Andrés Manuel López Obrador won the presidency of the Republic in 2018 because he convinced a majority of Mexicans that “they were not the same”, that is, that the president and, by a mysterious extension, the members of his political party, did not they looked like professional politicians of the past. This expression was the synthesis of the criticism of the neoliberal political class which he accused of being corrupt, of promoting impunity for criminals and politicians, and of being insensitive to the needs of the poor. “Not being equal” implied a moral superiority, a radical differentiation from the frivolous and corrupt political class that had ruled Mexico.
Well, in these two and a half years of government we have learned that they are the same. The tragedy of the metro in Mexico City, the appalling and irresponsible handling of the pandemic, the monumental waste of scarce public resources in non-profitable or sustainable pharaonic megaprojects, the imposition of the daughter of Toro Salgado Macedonio in the candidacy for governor de Guerrero, and the growing intolerance in the face of the slightest hint of criticism have shown, for whoever wants to see it, that President López Obrador and his party are, in essence, the same as their predecessors. The personal style of governing of President López Obrador is certainly different, since he has developed a vernacular populism that since the time of Carlos Salinas – in a neoliberal technocratic version – has not been seen in Mexico. But the practices and effects of the exercise of his government are the same that characterized the PRI regime.
Especially shameful has been the administration of the tragic accident on Line 12 of the Mexico City metro. Far from standing up and assuming the political costs, the Government has developed a damage management comparable to that which President De la Madrid did in the face of the 1985 earthquake. There is not a single resignation or dismissal, despite the fact that the director of the The Mexico City metro has already accumulated three major accidents in its brief tenure. López Obrador does not appear at the scene of the tragedy, does not show any empathy for the victims, and is exasperated by journalists who demand his absence, arguing that the time of “posing for the photo” is over, although he does not tire to upload photos to the networks of his absurd tours, of his baseball exploits and of his triumphant entrances to the National Palace (emulating Peñanietista frivolity). The head of Government of Mexico City is drawn to dispute the very concept that defines the tragedy of the subway, to say that it was an “incident”, minimizing the tragedy and mocking, even if that is not what she intended, the victims.
The political impunity that this reaction to the tragedy implies is similar to what former President Peña Nieto tried to put into action after the Ayotzinapa massacre. All that remains is for López Obrador to tell the relatives of the victims “now get over it”, as in practice he has spat in the face of the dozens of groups of relatives of victims of forced disappearance, whom he has ignored time and again in his tours and to whom he does not dedicate a word of encouragement in his very long morning soliloquies nor has he apologized for not doing anything substantive on a national scale to find his relatives.
The criminal handling of the pandemic has cost hundreds of thousands of victims in addition to those that were unavoidable. Not only was the severity of the pandemic not recognized in time, which delayed the generalization of such elementary measures as the massive and mandatory use of face masks, but the needs of the medical staff and the health care system were not addressed with the urgency of the case. general health.
The vaccination campaign has been slow and chaotic, and it was tried at the national level – and it continues to be done where it can – politically manage what is a duty of the Government to its citizens. Nothing is more out of place than the gratitude of many people for having been vaccinated. That is the minimum duty of a responsible government, and in the world most of the governments of countries of our level of development have been more effective and less political in vaccination campaigns. Here too there is intolerable political impunity. Within a very few years, the political responsibility of the president and his closest officials in this humanitarian tragedy will have to be established.
The case of the candidacy of the daughter of Toro Salgado Macedonio to the governorship of Guerrero shows another contradiction of Morena and the president with their own speech. López Obrador has rightly criticized the nepotism that has characterized the Mexican political class and the judiciary. He himself has driven his children away from political posts. But in the case of Guerrero, he has forgotten these principles and many others. Salgado Macedonio was initially unpresentable as a candidate for having several accusations of sexual abuse, for having demonstrated a complete lack of responsibility in the exercise of his position as mayor of Acapulco and for his proven frivolity in his public behavior. But, as in almost all the gubernatorial candidacies that Morena has promoted since its creation, pragmatic criteria of popularity or closeness to the president were above the moral considerations that supposedly made the Morena “different.” They have nothing different, or are worse than their predecessors, Cuauhtémoc Blanco in Morelos, who does not govern or have an idea of public affairs; Cuitláhuac García in Veracruz, who is an honest man but lacks the minimum capacities to govern, which has led to those in command being authoritarian subordinates; Adán Augusto López, from Tabasco, who comes from the deepest PRI networks and governs with an indistinguishable team from the past; Rutilio Escandón, from Chiapas, repeats this picture.
And the current candidacies, those of 2021, are also from professional politicians who grew up with the PRI or who, even worse, are suspected of having dealings with organized crime and have been convicted of corruption, as is the case of Ricardo Gallardo, the true official candidate in San Luis Potosí, nominated by the Green Party so that it reaches the minimum number of votes that will allow it to maintain its national registry. Therefore, it is not surprising that the daughter of the Bull has been anointed as a candidate in Guerrero, despite not having the slightest preparation or experience for the position. A mere juanita, a face that does not hide that the one who will rule will be his father. No, the morenistas are no different.
The height of continuity with PRI practices is the president’s intolerance of criticism, taken to the extreme in recent days, when, in an act that hurts others, he sent a note to the US government demanding that it finance the NGO Mexicanos Unidos against Corruption and Impunity (MCCI). The agency has had ingerencist acts in the past, it is true, but for many years it has focused on financing programs that address priority problems of the democratic order in the world, such as human rights violations and the fight against corruption. causes that López Obrador supposedly defends.
In fact, the president should be grateful to MCCI, which denounced the scandalous purchase of the White House by Peña Nieto and the famous Master Scam, one of the most serious corruption schemes of the past government, in addition to many other cases, among others the of Oderbrecht. It was the tireless denunciation of corruption and human rights violations by the Peña Nieto government that NGOs that receive international funding developed that created the public atmosphere of exhaustion that allowed López Obrador to win the 2018 elections. denounces, López Obrador would not have had the massive support of the urban middle classes.
Well, now López Obrador considers that the founded criticisms made by the MCCI and by Article 19, an international NGO that denounce new acts of corruption and the opacity of the Government, the first, and the continuity of attacks on the press and the violence against journalists, the second, amount to “coup attacks.” It is inconceivable that the president uses these expressions against two small professional organizations that have helped so much the fight for democracy in Mexico.
López Obrador catches up with Viktor Orban, Rafael Correa, Nicolás Maduro, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in making such attacks. Here the only coup plotter is the president himself, because by trying to control or destroy the autonomous bodies, by surrounding the judiciary, by attacking the media and critical thinking, and by militarizing the government, he is corroding the foundations of our fragile democracy. Democracy in the world in these times is being destroyed little by little, step by step, from the governments themselves, not from criticism and social protest.
The background of the presidential intolerance is the belief that the president himself is the only democratizing and justice force in this country. Everything that opposes it goes against “true” democracy, which consists in accepting its dictates without question. This megalomania feeds on a victimizing personal narrative and exacerbated narcissism, typical of populist leaders, as the extreme case of Trump demonstrates. Well, it is time to stop now before the president loses control of his instincts and ends, yes, of destroying the precarious Mexican democracy. It is a pity that the president and his party are not fundamentally different from the others.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.