That would be an unwelcome image, since it exposes the fear of the State Department that Russia will want to use its Covid-19 vaccine production to increase its power in the region. That situation is being called the geopolitics of vaccines, as explained by journalist Raymundo Riva Palacio, at LPO.
The Mexican government does not confirm a possible meeting between Ebrard and Putin, however, officials have not denied it either.
This week Joe Biden threw himself fully against the Kremlin. He accused Russia of an alleged interference in the 2016 election that gave Donald Trump the victory, froze accounts of Russian citizens in the US, and announced a series of sanctions aimed at isolating Russia from the international financial community.
Incidentally, the history of electoral interference affects Mexico. Supposedly, the Russian bot farms that operated on Trump's behalf on social media operated on Mexican territory. It's not a fictional story. Trump's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed the information to Luis Videgaray at a meeting in Los Pinos in February 2018. The reason for the warning was that the same operation could work for AndrÃ©s Manuel LÃ³pez Obrador.
It's not just relevant to the past. During contacts of Mexican officials with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, there were mentions on at least two occasions that, while China was Trump's rival, Russia is Biden enemy, so there must be caution when introducing Russian companies in strategic sectors of the Mexican economy.
The most emblematic case in this regard refers to oil company DEA, which operates blocks obtained during the energy reform. The company is German, based in Hamburg but is controlled by a fund owned by an oligarch close to Putin.
Ebrard is aware of these details and that is why he intends to visit all sources of current global power in fewer than 10 days, which brings him closer to the figure of an equilibrist in terms of foreign relations.
Russia has promised Mexico 24 million doses of the vaccine, but has only dispatched one million. The question in the minds of American diplomats is what exactly is Ebrard willing to offer to accelerate that flow.
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