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Leaders of Mexico, Brazil finally congratulate Biden

December 16, 2020

The presidents of Mexico and Brazil have become the last major Latin American leaders to congratulate US President-elect Joe Biden on his victory in the November election.

US President-elect Joe Biden
Image: Susan Walsh/AP Photo/picture alliance

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Tuesday congratulated US President-elect Joe Biden on his victory in the US elections last month.

Nearly all other world leaders offered their congratulations weeks ago. The two Latin American heads of state, however, waited for an official confirmation of the US Electoral College before reaching out to the incoming president, following the example set by Russia's Vladimir Putin.

Read more: Vladimir Putin congratulates Joe Biden after Electoral College confirmation

This leaves North Korea’s Kim Jong Un as the only key international leader, other than the outgoing US President Donald Trump, who has not recognized Biden’s win over a month after the election.

President Trump has refused to concede defeat. Instead, he has made unsubstantiated claims of widespread voting fraud without providing any proof. He has also pursued several unsuccessful legal efforts to overturn the results.

Brazil’s ideological differences

Bolsonaro, who had echoed Trump’s concerns over the legitimacy of the election results, acknowledged Biden's victory in  Twitter post. In recent weeks, Bolsonaro's opponents speculated that the delay could alienate the upcoming US administration. 

"Greetings to President Joe Biden, with my best wishes and the hope that the United States will remain 'the land of the free and the brave," Bolsonaro said on Twitter. 

He pledged to work with the new administration "in defense of sovereignty, democracy and freedom around the world" with an emphasis on the economic-commercial integration for the benefit of the citizens of both countries.

Mexico’s chilly letter

President Lopez Obrador also wrote a congratulatory letter to Biden, emphasizing the need for maintaining good relations between the two neighbors. However, the tone of the delayed letter was somewhat frosty, warning the US against involvement in Mexico’s internal affairs.

"We are certain that, with you as president of the United States, it will be possible to continue applying the basic principles of foreign policy contained in the (Mexican) constitution, especially non-intervention and the right to self-determination,'' Lopez Obrador’s letter read.

His government has reacted angrily to US intervention in the country's drug corruption problem in the past.

"I also want to express my recognition of your position in favor of Mexican and the world's migrants, which will allow the continuation of our plan to promote development and well-being in southeast Mexico and among the countries of Central America," Lopez Obrador wrote, signalling at Mexico’s continued efforts to act as a buffer for migrants.

Trump had put pressure on Mexico’s leader to reduce the inflow of US-bound migrants. But the outgoing US president did not prod Mexico on issues like human rights or corruption.

see/dj (AP, Reuters)