Northwest University (NU) hosted a public academic conference on Nov. 1 that featured the discussion of U.S-Mexico relations.
Divided into three separate panels on the topic, panelists touched on the subjects of this year’s federal election in Mexico, the perspectives of U.S.-Mexico and the challenges seen in the two countries’ relationship.
Given the recent election of Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the relationship between the two countries could change dramatically. López Obrador said he is ready to bring profound changes to the country’s relationship with the United States, especially at a time when the two nations find themselves increasingly at odds over President Donald Trump’s policies.
The NU community heard from political scientists, historians, legal scholars and Latin Americanists from Universidad Nactional Autónoma de México (UNAM) as well as the University of Arizona, University of Washington, Claremont University, University of New Mexico and NU.
“The future of the American-Mexican relationship can hardly be exaggerated,” NU President, Joseph Castleberry, said. “It’s always been my belief that America has not taken our relationship with Mexico seriously enough. Mexico is one of the most substantial nations in the world. They are our southern neighbor and one of our largest trading partners.”
According to Mexican politics specialist, Roderic Camp, change became the central issue in 2018 because Mexican voters were unhappy with the performance of the Mexican government. More than ever, Mexicans were voting for change.
“At the beginning of this election, nearly eight of 10 Mexicans disapproved of the president’s performance. Voters were deeply interested in eliminating corruption, reducing criminal violence and improving the economy,” Camp said. “Voters most interested in combatting poverty, which affects nearly half the population today, strongly supported López Obrador.”
Camp said increasing citizen’s trust in the government will determine Mexico’s success, and in the long term, influence its relationship with the United States.
Attendees asked if having a strong leader will change the corruption in Mexico. Camp said there needs to be leadership that sets an example. He gave López Obrador credit because he is trying to establish a role model. López Obrador’s intent is to establish the importance of integrity.
The panelist said that only time would tell. The hope is that the United States and Mexico find a way to work together.