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AMLO an ‘authoritarian populist’ – The Financial Times

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AMLO returns to the Financial Times editorial and not with the best aspect: the British newspaper has described him as an ‘authoritarian populist’ and criticized his economic performance, ‘the worst in Latin America’ after Argentina.

MEXICO CITY (Times Media Mexico) – The Editorial Board of the London newspaper Financial Times affirmed this weekend that after almost two years in power, the results of the administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador are “meager,” beyond a “modest pension reform.” 

Under that premise, the Financial Times expresses in its editorial that Mexico’s economy stagnated during AMLO’s first year in office. This year marked by the pandemic, the country will have the worst performance in Latin America after Argentina.

“Corruption and crime remain intolerably high, and erratic response to the coronavirus has led to one of the highest per-capita death rates in the world,” say FT editors. Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has become the new “Latin America strongman,” accumulating power in his first two years in office. The Supreme Court’s controversial decision to back his request for a referendum to judge former presidents with modifications is a further step in that direction.

This is what the prestigious British newspaper Financial Times warned in an editorial published Sunday, October 04, 2020, precisely with the headline “López Obrador becomes the new strongman of Latin America”. It assured that the Mexican president is revealing himself as “an authoritarian populist”.

“When a president demands ‘total loyalty’ from his officials, the alarms should sound. When he calls people to vote to decide whether to prosecute his predecessors, throws a fit against the independent electoral body (INE), and publicly shames those who criticize him, there is good reason to be afraid,” the newspaper said.

The newspaper describes the Supreme Court’s decision as to the last institution to “bow to the desire of populist President López Obrador. Last Thursday, the country’s highest Court declared constitutional the widespread consultation requested by the president to ask citizens if he wants former presidents of the country to be prosecuted.

However, the ministers of the Court decided to change the question that should be asked to the citizens if the process to carry out the consultation is completed, removing the names of the four predecessors of López Obrador. This generated questions among the jurists consulted by Infobae Mexico because of the question’s generality and ambiguity.

The FT, for its part, assured that, even though López Obrador was elected with an overwhelming majority in 2018 at the polls, with a mandate to seek a “radical transformation,” the fight against corruption, austerity in government, and economic policy of “the poor first,” does not mean a blank check.

The newspaper was clear. “López Obrador did not win a mandate to dismantle the institutions,” he asserted. “Mexican democracy was already fragile and its public bodies weak, a legacy of years of presidential power without counterweights and the predominance of a single political party,” they explained. A genuinely progressive reform, the publication detailed, would have guaranteed greater autonomy to the states and municipalities, reduced presidential power, and strengthened the rule of law. Instead, the self-styled “Fourth Transformation” has concentrated even more power in their hands.

AMLO has been a fierce critic of his own critics and the Mexican and foreign media. He has proven to be an autocrat that most decisions are made by him alone. Institutions that refuse to follow his wishes are targeted. Likewise, journalists who discredit the president can expect to be named, accused of being “in the service of corrupt and authoritarian regimes” that preceded him, warned the Financial Times.

The newspaper questioned: “Why is Mr. López Obrador so intolerant? “After two years in power, the results are minuscule, beyond a modest pension reform. Economic growth stopped in its first year, and the Mexican recession this year is expected to be the worst in Latin America without counting Argentina,” they said.

Besides, he deepened the corruption problem, and the high levels of a crime himself described as “intolerably high.” Furthermore, the newspaper assured that the coronavirus’s response has been “erratic” since it has led the country to be one of the nations with one of the highest per-capita rates of deaths from COVID-19.

“The golden opportunity offered by the new free trade agreement between Mexico, the United States and Canada (the T-MEC) to seduce American companies to return from China to Mexico has been wasted,” they scrutinized.

Mexico is being transformed, but not in the way López Obrador has promised. Unless the president changes course soon, Latin America’s second-largest economy is at risk of falling into a poorer, darker, more repressive past.

The Financial Times’ narrates a story of a country led by an authoritarian tyrant that had hoped to leave behind.

San Miguel Times Newsroom

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