Containing and Engaging: Mexico’s Response to the Rise of Brazil

  • Ana Covarrubias
Part of the Palgrave Studies in International Relations Series book series (PSIR)


Historically, relations between Mexico and Brazil have been characterized as distant, sometimes difficult, and occasionally good.1 In the words of historian Guillermo Palacios, relations between the two countries have been a ‘chain of conflicts and reconciliation’.2 As the 21st century began, Brazil and Mexico appeared as the two great powers in Latin America willing to become influential players in international politics, thus fostering a general perception of rivalry and competition in the media, academic articles, and official language, especially in Mexico.3 The governments of Fernando Enrique Cardoso and, more importantly, Luis Inàcio ‘Lula’ da Silva in Brazil, and Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderón in Mexico, effectively implemented policies to increase the participation of their countries in international politics. As Peter Hakim clearly expressed it, in their own — contrasting — ways, Mexico and Brazil intended to ‘go global’; the former based on an open economy and free trade, the latter on a rather protectionist economy.4


Foreign Policy Mexico City Security Council Free Trade Agreement North American Free Trade Agreement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Authers, J. (2011) The Financial Times, 23 June 2011, /mexico-v-brasil-contes-not-decided-yet/article584240/, date accessed 2 December 2013.Google Scholar
  2. Brito, O. (2010) ‘Brasil y México pactan acuerdo estratégico’, El Economista, 24 February 2010,, date accessed 25 April 2012.
  3. Calderón, F. (2007) ‘Discurso del presidente Felipe Calderón Hinojosa durante la presentación del Plan Nacional de Desarrollo 2007–2012’,, date accessed 1 June 2007.
  4. Camacho, E. (2011) ‘México y Brasil, el impacto de un acuerdo comercial’, El Universal, Cartera, 7 February 2011,, date accessed 25 April 2012.
  5. Castañeda, J. (2001) ‘Los ejes de la política exterior de México’, Nexos XXIII(288), 68–74.Google Scholar
  6. Castañeda, J. (2012) ‘La rivalidad México-Brasil’, El País, 2 March 2012,, date accessed 2 December 2013.
  7. Comunicado conjunto de la visita de Estado a Brasil del Presidente de México (2009) ‘Felipe Calderón Hinojosa’, 17 August 2009, Comunicado CGCS-132,, date accessed 31 March 2014.
  8. «Congelan» (2012) ‘TLC con Brasil’, El Informador, 17 March 2012,, date accessed 25 April 2012.
  9. Covarrubias, A. (2013) ‘La política exterior de Calderón: objetivos y acciones’, Foro Internacional LIII(3–4), 455–462.Google Scholar
  10. Covarrubias Velasco, A. (2010) Cambio de siglo: la política exterior de la apertura económica y política. México y el mundo. Historia de sus relaciones exteriores (ed. Blanca Torres), Mexico: El Colegio de México.Google Scholar
  11. Da Silva, L. I. (2007) ‘Brasil-México: una asociación necesaria’, El Universal, 5 August 2007,, date accessed 23 April 2014.
  12. El Universal (2004) ‘Acompañará Fox a Lula a cumbre Mercosur’, June 30,, date accessed 7 April 2014.
  13. El Universal (2009) ‘México y Brasil impulsan comercio e inversión’, 17 August 2009,, date accessed 23 April 2014.
  14. Establecen México y Brasil una Comisión Nacional con el propósito de intensificar sus relaciones (2007) ‘Brasilia, Brazil’, 28 March 2007,, date accessed 7 April 2014.
  15. Fishlow, A. (2011) Starting Over. Brazil since 1985, Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
  16. Flemes, D. (2010) ‘Brazil Strategic Options in the Changing World Order’, in D. Flemes (ed.), Regional Leadership in the Global System. Ideas, Interests and Strategies of Regional Powers, Surrey: Ashgate, 93–112.Google Scholar
  17. Flemes, D. and L. Wehner (2012) ‘Drivers of Strategic Contestation in South America’, GIGA Working Papers 207.Google Scholar
  18. Gómez, M. Ojeda (2009) ‘México y Brasil: caminos opuestos’, Milenio,, date accessed 2 December 2013.
  19. González, G. and R. Velázquez (2013) ‘La política exterior de México hacia América Latina en el sexenio de Felipe Calderón (2006–2012): entre la prudencia política y el pragmatismo económico’, Foro Internacional LIII(3–4), 572–618.Google Scholar
  20. González, L. (2012) ‘El TLC con Brasil está enterrado: Ferrari’, El Economista, 18 March 2012,, date accessed 25 April 2012.
  21. González, L., L. Flores, and P. Suárez (2012) ‘México aceptaría recortar envío de autos a Brasil’, El Economista, 13 March 2012,, date accessed 25 April 2012.
  22. Hakim, P. (2002) ‘Two Ways to Go Global’, Foreign Affairs LXXXI(1), 148–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hurrell, A. (2009) ‘Brasil y la tormenta que se avecina’, Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica LX(2), 43–54.Google Scholar
  24. Jiménez, S. J. (2009) ‘Calderón llega a Brasil en busca de un TLC’, El Universal, August 16, 2009,, date accessed 23 April 2014.
  25. Luiselli Fernández, C. and R. Rodríguez Minor (2006) ‘México y América Latina: al encuentro de la comunidad perdida’, in J. E. Navarrete (ed.), La reconstrucción de la política exterior de México: principios, ámbitos, acciones, Mexico: UNAM-Centro de Investigaciones Interdisciplinarias en Ciencias y Humanidades, 247–316.Google Scholar
