Mexico’s new president has unveiled a plan to address US-bound migration, signing an agreement with Central American leaders within hours of donning the presidential sash.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, sworn in on Saturday, was always expected to hit the ground running – but even so, the speed of the announcement surprised.
In a deal that will likely delight Donald Trump, Mr Lopez Obrador agreed with the presidents of Honduras and Guatemala, and the vice-president of El Salvador, to create a fund to stem the US-bound flows of migrants.
Leaders of the four countries have agreed to ask their finance ministries, in the first quarter of 2019, to come up with a plan which includes “programmes, projects, and specific actions, for the sake of jobs generation and poverty fight in the region.”
The programmes will be supported by an “integral development plan”, aimed at making the Central American nations a better place to live, and thus reduce the number of those leaving. It will be backed by CEPAL – the economic commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
“Present today is my friend Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party of Great Britain,” Mr Lopez Obrador told the packed Chamber of Deputies, as Mr Corbyn stood up from his seat behind Ms Trump to wave and accept the applause.
More controversial to the assembled deputies and dignitaries was Nicolas Maduro, the Venezuelan president, who was forced to stay away from the ceremony owing to massive protests. When his name was mentioned, politicians yelled “dictator!” and marched to the front of the podium, unfurling a banner which read: “Nicolas Maduro, you are not welcome”.
Mr Maduro did, however, attend the lunch at the National Palace after the ceremony – arriving with a huge entourage, who were not permitted to enter, and then scuffled with security outside the building.
Inside the National Palace, Mr Maduro took a happy photo seated beside Cuba’s leader, Miguel Diaz-Canel, and Evo Morales of Bolivia – who earlier on Saturday held a bilateral meeting with Mr Corbyn.