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Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Photo:

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Tuesday he'd sent a letter to President-elect Joe Biden congratulating him on his victory in the U.S. presidential election, shortly after the Electoral College affirmed his win.

Why it matters: López Obrador was one of the last holdouts among major world leaders who had refrained from immediately acknowledging Biden's victory as Trump's legal challenges played out, seeking to avoid friction with Washington.

  • His message of congratulations came the same day that Russian President Vladimir Putin also acknowledged Biden's victory.
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are the last major remaining world leaders who have yet to congratulate Biden.

What he's saying: "I write this letter to congratulate you on the victory given to you by the American people and affirmed by election officials," López Obrador wrote in his letter, translated from Spanish by Axios.

  • "As you may remember, we met nine years ago and have since expressed, both personally and via letter, the idea of transforming Mexico and ridding it from political corruption, which is the main cause for the inequality and violence this country suffers from."
  • "We are certain that with you, the American presidency will continue to follow the basic principles on foreign policy established in our Constitution; mainly, those prohibiting intervention and protecting the right of a people to self-determination."

The big picture: López Obrador praised Biden's pro-immigration stance, saying it "will allow for the development and the betterment of Mexican and Central American communities."

  • "I believe that this way no one will be forced to leave their birthplace and they will be able to live and work happily with their families among their people and their culture, and we will be able to reach a solution to the migration coming from and going through Mexico towards the U.S," the Mexican president wrote.

Go deeper: Biden could face early tensions with Mexico's López Obrador

Go deeper

Jan 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden speaks to Mexican president about reversing Trump's "draconian immigration policies"

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

President Biden told his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on a phone call Friday that he plans to reverse former President Trump’s “draconian immigration policies.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has already started repealing several of Trump’s immigration policies, including ordering a 100-day freeze on deporting many unauthorized immigrants, halting work on the southern border wall, and reversing plans to exclude undocumented people from being included in the 2020 census.

Biden and Johnson discuss pandemic, NATO and trade in first phone call

Boris Johnson speaks to Joe Biden. Photo: Andrew Parsons/No. 10 Downing Street

President Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson discussed on Saturday issues including trade, NATO and the coronavirus pandemic in their first phone call since the U.S. leader's inauguration.

Why it matters: A new trade agreement with the U.S. is a priority for Johnson, whose country completed its economic split with the European Union at the end of last year, AP noted.

In cyber espionage, U.S. is both hunted and hunter

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

American outrage over foreign cyber espionage, like Russia's SolarWinds hack, obscures the uncomfortable reality that the U.S. secretly does just the same thing to other countries.

Why it matters: Secrecy is often necessary in cyber spying to protect sources and methods, preserve strategic edges that may stem from purloined information, and prevent diplomatic incidents.