López Obrador proposes a “pause” in relations with Spain

The Mexican president questions the contracts signed by previous governments with Repsol, OHL, Iberdrola and Vigo shipyards

Albares had recently assured that there was interest in “opening a new page” in the relationship


The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has advocated this Wednesday for a “pause” in relations with Spain to turn the page to a stage in which, according to the president, Spanish authorities and companies have taken advantage of the North American country.

“They were like the owners of Mexico,” said López Obrador, who has repeatedly criticized the role of Spain, going back even to the conquest. The Mexican president has admitted in an appearance before the media that now “the relationship is not good.”

For this reason, he has proposed “pausing”, claiming that it is what is “convenient” for both parties. “Perhaps when the government changes, relations will be restored and I wish that when I am no longer here, they would not be the same as they were before,” she declared.

In this sense, he believes that Mexico has borne “the worst part” of economic and political “promiscuity” in bilateral relations in recent decades. “They looted us,” López Obrador has sentenced before the media.

To questions from journalists, who have questioned him about the possibility of formalizing the “pause”, López Obrador has, however, replied “no”. “That cannot be done”, he has alleged, to immediately specify that it was only a “comment”.


During his speech, López Obrador alluded to several Spanish companies as an example of alleged bad practices, including Repsol, favored in his opinion during the presidential term of Felipe Calderón.

Specifically, it questions the granting of a contract to extract gas in the Burgos Basin, paid at “very high” prices and without results. “In the end, less gas was extracted than Pemex extracted when it had not delivered the contract,” he declared.

The director of Pemex, Octavio Romero Oropeza, has delved into details, pointing out that these were contracts with “all the advantages” for the Spanish company, which “charged for drilling” wells and undertook numerous surveys that resulted in “very little” of gas for “a very few months”.

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Likewise, López Obrador has recalled another agreement signed with Repsol, for 26,000 million dollars, to import gas from Peru. According to the Mexican president, the contract had not even been signed when “Repsol was already buying the gas in Peru, assuring that it had already been sold in Mexico.”

This “arrangement”, he added, concluded with the cancellation of the contract when Repsol was not profitable due to the drop in price and “absolutely nothing” happened.


López Obrador has also alluded in passing to Iberdrola contracts and, in more detail, to OHL, which he links to the time of Enrique Peña Nieto. In the case of the construction company, he considers that contracts were signed in an “irregular” way, prioritizing the Spanish firm over other proposals presented by a Carlos Slim company.

“I don’t want to talk about the banks, because it’s another chapter,” the Mexican president has ironized, pointing out that none of his complaints is new, to the extent that already in the campaign he proposed reviewing business and political relations with Spain.

On the other hand, the director of Pemex has questioned the involvement of the company he now runs in the Vigo shipyards, pointing out that they were “practically bankrupt” when the Mexican giant decided to “rescue” them by investing money and commissioning him to build ships that justified its continuity.

When the construction of the ships was completed, Pemex did not require them, so an attempt was made to sell them. Then, according to Romero Oropeza, it was found that there was an “overprice”, since “nobody wanted to pay more than half” of the 80 million euros that these ships had cost.

“Pemex never earned a single penny,” lamented the head of the company, which nevertheless considers the money invested “recovered.” “Undoubtedly”, it was “a lousy business”, he has added.


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The words of the Mexican president come less than two weeks after the Minister of Foreign Affairs, EU and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, assured during an appearance in the Senate that there was “interest in opening a new page.” “In the coming months we are going to greatly strengthen relations with Mexico,” he said.

Days before, his department had finally granted the placet to the new Mexican ambassador in Madrid after it had been speculated that the delay could be some kind of retaliation for the critical position towards Spain and its colonial past that López Obrador has been maintaining. .

The Mexican president announced in September that the ambassador to Spain would be Quirino Ordaz, governor at the time of Sinaloa and a prominent PRI leader. However, it was not until November, once Ordaz had left office, that the placet for the new ambassador was formally requested from Spain.

Although there are no set deadlines for the acceptance of the placet of a new ambassador by the country of destination, as a general rule, in practice, the process does not usually take more than a few weeks. For this reason, in Mexico some media had speculated that the delay would be the result of the confrontational policy that López Obrador has maintained with Spain since his arrival at the Palacio de los Pinos.

The Mexican president has been highly critical of the Spanish colonial legacy, demanding on several occasions that Spain apologize for it. In this sense, he sent King Felipe VI a letter demanding that “the Spanish State admit its historical responsibility” for the offenses committed during the conquest and “offer the appropriate apologies or political compensation”.

The Government, for its part, has at all times minimized the criticism, which it has come to frame in “the internal debates” of the Aztec country, and has recognized the importance of the relationship with Mexico, “a strategic partner”, but has also made it clear that he will not apologize for the past.


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