López Obrador proposes a “pause” in relations with Spain


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

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


The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, pleaded this Wednesday for a “pause” in relations with Spain to turn the page on a stage in which, according to the president, the 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 Spain’s role, even going back to conquest. The Mexican president admitted in a media appearance that now “the relationship is not good”.

Because of this, he offered a “break”, saying that is what is “suitable” for both parties. “Maybe when the government changes, relations will be restored and I wish that when I’m gone they won’t be the same as before,” she said.

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

To questions from journalists, who asked him about the possibility of formalizing the “pause”, López Obrador however answered “no”. “It can’t be”, he alleged, to clarify immediately 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 according to him during the presidential term of Felipe Calderón.

More specifically, he calls into question the granting of a gas extraction contract in the Burgos basin, paid at “very high” prices and without results. “In the end, less gas was extracted than Pemex extracted while it had not delivered the contract,” he said.

The director of Pemex, Octavio Romero Oropeza, went into detail, stressing that these were contracts with “all the advantages” for the Spanish company, which “charges the drilling” of the wells and has undertaken many investigations that resulted in “very little” gas for “very few months”.

Likewise, López Obrador 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 while “Repsol was already buying the gas in Peru, ensuring that it had already been sold to Mexico”.

This “arrangement”, he added, ended in the cancellation of the contract when Repsol was unprofitable due to falling prices and “absolutely nothing” happened.


López Obrador also alluded while passing to the contracts of Iberdrola 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 the contracts were signed in an “irregular” way, giving priority to the Spanish firm over other proposals presented by a Carlos Slim company.

“I don’t want to talk about banks, because that’s another chapter,” quipped the Mexican president, pointing out that none of his complaints are new, since already in the campaign he was proposing to review the commercial and political relations with Spain.

On the other hand, the director of Pemex questioned the involvement of the company he now heads in the shipyards of Vigo, stressing that they were “virtually bankrupt” when the Mexican giant decided to “save them “by investing money and commissioning it to build ships that justify its continuity.

When construction of the ships was completed, Pemex did not need them, so an attempt was made to sell them. Then, according to Romero Oropeza, it was found that there was an “excess price”, since “no one wanted to pay more than half” of the 80 million euros that these ships had cost.

“Pemex has never earned a single cent,” lamented the boss of the company, who nevertheless considers the money invested as “recovered”. “Without a doubt” it was “dirty business”, he added.


The Mexican president’s remarks 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 will significantly strengthen relations with Mexico,” he said.

Days earlier, his department had finally granted the petition to Mexico’s new ambassador to Madrid after speculating that the delay could be some sort of retaliation for the critical stance towards Spain and its colonial past that López Obrador maintained. .

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

Although there are no fixed deadlines for the acceptance of the place of a new ambassador by the country of destination, in general, 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 Spain’s colonial legacy, repeatedly demanding that Spain apologize for it. In this sense, he sent King Felipe VI a letter demanding that “the Spanish State recognize its historical responsibility” for the crimes committed during the conquest and “offer the appropriate apologies or political compensation”.

The government, for its part, has always played down the criticisms it has come to frame in “internal debates” of the Aztec country, and has recognized the importance of the relationship with Mexico, “a strategic partner”, but also made it clear that he would not apologize for the past.



Comments are closed.