US President George W. Bush has arrived in Mexico on the last leg of his five-nation tour of Latin America. Immigration is a key issue, but analysts say a deal between the two countries is unlikely. This was not the case yesterday in Guatemala, where Bush was keen to stress common interest:
“The United States and Guatemala are important partners in this important work. We are working together to improve access to education and healthcare, to give Guatemalans a safe and legal path to jobs in the United States, and to lift millions of people out of poverty by expanding trade. The ties between our two countries have never been stronger or more important.”
As well as immigration, security and trade were on the agenda. Later, there were smiles and handshakes all round in the mainly indigenous town of Santa Cruz Balanya when Bush visited a Maya agricultural co-operative.
But at every stage, Bush’s tour of the region has been dogged by protests. There were angry protests in Guatemala, where many remember US support for military repression during the country’s civil war. The Iraq conflict and Bush’s trade and immigration policies have also made him personally unpopular.