Elections in Mexico 2.0: Is AMLO a Communist or an Ally?
Since the past presidential elections, the Mexican population has been part of a candid debate: Is AMLO too radical? How are his proposals going to affect the country? Is AMLO (Andrés Manuel López Obrador) going to send Mexico into an economic depression? And more important, Is AMLO a commie?
Mexico is a country where only conservative parties have had the chance to make a change. Obrador’s sometimes seems to have a certain vendetta against high income society in Mexico. Most of his proposals focus on rising the economic and social status of low income families (neglecting higher classes). This facts make him appear as a communist to high social classes. But, is this argument true?
To debate all of this first we need to know what his main proposals are. Most of his proposals stated in the “Austerity Plan”, I managed to highlight the most important ones, dividing them into 4 categories:
Mexico has evolved into one of the most violent places in Latin America. With the beginning of the “Narco War”, the number of deaths on both the government and the Civilian side rose to 250,000 in 2016. The government has searched for alternative methods of regulating cartel-related businesses with little to no improvement. After acknowledging the fact that brute force has not been an efficient choice, MORENA (Movement for National Regeneration Party (AMLO’s party)) is trying to implement the following:
- Bureau of Unity: AMLO plans to create a bureau of academics, businessmen and religious organizations to find a way to put an end to the violence.
- Plan of Amnesty: Grant amnesty to people who were pushed by the Narco to commit illegal activities. Ex. A farmer who was forced to harvest marijuana or a small business forced to hide illegal substances.
- Guarantee freedom of the press by involving the UN: in the last 15 years, 136 journalists have been killed. 55 of them in Peña Nieto’s government. Placing México as the second most dangerous place for journalists in the world (just behind Syria and Iraq (tied)). Nowadays, 99.6% of the crimes and aggressions against journalists go unchecked. The new government system proposes to let the UN help in this matter.
Mexico is known for his governmental corruption. Carving this corruption out of Mexican historical DNA is an extenuating job. Most political parties wouldn’t tackle this problem because it would be like scoring an auto goal. MORENA, being a new party, has fewer cases of political corruption than other, older parties like PAN or PRI. MORENA’s main anti-corruption policies are:
- Taking immunity for Politicians: this one is pretty straightforward. Before this proposal, politicians were able to have shady businesses (like Peña Nieto’s construction businesses) and involvement with cartels and find a way to not get punished. This proposal changes the whole status quo, making politicians citizens again. By implementing harder background checks, investigating ties with narcos, and opening old cases of corruption that were dismissed, MORENA plans to destroy the “Power Mafia” that politicians have created. This takes us to the next point.
- Open cases of Human Rights to the UN: Why is this such a big step? The UN’s efforts to investigate cases of human rights violations have been “blocked” out of Mexico since 2014. In this year, 43 students were abducted, tortured and presumably killed by military forces sent by the local government (more info in later articles!). As stated before, Mexican authorities are not really keen on human rights. AMLO declared that he would open cases of torture, rape, and mass murder committed especially by government authorities to the UN.
Government and Politics
To reconstruct the Government that is now in ruins, AMLO proposes:
- Vote in the second year: AMLO proposes a first period popular vote after the first two years of government. This will make the president accountable and more responsible due to the fact that if he lacks capacity he could be switched for a better candidate.
- A decrease in politicians’ salaries: AMLO plans to halve president and senator’s income. The common Mexican senator has six months of work with a 5 day 4 hour shift.
Senators get paid 104,500 dollars per year plus 26,000 in free services like food, transportation, clothing, vacations, etc. On the other hand, President Peña Nieto earns a total of 204 thousand dollars yearly including benefits (like housing, clothing, food, etc). By reducing their salary (this includes his), AMLO’s proposal will not only help humanize politicians, but it will also raise funds for his other proposals.
Economics and socials
The proposals in this field are:
- Undo the structural reforms made by Peña Nieto: These reforms tried to improve education, energy consumption, modernize transportation, oil-related businesses, telecommunications, etc. Said reforms failed to deliver clear results and were the center of a lot of corruption related rumors. AMLO is trying to get these proposals out of the picture and instead implement different, better ones.
- Raise in the minimum wage: 92 dollars per month… just think about it for a bit…This is less than 1500 dollars a year! Of this, 88% basic day to day products, including food. Leaving the scarce 12% for housing, education, transportation, and taxes. According to the Economic Commission for Latin America, “Mexico is the only country in the region where the salary keeps the workers in a permanent state of poverty… without the capability to rise in social status…”. How are people supposed to live with 80 pesos per day? AMLO suggests raising this to 171 pesos a day ($9 per day) by the end of his term. Still not enough, but better than 4 dollars.
Many controversies have arisen from having a leftist as President for the first time. These are mainly:
- AMLO proposed to fuse the navy, police, and army into one single entity. This organization would be under the order of the president. This would give a lot of power to one person, even the power to become a dictator if he so desired. This proposal is mostly a vague idea and is highly probable not to pass. But the question is still there. Would AMLO become a dictator?
- The previously mentioned Reforms are already in place, it would be a waste of money to take them down. A clear example of this is the new airport in Mexico City. Even when it has clear ties to corruption (mainly fund deviation) and built in a spring essential to Mexico City’s sewer system, the project is almost done. Taking the new airport down would cost more than finishing it.
- The amnesty program has huge problems: who is supposed to decide who is guilty and who is not? Mexico’s damaged justice system might fail to deliver. How is the amnesty going to work?
- AMLO was expelled from his last party for being too radical, what does that mean?
- Even when AMLO affirms they he will have enough funds to complete his projects. Is this true? Is he going to raise taxes?
- AMLO just released a series of political enemies of the old regime, why is he doing that?
Ok, So what is next?
Let’s be honest. AMLO is not an angel. He has (as all Mexican politicians) ties with corruption and narcotrafficking. He also has a dictator-ish type of vibe within his character and has some shady businesses under his sleeve… But at least he is different from the other candidates.
The Mexican population is tired of being lied to, being used as cannon fodder for politician’s desires, being the victims in a war they didn’t even start, being part of a misrepresented majority that has no political power, working 12-hour shifts and still be poor and hungry. AMLO managed to use this as momentum to move his campaign. Appealing more to the common man than to the 1 percent helped him win over 53% of the electoral votes.
A dictatorship ran Mexico from 1921 to 2000 (PRI), the same party came back in 2012 due to the poor job of the 2000-2012 political party (PAN). The failure of these major conservative parties made an uncommon party such as MORENA appeal to the majority.
Is AMLO going to deliver his proposals and restore the long forgotten Mexican glory?
No one knows for sure.
Is he going to establish a regimen of fear and repression?
I think that living in a country where the government kidnaps students and sends thugs to beat protesters is a clear sign.
Is he going to become a dictator?
No one knows. But when 4 out of 10 people are starving, taking the risk is worth it for most people.
After reading my article, you have all the information to judge:
Is AMLO a commie or a homie?