  26. Maisonnave, F. (2004) ‘Fox cree que México dará aliento al Mercosur’, Folha de São Paulo, 6 July 2004, A9, Acervo Folha,, date accessed 10 April 2014.
  27. Malamud, A. (2011) ‘A Leader without Followers? The Growing Divergence between the Regional and Global Performance of Brazilian Foreign Policy’, Latin American Politics and Society LIII(3), 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ministério das Relações Exteriores Assessoria de Imprensa do Gabinete (2007) ‘Entrevista concedida pelo Ministro das Relações Exteriores, Embaixador Celso Amorim, ao Jornal “Reforma”, do México — Cidade do México’, 28 March 2007,, date accessed 3 April 2014.
  29. Morales, M. E., P. Mejía, R. M. A. Díaz, and R. Vergara (2012) ‘Interacciones económico-financieras Brasil-México: ¿cuál es su grado de integración?’ Perfiles Latinoamericanos 39, 119–120.Google Scholar
  30. Ortiz, A. L. N. Mena, and R. Sennes (2005) ‘Brasil y México en la economía política internacional’, in A. Ortiz, L. N. Mena, O. Amorim Neto, and R. Fernández de Castro (eds), Brasil y México: encuentros y desencuentros. Mexico: Instituto Matías Romero-ser, 201–257.Google Scholar
  31. Palacios, G. (2001) Intimidades, conflictos y reconciliaciones. México y Brasil, 1822–1993, Mexico: SRE-Dirección General del Acervo Histórico.Google Scholar
  32. Palacios, G. (2005) ‘Brasil y México: su relaciones 1822–1992’, in A. Ortiz, L. N. Mena, O. Amorim Neto, and R. Fernández de Castro (eds), Brasil y México: encuentros y desencuentros, Mexico: Instituto Matías Romero-SRE, 23–109.Google Scholar
  33. Paul, T. V. (2004) ‘Introduction: The Enduring Axioms of Balance of Power Theory and their Contemporary Relevance’, in T. V. Paul, J. Wirtz, and M. Fortmann (eds), Balance of Power: Theory and Practice in the 21st Century, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1–28.Google Scholar
  34. Proceso (2003) ‘Liman asperezas Fox y Lula da Silva’, 26 September 2003,, date accessed 31 March 2014.
  35. Ramps, J. and J. Vales (2012) ‘Calderón fustiga a Brasil por su proteccionismo’, El Universal, 14 April 2012,, date accessed 25 April 2012.
  36. Rodríguez Minor, R. (2013) ‘Brasil y México: viabilidad de una alianza estratégica conjunta por la integración latinoamericana’, International Review of Business Research Papers IX(2), 183–199.Google Scholar
  37. Rosas, M. C. (2008) ‘México y Brasil: ¿Buenos enemigos o amigos mortales?’ Mosaico I(1), 87–105.Google Scholar
  38. Rubio, L. (2012) ‘¿México vs. Brasil?’ Terra Noticias, 11 March 2012,,29864029e1206310VgnVCM4000009bf154d0RCRD.html, date accessed 2 December 2013.
  39. Ruiz Sandoval, E. (2008) ‘La política exterior de México durante el sexenio de Vicente Fox: mucho ruido y pocas nueces’, Foro Internacional ILVIII(1–2), 66–80.Google Scholar
  40. Secretaría de Economía (2010) ‘Acuerdo Estratégico de Integración Económica México-Brasil, Anuncio inicio de negociaciones’, 8 November 2010, ación-economica., date accessed 25 April 2012.
  41. Segundo Receso Comisión Permanente, LIX Legislatura, miércoles 21 de junio de 2006, Diario 8. Ratificación de nombramientos diplomáticos, 18061, date accessed 7 May 2014.
  42. Soares de Lima, M. R. (2008) Brazil Rising, ‘The Country’s New Status Means Reconciling Divergent Interests with the North, the South, and Its Neighbors’, IP Journal, http:/, date accessed 1 May 2014.
  43. Soares de Lima, M. R. and M. Hirst (2006) ‘Brazil as an Intermediate State and Regional Power: Action, Choice and Responsibilities’, International Affairs LXXXII(1), 21–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Soto, G. Guajardo (2008) ‘Viejos puentes y nuevos acervos. La relación de México con América Latina y el Caribe durante el sexenio de Vicente Fox’, Foro Internacional XLVIII(1–2), 268–296.Google Scholar
  45. The Economist (2012) ‘Brazil, Mexico and Trade. Two Ways to Make a Car’. 10 March.Google Scholar
  46. Velázquez Flores, R. and R. Domínguez (2013) ‘Balance de política exterior de México en el sexenio de Felipe Calderón bajo los tres niveles de análisis: límites y alcances’, Foro Internacional LIII(3–4), 483–516.Google Scholar


  1. Arriaga, Víctor, director for South America 2008–2013, and coordinator of advisors, under-secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean 2013. Mexico City, 5 April 2014.Google Scholar
  2. Berruga, Enrique, Mexican permanent representative to the UN 2003–2007. Mexico City, 25 April 2014.Google Scholar
  3. Derbez, Luis Ernesto, Mexican foreign minister 2003–2006. Estado de México, 7 May 2014.Google Scholar
  4. Luiselli Fernández, Cassio, ambassador to Uruguay and ALADI 2007–2013. Mexico City, 2 April 2014.Google Scholar
  5. Mexican diplomat A. Interview, Mexico City, 7 April 2014.Google Scholar
  6. Mexican diplomat B. Telephone conversation, 3 June 2014.Google Scholar
  7. Mexican diplomat C. Questionnaire received 15 April 2014.Google Scholar
  8. Navarrete, Jorge Eduardo, ambassador to Brazil 1997–2000. Mexico City, 11 April 2014.Google Scholar
  9. Valencia, Andrés, ambassador to Brazil 2006–2010. Mexico City, 8 May 2014.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ana Covarrubias 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Covarrubias

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations