When President Barack Obama meets this week with President Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico, he will be visiting a country that was much maligned throughout his first term.
Washington has viewed Mexico largely as a source of problems for the United States in the past six years. Many Mexicans, in a mirror image, consider the United States the origin of their troubles. They blame Mexico’s epidemic of violent crime on an insatiable appetite for drugs and loose control over gun and ammunition sales in the United States. In addition, the U.S. financial crisis left the Mexican economy reeling in 2009.
But in the past year, particularly since Peña Nieto’s election in July 2012, Mexico’s standing in the United States and internationally has increased dramatically — along with its national self-esteem.
2009 has not been a good year for U.S.-Latin America relations. Despite their warm welcome at the April Summit, Latin America’s governments made life more difficult than anticipated for President Obama.
Inter-American relations have taken a disappointing course for the Obama Administration. The US has suffered several political setbacks in the region and little progress has been made on most of the “legacy” issues that Obama inherited.