Venezuela, the big absence at the Trump-AMLO summit
Por Milton Merlo
Up until the last moment, Secretary Pompeo tried to introduce the issue, which was discarded along with other controversial matters such as the wall and the war on drugs.

Days ago, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau spoke with northern Mexican governors and told them that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's trip to Washington was an opportunity to restore normal bilateral relations.

According to the ambassador, the relationship has so far been dominated by explosive issues such as migrant caravans, border security or tariff disputes. The USMCA would now become an agent of stability, just as López Obrador and Donald Trump are entering the electoral arena in their respective countries and must help each other.

That rhetoric, which became known at the National Palace, imbued the Mexican delegation from the outset with a high degree of optimism regarding the meeting with Trump. This optimism was reflected today, Wednesday, in the exchange of praise and pleasant messages between members of the cabinet and legislators who are close to the president.

The Mexican president's incursion into the Oval Office did not include any thorny issues or outbursts regarding the border wall or the drug war. According to sources in the Mexican delegation that traveled to DC this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tried to introduce the Venezuela issue up to the last minute. It was not possible.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard convinced López Obrador that he was the one who would do the U.S. president a favor with the trip. That is why the trip to Washington, in the middle of a pandemic, with strong internal criticism, with Trump facing extremely negative polling, and with a U.S. economy that presents serious difficulties.

That is why the trip to Washington, in the middle of a pandemic, with strong internal criticism, with Trump facing extremely negative polls and, and a severely weakened economy in the United States.

President López Obrador promptly endorsed his foreign minister's thesis. Yesterday, Tuesday, on the plane that took him to Washington, the president mentioned, with respect to last night's dinner at the White House, that he would be arriving in the United States accompanied by the owners of the largest companies in Mexico, and not by general managers, as is the case of the American executives that Trump invited.

Pompeo wanted to talk about Venezuela because of an issue that concerns the Mexican military who have communication with the Pentagon. Recently the U.S. withdrew 9,500 soldiers stationed in Germany. The next destination for these troops could be Latin America.

On Wednesday AMLO was not even close to suffering certain situations experienced by Luis Videgaray or Ildefonso Guajardo, former government officials of the previous administration, who had to deal with Trump when he was at the height of his political power.

Jared Kushner's presence at the meeting was almost decorative. The senior advisor is often a buffer for the outbursts of his father-in-law, but this time he only had to smile for the pictures. According to members of the Mexican business delegation, on Thursday Kushner will talk to a few Mexican tycoons. The funding of the presidential reelection campaign is an almost unavoidable topic.

López Obrador assumes -and we will see if he is right- that this week he closed the circle, and just as Trump helped him during the oil negotiations with OPEC, or did not criticize him when the Mexican authorities had to release Chapo Guzmán's son after detaining him last year, now he comes to the White House, as a sort of reinforcement for a leader who is going through his most difficult moments.

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