Home Feature Mexico under fire: The radicalization of Lopez Obrador. Op-ed

Mexico under fire: The radicalization of Lopez Obrador. Op-ed

by sanmigueltimes
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After the second half of Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration began, red lights and alarms went off in large part of the country’s population, who disagreed with the many unilateral decisions made by the president. 

We see a cornered and desperate Lopez Obrador, who, anguished, notices that his time is running out, and everything he planned never turned out as he thought it would. As a result, his narrative has been losing power. We can perceive this in his morning conferences, statements, and, even worse, his decisions. A worrying radicalization in the time he has left in the presidency. 

Multiple actions demonstrate this. The fact of taking his youngest son out of the country and sending him to study in London is not a coincidence. People close to the National Palace admit that this happened because the president is bothered by his son’s excesses (behavior, clothes, and tennis shoes at prices impossible to afford for 90% of the Mexican population) which is in contrast with his narrative; of “Franciscan poverty.” Bad for the elections to come.

The militarization of the country is imminent. There is no turning back. The fact that the National Guard is a whole part of SEDENA implies many things: the most dangerous is putting more than a hundred thousand troops at the service of one man. There is no guarantee they will not use force against the civilian population, the increasingly nonexistent opposition, or their “adversaries,” as AMLO calls them. One thing is clear; they do not touch organized crime even with the petal of a rose. 

Few things scare this president and his entourage as much as the word TERRORISM. Today, August 16, 2022, on Twitter, AMLO’s favorite cartoonist, Rafael Barjas “el fisgón” -@fisgonmonero- wrote: “Today the opponents and their spokesmen insist on installing the narrative that Mexican narcos are “terrorist groups.” That narrative is dangerous, since 9/11 of 2001, the United States has been intervening in other countries under the pretext of “fighting terrorism.” 

And there you have it, the terror of being questioned, exposed, and of course, that the United States will intervene in Mexico. But, in a strictly objective sense, what is terrorism? Its meaning is: “Intentional and premeditated use of force against civilians by a sub-state actor, to induce a state of terror in a society or parts of it.” What happened in Jalisco, Guanajuato, Baja California, and Michoacán. How would you define it? In less than a week, according to government data, there were “only” 196 deaths (against the 260 reported by Reforma) without leaving aside the burning of convenience stores, gas stations, or public and private vehicles, murders, injuries, and a massive panic among the civil society. 

However, the question is: if it is not terrorism, what is it? What happened in recent days was the intentional use of force against civilians to induce a state of terror in society through collective fear, as well as to exert pressure on political and civilian groups. But what kind of pressure? According to journalist Ricardo Aleman, a source close to Lopez Obrador confirmed that the president ordered his allies in organized crime to “calentar la plaza.” This means to cause violent acts throughout the country to justify the militarization of security. AMLO and the groups close to him have denied that.

What’s next in Lopez Obrador’s remaining time? Unfortunately, we can only assume that violence will continue as a constant. Although the president has some popularity in the country, we can observe more and more situations that are far from being corrected and even being considered for militarization. Among these are. 

  1. Medicine shortages. López Obrador has openly mentioned that, if necessary, the armed forces would carry out the distribution. 
  2. The internet in the country, under the supervision of the army.
  3. Declaring all his mega-works as “national security” by bypassing procedures and norms. An authoritarian and extremely opaque coup.
  4. Decree 2 for the National Guard. 
  5. With the help of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN), the disclosure of the declarations of assets of 23 military engineers who were in charge of the construction works of the Felipe Ángeles International Airport was blocked for an indefinite period. The Secretariat of National Defense (Serena) opened accounts for each of the fronts, where the engineers were the ones who received and allocated the resources. In 2020, their accounts received 28 billion pesos from the budget and a Sedena trust fund.
  6. Andrés Manuel López Obrador declared that he would reform the secondary laws of the National Guard (GN) so that soldiers and marines can remain in public security work beyond the constitutional period that establishes their retirement to the barracks in March 2024.

One thing is clear: López Obrador has shown time and again his authoritarianism, his inability to dialogue, and his autocratic personality, as he has demonstrated during his government, that his thing is imposition at any cost. Lopez Obrador will become even more radical for the remainder of his government. 

AMLO’s “Fourth Transformation” has failed and is dead. Given that in Mexico, there is a useless, sterile, incapable opposition, it may be that MORENA will become the new hegemonic party, following in the footsteps of the PRI of the past. Still, one thing is undeniable: Mexico is right now a nightmare of corruption, violence, resentment, polarization, and in short, very far from being “the promised land” offered by Lopez Obrador in his campaigns. 

In AMLO’s own words: “Lo mejor, es lo peor que se va a poner”. –“The best, it is that the worse is yet to come.”-

The Yucatan Times editorial board comprises a group of 9 people from different nationalities and backgrounds, selected due to their trajectory and objectivity.

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