The Revolution In The Ways That Still Awaits Results

The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador – REUTERS / EDGARD GARRIDO

The threat of US tariffs, Ovidio Guzmán or Evo Morales, among its most "difficult" moments



Andrés Manuel López Obrador celebrates a year as president of Mexico this Sunday, a position he arrived with an overwhelming majority promising a cycle change that would end corruption and violence. However, both objectives resist him, while challenges such as US threats or the arrival of former Bolivian President Evo Morales arise.

'AMLO', as the Mexican press has christened him, won the presidential elections of July 1, 2018 as flag bearer of Juntos Haremos Historia, a left-wing coalition led by its National Regeneration Movement (MORENA). He won with 53 percent, taking more than twenty points to his immediate rival, the 'panista' Ricardo Anaya.

At 66, López Obrador has supposed the revolution he promised in the campaign, at least in the forms. Thus, he has left Los Pinos, habitual residence of the Mexican presidents, to settle in an apartment of 300 square meters that already existed in the National Palace with his wife, Beatriz Gutierrez, and his son, Jesus, when he finished the school year.

Another turn of López Obrador has been his already famous 'tomorrows': press conferences he offers every day from the National Palace, they start early and several can be extended. He uses them to make announcements and clarifications, both of him and his ministers, and to answer the questions of journalists.

However, when it comes to matters of substance, he has not yet fulfilled the expectations that he himself generated during the campaign, in which he promised to rid the country of the corruption and violence associated with organized crime, which represent its greatest scourge .

Regarding corruption, he has attacked "some great figures," according to analyst Carin Zissis, of the think tank AS / COA. The former president of PEMEX Emilio Lozoya stands out, against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for causing the state oil company a damage that the Ministry of Finance has estimated at more than 119 million dollars.

Despite this, Zissis points out, "there is concern that the AMLO Administration is not doing enough in terms of institutional construction, to clear the way to improve the rule of law, so that in the future there may be a real change" in The fight against corruption.


As for the violence, López Obrador had promised a battery of measures to "pacify" Mexico that ranged from amnesties to small criminals – those who had no power of command in criminal organizations – to the creation of a unified force.

So far, it has created the National Guard, composed of military and police who have passed a specific selection process and training with the purpose of being the force of shock against organized crime.

For Amnesty International, the National Guard means giving continuity to "a militarized security strategy" that since its launch, under the Government of Felipe Calderón (2006-2012), has left thousands dead.

Zissis indicates, however, that for now the National Guard has not been used for its original purpose, but that López Obrador has sent it to the border to comply with the immigration agreement signed with the United States.

The security crisis in Mexico suffered its height on October 17, when the uniformed located and detained Ovidio Guzmán, son of Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán, former leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, in an operation in Culiacán that ended with his release by the strong response of the 'narcos'.

López Obrador has recognized that this has been one of the most "difficult" moments of his first year of Government. "It was a brief war, the shortest in history, a four-hour war," he said, defending that "he acted well" because "the most important thing was to take care of people's lives."

The massacre of the LeBarón was another one of those moments. On November 4, armed men intercepted this family of American Mormons while traveling between Chihuahua and Sonora ending the lives of thirteen of them, including minors. The main hypothesis is that they were confused with a rival group.


Amnesty International regrets that there have been no "substantial changes" in human rights, although it mentions partial progress on some issues, for example, in the fight against enforced disappearances.

López Obrador has relaunched the investigation into the disappearance of the 43 'normalistas' of Ayotzinapa. "You can no longer talk about state crimes because now … the speaker is not going to allow any injustice," he said coinciding with the fifth anniversary.

The NGO has pointed out among the "most urgent" problems the eradication of femicides. Between January 1 and September 30, 748 victims had been registered, "with a monthly average on the rise", and "specific measures are not distinguishable in the short or medium term (…) impunity".

"In order to achieve a substantial change in Human Rights, the Government must stop blaming previous administrations for the situation and instead accept responsibility for what is happening in the present and seek solutions," Amnesty urged. International.


On the international level, López Obrador has tried to maintain "good relations" with the United States, his northern neighbor, which is joined by commercial and personal ties, but it has been complicated given the character of his counterpart, Donald Trump.

Trump threatened López Obrador with a tariff on imports of Mexican products if he did not adopt forceful measures to curb the migratory flow that, although constant, became visible with the Central American caravans. Finally, 'AMLO' yielded to an immigration agreement that allows asylum seekers to wait for the response of the US Administration in Mexican territory and forces it to shield the common border.

Amnesty International sees in this agreement an "abysmal incongruity between what the Government says and what it then does." "It promises a more humane treatment to migrants and in need of international protection, but sends the National Guard to persecute and detain them," he criticized.

Tense bilateral relations have suffered a new challenge for the United States' decision to classify drug cartels as terrorist organizations, which in an extreme scenario would allow it to launch a military operation in Mexico. López Obrador has refused to have his neighbor "clean" the country, but Trump is confident he will end up accessing.

López Obrador has also had a difficult time deploying his non-interference policy, for which he has not recognized the self-proclaimed presidents of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, and Bolivia, Jeanine Áñez, and has given Morales political asylum. "Although 'AMLO' is trying to focus on national politics, the rest of the world occasionally prevents it," says Zissis.

The AS / COA analyst believes that the importance that the Mexican president gives to domestic affairs is precisely the key that, after one year of taking office, he maintains a great popularity – close to 70 percent.

"He spends a large part of the weekend traveling around the country, going to different cities and talking directly with people … That's why many of his supporters feel heard," he explains.



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