Foreign policy and defense
In foreign policy, Mexico emphasizes the
right to self-determination in one's own country and
adheres strictly to the principle of not interfering
with the affairs of other countries. In the 2000s,
however, international cooperation gained more room.
Mexico participates in regional trade and economic
development initiatives, the fight against organized
crime and drug smuggling, as well as migration and human
Foreign policy is dominated by relations with the
United States. The dependence of the mighty neighbor in
the north is great. Four-fifths of Mexico's exports go
to the United States, when demand falls there, hitting
the Mexican economy hard. Relations are also affected by
traffic north by drugs and job-seekers without a permit
over the 300-mile-long common border. In addition to
regular trade and investment negotiations, there are
ongoing discussions on illegal immigration and drug
smuggling to the United States (see also Population and
Languages as well as Democracy and Rights).
Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Mexico for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Mexico has tried to persuade the United States to
allow more Mexicans to work legally in the neighboring
country, while the United States, for its part, calls
for more effective measures to combat illegal
immigration. Hundreds of thousands of people cross the
border illegally every year, and hundreds of thousands
are sent back across the border by US authorities.
Hundreds of people perish annually in attempts to get
through deserts in the border areas.
The drug smuggling linked to widespread violent crime
is a common concern. Mexico is the most important
transit country for cocaine deliveries from South
America to the United States, and in Mexico cannabis,
methamphetamine and heroin are produced for the north
market. The United States is calling for tough smuggling
to tackle the smuggling, while Mexico says the high
demand for drugs in the United States is part of the
problem, as is the widespread flow of weapons across the
Wall along the border
Donald Trump's resignation as President of the United
States in 2017 led to a much increased uncertainty in
relations between the countries. One of Trump's main
election promises was to build a wall along the border
and make Mexico pay. According to the proponents, the
wall will shut out Mexicans like Trump in roughly
derogatory terms called rapists, drug dealers and job
thieves. Some reinforcements have been made by the
barriers that already existed along the border, but
there is no indication that the United States has made
Mexico account for the costs.
By contrast, Trump has put pressure on Mexico to
tighten its border guard and actively work to block out
Central American migrants trying to get to the United
States. He has also threatened to throw out millions of
paperless Mexicans from the United States.
Furthermore, Trump promised to tear up the free trade
agreement between the countries, but in the end the deal
was renegotiated instead (see Economic overview).
However, concerns remain high in Mexico over Trump's
free-trade hostile attitude, which is not least
targeting the important automotive industry.
Relationships are generally good with the rest of
Latin America. Since Andres Manuel López Obrador took
office as President in 2018, relations with other
left-wing governments have improved and exchange with
right-wing governments has decreased. When Bolivia's
president Evo Morales was forced out of power in
November 2019, it was Mexico that first received him,
and other people from his government. Likewise, Mexico
has granted asylum to people belonging to Ecuadorian
former leftist President Rafael Correa's party, which is
in conflict with the current more moderate government in
In the mid-1980s Mexico, together with Colombia,
Venezuela and Panama, formed the so-called Contadora
group, which worked for peaceful solutions to conflicts
in Central America. From the Contadora group arose the
Rio group, which came to cover all of Latin America. The
Rio Group, in turn, joined the Community of Latin
American and Caribbean States (Celac) which was formally
formed in 2011.
Celac has the same member states as the all-American
cooperative organization OAS - except that the United
States and Canada are also part of the OAS, which was
founded as early as 1948. Many see Celac as an attempt
to reduce the influence that OAS and thus the United
States have in the region, but the organization has not
received any influence to speak of.
Mexico also co-founded the Pacific Alliance (Alianza
Pacífico) in 2011, along with Chile, Peru and Colombia.
It is primarily a trade block but also strives for
increased integration on other levels as well. Unlike
many other regional initiatives, the Pacific Alliance
has in a short time taken concrete steps towards a
common market for goods, services and people.
Within the UN, Mexico has been particularly involved
in disarmament issues. Mexico has also invested in
strengthening ties with countries in Asia, Africa and
the Middle East. A large number of trade agreements have
been signed since the 1990s.
Mexico became the first country in Latin America to
join the OECD in 1994. Nowadays, Chile and Colombia are
The military has no prominent role in politics.
Defense appropriations are low and equipment fairly
outdated. Mexico's military forces are made up of both
professional military and partly conscripted by lottery
and serving part-time for a year. The military is often
used for tasks that are normally regarded as police - as
a fight against drug trafficking. In poor states such as
Chiapas, the military is accused of gross abuses against
the rural population.
FACTS - DEFENSE
208 350 male (2017)
The air Force
8,500 men (2017)
60 300 Men (2017)
Military expenditure's share of GDP
0.5 percent (2017)
Military spending's share of the state budget
2.2 percent (2017)
Murdered migrants are found
Seventy-two murdered men and women are found at a ranch in the state of
Tamaulipas. They are believed to be migrants from South and Central America who
were kidnapped by the Zeta cartel and murdered when they refused to work for the
drug smugglers. After the massacre, the head of the immigration authority
Violent before the state elections
The electoral movement before the state elections becomes violent. Rodolfo
Torre Cantú, PRI candidate and favorite in the governor's election in the state
of Tamaulipas, is murdered. Drug cartels are suspected to be behind the murder.
A mayor candidate in Tamaulipas is also murdered.
The Minister of the Interior resigns
Minister of the Interior Fernando Gómez Mont leaves the government following
a controversy over the fact that his party PAN has entered into alliance with
PRD in order to stop PRI from successes in upcoming state elections. PAN and PRD
are usually far apart.
Killed police officers are found
Six police officers with severed heads are found outside a church in the
state of Durango in the north. Police suspect the executions are a vengeance for
ten members of a drug cartel, the so-called Golf cartel, killed by army
Addiction to drug addicts in the United States
US police arrest 300 people affiliated with Mexican drug cartels operating in
the United States. The effort, which took place in 19 US states, is largely
directed at the drug league La Familia.
Midterm elections make Calderón more difficult
The result of the midterm elections to the Chamber of Deputies makes the
situation of President Calderón more difficult during the second half of his
six-year term. His party PAN backs and receives 143 of the chamber's 500 seats.
PRI more than doubles its representation, to 237, and resumes its usual role as
the largest party. PRD gets 71 seats, PVEM 21, Labor Party 13, Panal 9 and
Convergencia 9 seats.
Drug police killed
Eleven federal drug police are found murdered on a road in Michoacán.
Everyone has been tortured. The murder is believed to be a revenge for a
high-ranking person in the La Familia drug cartel arrested a few days earlier.
Swine flu breaks out in Mexico
About ten people die in swine flu causing panic. For ten days, virtually all
of Mexico City is closed in an effort to stop the spread of infection.
The government presents stimulus packages
Measures for the equivalent of about $ 150 million will help prevent the
Mexican economy from being infected by the problems in the United States during
the housing and financial crisis there.