Saturday, September 21, 2019

Lopez-Obrador facing a little reality south of the border

Image result for lopez obrador cartoons
In recent days, I’ve spoken with several Mexican friends and they’re all singing the same song:  How did this guy LO get elected?
Well, to be fair, he did win the election easily.  Secondly, the opposition put up some lousy candidates.  I was hoping that Antonio Meade, then the finance minister and a centrist, would win, but he put up a lousy effort.  Perhaps Meade was stuck with President Henrique Pena-Nieto’s bad ratings, which often happens when you have an unpopular incumbent. As we say up here, you can’t beat someone with nothing! Sadly, AMLO had it too easy.
Nevertheless, President AMLO, as Mexicans call him, is generating some very partisan responses.  Mexico is becoming extremely polarized, especially along socioeconomic lines.  
This is an example from Victor Hugo Becerra, a contributor to Pan Am Post:   
The days go by, and the confirmations are unfortunately abundant. The government of Lopez Obrador is a grand failure. It is a disappointment to many of his followers. The country will not end up in the right place if it follows the path of his administration. I hope he can change things (little, but there is still time to do so), but his attitudes and those of his collaborators do not offer much hope.
Lopez Obrador has broken practically every promise he made to come to power: He did not reduce the price of gasoline or electricity, did not fight corruption (he has become an accomplice to it), did not reduce crime or violence in the country (which remains berserk, unpunished and uncontrolled), did not fight huachicoleo (fuel theft), and continues to chase after the areas near the Mexican refineries, offered to save PEMEX (but his bad decisions bring him closer to the abyss, day by day, and with them, the country’s economy). He has not created more jobs, nor has he attracted investors.
The economy is stagnant at 0% growth compared to its potential to grow at 4% annually, suggesting that the administration has already forgotten the proposal to decentralize its dependencies away from Mexico City. Lopez Obrador promised to maintain a firm and dignified foreign policy against Donald Trump but turned the country and its government into unpresentable servants who do the dirty work of the Trump administration.
Well, I think that amigo Victor is over reaching saying that President Lopez-Obrador is doing “the dirty work” of the Trump administration.  After all, what he is doing on the Southern border with Guatemala is returning Mexico to its traditional tough policy on illegal immigration.  Also, Mexicans are not crazy about the caravans either. 
Other than that, Victor is right on.
The Lopez-Obrador administration has failed to take advantage of the amazing U.S. economy.  By any historical standard, Mexico should be booming, given its traditional relationship with the U.S.  Mexico always grows when we grow, and the U.S. is growing but Mexico is not.
As for the charges of corruption, Victor raises a point that I’ve heard from many Mexican friends.  They hear that the President wants to do away with corruption, but fear that it may be all talk.
What does all this trouble south of the border mean for us?  It means that President Trump will be in a strong position the next time that the leaders talk about this or that.  In other words, LO needs Trump a lot, specially if he wants to get the Mexican economy growing again.
P.S.  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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