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Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

Andres Manuel Lopez ObradorAndrés Manuel López Obrador (known by his initials, “AMLO”) made a career by attacks against corruption and the abuse of political power. The year 2018 was the  third time he runs for President. He blamed NAFTA for causing more poverty and inequality in the country and attacked presidents for welcoming US law enforcement cooperation. His surge in 2018 can be partially attributed to growing nationalism in Mexico due to Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States.

The year 2018 was the first presidential election for Lopez Obrador's party, the National Registration Movement (MORENA), which ran in coalition with the left-wing Labor Party and right-wing Social Encounter Party. The 2018 contest was not Lopez Obrador's first time running for Mexico's highest office; he has run twice before, in 2006 and 2012, losing both times. In the 2006 election, his opponent Felipe Calderon compared him to then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a socialist. Calderon won the election, and Lopez Obrador found it hard to shake off the label. Lopez Obrador has rallied against the political and economic elites of the country, referring to them as a "power mafia." His campaign reflected that, pledging to fight against corruption in the country and bolster social mobility.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador was born in 1953 in Villa de Tepetitán, Mexico. He attended the Universidad Nacional Autónma de México where he studied Political Science and Public Administration. Upon graduation, AMLO joined the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) to campaign for poet Carlos Pellicer’s senatorial bid in his home state of Tabasco. As a reward for his efforts, in 1977 he was offered the head job at the Indigenous People Institute (INI), which worked to preserve the culture of indigenous people. In 1982, AMLO became the PRI party’s president of Tabasco.

In 1988, AMLO left the PRI party and joined the newly formed Democratic National Front (FDN), now referred to as the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD). Together with other PRI dissenters,he started bringing together several leftist small parties and organizing them into a large national leftwing opposition party, which became the PRD in 1989. He was this movement and party’s candidate for Governor of Tabasco in 1989, while in 1994 and he was defeated in what he called an electoral fraud. Between 1996 and 1999 he was the President of the PRD. The PRD not only gave AMLO a platform to promote his beliefs but also the funding to run for office. He later left the PRD, although on good terms, to start his own party called the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) [the word “morena” is Spanish for a woman with dark skin, perhaps a reference to the indigenous people who are typically dark-skinned].

In 2000, he received his first, and so far only, chance at implementing his policies when elected mayor of Mexico City. During this stint, he proved to be less of a hard-liner and more of a quiet pragmatist. From 2000 – 2006, he was the Head of Government of the Federal District of Mexico City. As Mayor of Mexico City, López Obrador was responsible for increasing the debt of the city by 400%. When he left office, the city’s debt had increased to $4.3 billion (exchange rate of 2006). In that same period, poverty increased from 9.9% to 10.3%. During his time in office, Obrador created a number of ambitious social programmes to help poorer populations, especially senior citizens. At the end of his six-year term, he had a 90 percent approval rating.

In the 2006 campaign, he ran as a presidential candidate for the PRD under the slogan: “For all Mexicans, but primarily for the poor”. AMLO proposed cooperation with the private sector and the US on economic development projects as the cheapest avenue for stemming the flow of migrants, especially in Mexico's Southeast where, AMLO said, the new wave of migrants was originating. He described an economic plan, primarily made up of large-scale infrastructure programs like highway and housing construction and reforestation projects, that would generate employment, spur economic growth, and eventually give Mexico the necessary leverage to negotiate an immigration accord to "regularize" the status of Mexicans living in the U.S. In addition to private sector investment, AMLO will seek U.S. assistance for financing and accreditation from international institutions for his projects so that they can continue long after his term is over.

AMLO explained that Mexico would have a measured, prudent foreign policy that would be an extension of his domestic achievements. "We must strengthen Mexico first," he said, calling for a less protagonistic role in foreign affairs. He stressed he was not interested in joining any "blocs", specifically Anti-American or "Anti-Southern" (presumably anti-Mercosur) blocs. AMLO explained that he did not particularly like to travel and that he has never met Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro or Evo Morales.

