This year, Mexico elected a new President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, also known by his initials AMLO. AMLO was a former Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) state leader who then went on to found his own party, the National Regeneration Movement. As we saw from the reading last night, the rule of Mexico was mostly by the PRI who were an authoritarian regime that provided more civil liberties than their non-authoritarian counterparts. The PRI essentially was the embodiment of the phrase “peace through power” since they controlled vast sectors of Mexico’s wealth and institutions. The rule of PRi was interrupted following the assassination of their candidate in 1994 with the PRI controlling the Presidency under Enrique Pena Nieto. AMLO, who is to succeed Pena Nieto, campaigned on a platform of toppling the elite in the country through slashing of wages of politicians among many other things. But, is the election of such a populist leader a benefit to Mexico?
In Mexico, we can see that there has been a lot of corruption among the various local, state and federal authorities. Just two weeks ago, the police forces in Acapulco were disarmed by federal forces and the town’s mayor was given a deadline of 72 hours to explain why 342 weapons are unaccounted for. This was done based on suspicions of the police having been infiltrated by the Mexican cartels and gangs. At the same time, the left-wing AMLO is focusing on near-trivial issues such as his campaign promise to sell off the presidential Boeing 787 Dreamliner. AMLO was responding to critics on the feasibility of a president travelling by commercial flight and being delayed for three hours as opposed to being able to travel seamlessly to important events via private jet. While it is true and admirable that AMLO wishes to curb the excesses and vanity of the political scene in Mexico, it should be stressed that a politician should not be overly obsessed with such trivial issues. Why hasn’t AMLO focused on his idea of taking a hardline stance on the cartels and appears in headlines over such minor issues? The principal reason is that appealing to the majority of voters based on socio-economic hardships and then contrasting that against the elites tends to win one a loyal cadre of followers. This sort of “savior mentality” is truly dangerous to any political scene as the key objective at the end is the maintenance of the country’s unity and stability.
“Acapulco Official Given Deadline to Find Missing Police Guns”. BBC News. 1 October 2018. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-45705017. Accessed 15 October 2018.
“Mexico’s President-Elect Grounded on Commercial Planes for Hours”. BBC News. 21 September 2018. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-45596480. Accessed 15 October 2018.