Mexico’s president recently accused the United States of interfering with the country’s internal affairs. Is there truth to these claims?
On May 7, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador accused the United States of interfering with the nation’s internal politics. López Obrador, alternatively known as AMLO, made the statements prior to a virtual meeting with US vice-president Kamala Harris. The claims were not mentioned during the meeting between Obrador and Harris.
“Speaking at his morning press conference on Friday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called it “reprehensible” that the US government would fund a prominent anti-corruption group and the press freedom organization Article 19, whose work was cited in the state department’s annual human rights report on Mexico.
“It’s interference, it’s interventionism, it’s promoting coup-plotters,” said López Obrador, who announced that Mexico had filed a formal protest with the US embassy.”
AMLO also sent a “diplomatic note” accusing the United States of attempting to undermine his government by funding the organization Mexicanos Contra La Corrupcion y La Impunidad (Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity). The note calls on the US embassy to confirm if MCCI is receiving support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID). AMLO said the US should suspend any funding for MCCI.
“The financing of [this] group by the US government, is an act of interventionism, which violates our sovereignty,” AMLO said. “That’s why we’re asking for them to clarify this, because it’s a foreign government.”
Claudio X González, founder of MCCI, tweeted that its work was “legal” and that AMLO’s criticism showed a “serious misunderstanding” of international cooperation.
While The Guardian accused AMLO of “repeatedly” using “conspiratorial language to describe the work of civil society organizations”, the outlet made no effort to verify the claims made by AMLO. Let’s take a moment to determine whether the accusations have any merit.
The Evidence for AMLO’s claims
With five minutes of research one can find MCCI’s “Transparency” page where you see that the organization openly lists support from the Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and USAID. USAID is ostensibly an “independent agency of the United States federal government” that handles “civilian foreign aid”. USAID is one of the largest official aid agencies in the world and accounts for more than half of all U.S. foreign assistance.
Despite the obvious connection between MCCI and USAID, The Guardian and other western media failed to acknowledge the relationship.
Regarding Article 19, AMLO’s statements about financing are also proven true. In a Financial Statements document released on December 31, 2019, it shows donations of 257,488 Euros from NED. There are also donations of 844,590 Euros from USAID and 1.9 million Euros directly from the US Department of State.
The “International Annual Report” for 2019, also lists George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, the Ford Foundation, NED, USAID, and the US Department of State as donors.
Why do these connections to NED and USAID matter?
Both US AID and the NED have been linked to countless regime change efforts abroad, including Egypt (2013) and Ukraine (2014). Journalist Tony Cartalucci reports on the deep ties between NED and the national security apparatus:
“But the NED board of directors includes many, many other characters with open ties to corrupt corporate-financier interests and proven track records of eagerly promoting war and enabling US-backed regime change around the globe.
The National Endowment for Democracy is using the “promotion of democracy” as that smokescreen while engaged in political interference and regime change abroad in the pursuit of serving the corporate interests represented by the board of directors and those who fund NED directly.”
The NED was created as a non-profit corporation via funding from the USAID, which has also been accused of being a tool for conducting activities favorable to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under the guise of providing foreign aid. Both organizations have been involved in funding “activist” movements in countries which do not align with U.S. policy.
In 1986 The New York Times reported:
“The concept of the endowment took shape as the country moved from the dark self-doubts after the Vietnam War into a new era of confidence in its own virtues and a conviction that democracy should be supported publicly and proudly, without the secrecy that tainted the C.I.A.’s activities.
‘We should not have to do this kind of work covertly,” said Carl Gershman, president of the endowment, who was an aide to Jeane J. Kirkpatrick when she was the chief United States delegate to the United Nations. ‘‘It would be terrible for democratic groups around the world to be seen as subsidized by the C.I.A. We saw that in the 60’s, and that’s why it has been discontinued. We have not had the capability of doing this, and that’s why the endowment was created.”
Mr. Gershman says that there is no contact between the C.I.A. and the endowment and that before grants are made, a list of the potential recipients is sent by the endowment through the State Department to the C.I.A. to be sure none of them are getting covert funds.”
As part of a 2010 investigation by ProPublica, Paul Steiger, then editor in chief of the outlet, said that “those who spearheaded creation of NED have long acknowledged it was part of an effort to move from covert to overt efforts to foster democracy”. Steiger cited a 1991 interview with then-NED president Allen Weinstein as evidence. In the interview Weinstein stated, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA. The biggest difference is that when such activities are done overtly, the flap potential is close to zero. Openness is its own protection.”
Critics have long compared USAID and NED funding Nicaraguan groups in the 1980s and 90s to the efforts of the CIA to overthrow governments throughout Latin America in the 1950s and 60s. I recommend reading this analysis of NED involvement in Latin America for a deeper understanding.
Why Won’t the Media Acknowledge These Connections?
The organizations funding MCCI and Article 19 have direct connections to the US government and a history of attempting to influence and/or overthrow governments using foreign aid as a cover. This goes for USAID and NED, as well as the Open Society Foundation and the Ford Foundation.
The western media’s insistence on not investigating AMLO’s claims, and instead referring to them as “conspiracy theories” is just one more piece of evidence highlighting the failure of the corporate media to practice actual journalism.