MEXICO CITY – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau received a warm welcome on Thursday at the headquarters of the Mexican Red Cross, where he and his wife distributed supplies to people affected by the powerful earthquake that struck this capital Sept. 19.
“First of all, he expressed his solidarity, his total support and consternation for the families who have lost loved ones or possessions and homes,” Red Cross president Fernando Suinaga told reporters afterward.
The prime minister and wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau spent about 10 minutes at the distribution center and did not make any statements to the press.
Canada was one of the first countries to offer help to Mexico following the Sept. 7 temblor that struck the southern part of the country and the Sept. 19 quake affecting the capital.
The Canadian government provided more than $240,000 in cash to the Mexican Red Cross and other NGOs, along with 1,500 field tents.
An additional $1 million has come in the form of donations from associations and individuals in Canada.
“Thank you very much for having supported Mexico in that difficult moment,” Alehli, a Red Cross volunteer and paramedic-in-training, said to the Trudeaus while waving Red Cross and Canadian flags.
Trudeau arrived here earlier Thursday on his first official visit to the Aztec nation.
The Mexican government said it expects the visit to open “new avenues” for bilateral cooperation in areas such as trade and the battle against climate change.
Negotiators from the United States, Canada and Mexico are currently engaged in talks on revising the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.
On Wednesday, Trudeau was in Washington, where US President Donald Trump – a harsh critic of NAFTA – said that if the discussions on updating the pact don’t bear fruit, he would be open to negotiating bilateral trade deals with Canada and Mexico.