AMLO’s Regional Leadership Ambitions Could Sink the Pacific Alliance

AMLO’s Regional Leadership Ambitions Could Sink the Pacific Alliance
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gives his daily, morning press conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, Nov. 14, 2022 (AP photo by Marco Ugarte).

Last week, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador canceled a leaders’ summit of the Pacific Alliance—a trade- and market-integration grouping comprising Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru—that was scheduled to be held in Mexico this month, after the Peruvian Congress prevented President Pedro Castillo from traveling abroad. Lopez Obrador, or AMLO, claimed he did not want to hold the meeting without full attendance of the group’s members. The rescheduled meeting appears likely to be held in Peru in early December.

The controversy preventing Castillo from attending highlights a challenge for the group, which is floundering for a purpose and facing its own internal tensions. Simply put, politics and political drama threaten to undermine the Pacific Alliance. And AMLO’s desire to use the group to advance his own regional political leadership could create new frictions.

Now over a decade old, the Pacific Alliance was founded by its four member states back when they all had centrist and center-right presidents. The group was quickly a success for economic integration in a region that has seen far too many international organizations fail.

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