As Mexican electoral law does not permit polls to be published after 23 June 2006, major polling firms released the results of their final pre-election firms over the last few days before this deadline. The five most influential Mexican polls all gave a slight advantage to AMLO, albeit his margin is generally within the margin of error of each poll. According to the average of the five polls, AMLO led Calderon by 36% to 32.8%, with a third place Roberto Madrazo polling 26.9%. While AMLO enjoyed a lead of approximately two points, the race was too close to call. Although he was a favourite to win in the polls, he lost by 0.5 percentage points to PAN candidate Felipe de Jesus Calderon Hinojosa. But Obrador refused to concede defeat, denouncing the election as fraudulent. His supporters swarmed the Zocalo, Mexico City’s main square, demanding a vote recount. Although the result was later upheld, Obrador still declared himself Mexico’s “legitimate president”. After losing, he refused to accept the results of the election and launched nationwide protests, which paralyzed Mexico City’s most important thoroughfares for almost a year, causing billions of dollars in losses.

In 2012, AMLO sought the presidency for a second time, losing by a wider margin to President Enrique Peña Nieto. Again, AMLO rejected the results and initiated nationwide protest. Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of Mexico City to protest the presidential election win by Enrique Pena Nieto, accusing him and his party of widespread vote-buying. The protesters, including students and leftists, accuse Pena Nieto and his Institutional Revolutionary Party - the PRI - of buying the election win by handing out gift cards and groceries to thousands of people in return for their votes in the July 1 polls. Runner-up Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who finished nearly seven percentage points behind Pena Nieto, said he would file a formal legal challenge to the vote count in electoral courts. Although the Federal Electoral Institute uncovered some evidence of irregularities, the vote was confirmed and Nieto declared the winner.

In the wake of the election, Obrador announced he was leaving the PRD, which had become tainted by infighting and allegations of corruption. He launched a new party, the Movement for National Regeneration, or MORENA, which was firmly anchored on the left, with a non-hierarchical vision of leadership and an emphasis on the environment.

Dismissed as a political corpse by pundits and rivals after his earlier defeats, Lopez Obrador had shown an uncanny ability to bounce back, gaining, for example, more votes in 2012 than he did in 2006. In an unusual and even melancholy statement published in Novebmer 2016, “El Peje” vowed to refrain from future political runs if he doesn’t win in 2018 and regroup at his ranch in Palenque, Chiapas, colorfully and ironically named “La Quinta La Chingada,” or “The Estate of the Screwed One.” There, in the tropical shadows of the old Mayan gods, he would perhaps reemerge as the moral leader of one pole of Mexican politics. In explaining his decision, Lopez Obrador, who just turned 63 and has already suffered one heart attack, compared himself with Mexico’s great reformer and republican presidents.

“I would say that I wanted to be like Juarez, Madero and Lazaro Cardenas, and wasn’t able to or didn’t know how to do it. While I live I won’t stop struggling for justice or for an authentic democracy, but I will retire from political protagonism and go on to be able to say to my adversaries who want to hear it, with humility and cockiness at the same time, ‘Now you see, I’m not an ambitious crude one.’ It’s only important for me to be okay with myself, with my conscience, with the creator, with the nation, and with history…”

The field for Mexico’s July 2018 presidential election was largely established by December 2017, with the three main candidates as follows: Andrés Manuel López Obrador for the leftist Morena party, José Antonio Meade for the ruling PRI, and Ricardo Anaya for a coalition made up of the right-wing PAN, center-left PRD and the minor Citizen’s Movement (MC) party. At this early date López Obrador, making his third attempt at the presidency, appeared to be running ahead in the polls. Lopez Obrador, who split from the PRD to found Morena, was still on the outs with the PRD leadership, but sectors of the party, including former Michoacan governor Leonel Godoy, are increasingly favoring a unified front of all the center-left parties with Lopez Obrador as the presidential pick.

