segunda-feira, 10 de agosto de 2009
Obama no México para cimeira tripartida com Canadá e mexicanos
Um artigo de Ginger Thompson e Marc Lacey, no New York Times:
«President Barack Obama began a summit meeting here Sunday night with his Mexican and Canadian counterparts that touched on a broad range of issues including climate change, the economic crisis, the swine flu pandemic and the battle against illegal drugs.
President Obama greeted Carlos Pascual, the United States ambassador to Mexico, after landing in Guadalajara on Sunday.
The annual meeting was started four years ago as a way for the neighboring countries to build on ties established by the North American Free Trade Agreement. As much as they bring the countries together, the meetings have also served to highlight deep differences, particularly on trade and immigration.
Expectations were low that those differences would be resolved in the whirlwind of meetings on Sunday and Monday.
“I think the summit is going to be a step in the continuing dialogue from which agreements will undoubtedly come,” Gen. James L. Jones, Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, said before the meetings began. “I think we’ll see more of these dialogues. And as I said, from that, I think good things will come.”
Immigration was raised again, but this time tensions were expected to be focused on Mexicans entering Canada, not the United States.
Too many Mexicans, the Canadian government complained, are fraudulently claiming political asylum in Canada, overwhelming the system. So Canada announced last month that it would begin requiring Mexican citizens to secure visas before entering the country, a decision that elicited outrage in Mexico.
The Mexicans struck back with an announcement that Canadian diplomats and government officials would now require visas to enter Mexico.
Although some angry Mexican lawmakers urged President Felipe Calderón to go further and require visas for all Canadian visitors, Mr. Calderón held off, not wanting to damage Mexico’s tourism industry, which relies heavily on North American visitors.
Mexico also raised a trade dispute that began when the United States Congress canceled a program, in violation of Nafta, that allowed Mexican trucks to operate in the United States.
Mexico responded by imposing billions of dollars in tariffs on American products. The Obama administration said it was seeking to resolve the dispute, but did not have a deal ready in time for the meeting.
Another irritant is the “Buy American” clause in the Obama administration’s economic stimulus plan, which both Canada and Mexico oppose. An aide to Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada told reporters last week that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the Canadian leader raised the issue of protectionism with Mr. Obama.
Even on the issue of combating Mexico’s drug violence there is political discord. The American aid package for Mexico says that 15 percent of the funds can be disbursed only if the State Department decides that the Mexican government meets certain human rights conditions. Reports that Mexico’s army has engaged in torture and other abuses while carrying out the drug war have prompted some in Congress to oppose releasing those funds.
Mr. Calderón’s government has characterized any abuses as isolated. And in a meeting with reporters before Mr. Obama’s trip to Mexico this week, his aides defended the army’s record and argued for the aid to be released.
The Obama administration has indicated that it favors giving the aid.
“I think the Calderón government has, in fact, performed very courageously in the face of these cartels, and I think we have to do everything we can to be a helpful neighbor and partner,” said General Jones, the national security adviser.
Another topic on the agenda is the political crisis in Honduras, where the provisional government and the president it sent into exile in a cou p in June, Manuel Zelaya, have been unable to come to terms.
The country’s interim leader, Roberto Micheletti, said Sunday that he would not allow a delegation of the Organization of American States and regional delegates to enter Honduras for crisis talks this week if the O.A.S. secretary general, José Miguel Insulza, was among them. Mr. Micheletti accused Mr. Insulza of lacking “impartiality and professionalism.”
A senior White House official said that he believed there was still time to work out an arrangement for the delegation’s visit, scheduled for Tuesday, and news agencies later reported that Mr. Micheletti’s government said that a meeting could be held if Mr. Insulza was only an observer. It was not clear when the meeting might take place.
The delegation had planned to visit Honduras to build support for a proposed settlement forged in negotiations mediated by President Óscar Arias of Costa Rica. The plan calls for Mr. Zelaya to return as president, although with significantly limited powers.»