He opposed Trump’s plan of building a wall along the US-Mexico border, and has pledged to ensure that the primary function of the embassies and consulates of Mexico in the United States is to defend Mexican migrants and their human rights. He held a pep rally in California to criticize Donald Trump’s immigration policies and vowed to take his complaints to the United Nations.

AMLO), the front-runner in Mexico's presidential elections, has said he is open to debating the legalization of drugs as one of the measures to counter violence and criminality in the country. Lopez Obrador also has proposed several other peacebuilding measures to tackle the problem. “All topics should be analyzed. Health is affected more by alcohol and tobacco than other drugs, and prohibiting these drugs creates more violence. Why not talk about it? And why not -- if it's what's best for the country -approve it and implement it, listening to everyone's input?" he said, during an event titled Dialogue for Peace and Justice, organized by several non-governmental organizations.

AMLO’s core supporters can be broken into two groups, those who are against neo-liberal economic reforms and those who want more social benefits. He derives most of his support from the southern region of Mexico, primarily in the states of Tabasco and Chiapas, where there is a significant indigenous population.

AMLO pledged to change the national security strategy, which claims 70 lives each day, saying that “violence can't be fought with violence,” and that human rights will be respected. To address the source of violence, Lopez Obrador said his government would fight poverty, listen to youth, avoid family disintegration, rescue agriculture and strengthen cultural, moral and spiritual values, as well as punishing corruption and combat impunity.

Lopez Obrador had previously refused to give a direct opinion on drug-related policies, saying that he would instead do polls to find out what Mexicans think about legalization. He has also suggested the creation of a UN-backed truth commission, similar to the International Commission against Impunity (CICIG) in Guatemala, for independent investigations on corruption and violence-related crimes committed by the State.

On June 10, 2018 Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that coming to the Presidency of Mexico will make an approach and will make Donald Trump come to his senses that there needs to be cooperation for development between the United States, Canada, Mexico and the countries of Central America. The candidate for the coalition "Together we will make history" by the Mexican Presidency stressed that he will propose to Trump a cooperation agreement to promote productive activities, so that there is work and said that if in Central America, as in Mexico there is work and welfare, the people will not emigrate.

An internet site called “We Support Donald Trump,” flooded by fact-twisting pro-Trump articles aimed at a conservative audience, published an article in which they affirm that AMLO is calling for Mexicans “to flood the U.S. border” and blames “liberals” for supporting him and his policies. Citing the “Daily Caller,” the site claims that the leading candidate said: “'And soon, very soon — after the victory of our movement — we will defend all the migrants in the American continent and all the migrants in the world,' Obrador said, adding that immigrants 'must leave their towns and find a life in the United States.' He then declared it 'a human right we will defend.'” Read like that, the quote suggests that next president of Mexico is calling for Mexicans to “leave their towns and find a life in the United States,” and they even affirm he “has been planning this for years but nobody really cared to pay attention.”

He mentioned that when he triumphs, he will present the proposal to Trump, because nothing is resolved by the use of force, nor by building walls, unless militarizing the borders, the problems will be solved if there is production, work and welfare for the people, because peace and tranquility are fruits of justice.

López Obrador announced that he will announce a document for an alliance for development between the United States, Canada, Mexico and Central America. It is similar to what President Kennedy's "Alliance for Progress" was It was an investment program that the United States financed for the peoples of Latin America.

A poll made by Consulta Mitofsky, published in El Economista, showed that approval ratings of Mexico’s leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) had grown by 4.5 percentage points in less than three months. According to the polls, AMLO's approval rate in November 2018 stood at 61.6 percent, now shortly before the first 100 days of the government of AMLO, his approval rate is 67.1 percent in February 2019. According to the results of the survey, it was revealed that most citizens consider there to be an improvement regarding the economy, crime and the political situation in Mexico.

Only Ernesto Zedillo, Vicente Fox and AMLO saw their approval rates going up, all the other presidents saw an early drop in approval shortly after assuming office.

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Page last modified: 05-03-2019 18:40:33 ZULU