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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: https://www.humanite.fr/amerique-ce...

by Cathy dos Santos

A new era of left-wing politics begins in Mexico

Translated Monday 30 July 2018, by Eoin Downey

It was an historic victory for Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador. The leftist leader is promising to end corruption and focus on social justice in a country which has been ravaged by violence.

A new day has risen in Mexico. Although marbled with certain doubts, it is nevertheless full of hope. The victory of Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador in the presidential election on Sunday marks a turning point for Mexico. Plagued by murder, social inequality and systematic corruption, Mexico has also shown an economic hyper-dependence on the United States.

It was third time lucky for the former mayor (2000-2005) who had to weather electoral fraud this July 1st. Yet despite the low blows and spoiled votes, a tidal wave of anger thundered up to the ballot boxes. With 53.6% of the vote, the election of the Morena party leader and a leftist coalition (Together We Will Make History) constitutes a political revolution in a country whose blood has been sucked dry by the Institutional Revolutionary Party for a century. Only two presidential terms interrupted their reign of political dominance.

The victory for Lopez Obrador has for the moment masked the fact that PRI suffered its worst defeat in recent history. Garnering just 15.6% of the vote, José Antonio Meade finished in third place. The National Action party (right-wing), with its 22.6%, did not capitalise on the enormous public dissatisfaction which had accumulated during the previous six years of Enrique Peña Nieto. Though once dubbed for his youth and pseudo-dynamism, Peña Nieto’s legacy will be the highest rate of murder under any other president, with just as much impunity.

The new president is promising a national ‘transition’
An historic rout of PRI and an accomplishment for the left. On Sunday, AMLO, as he has been nicknamed, once again emphasised his concept of national ‘transition’, without triumphalism or vengeance. He declared that “I will not betray the people (...) The new project of the nation will look to establish a new democracy (...) we are not supporting the creation of a new dictatorship”. AMLO, who takes up office on December 1st, was referencing attacks from his detractors, who were throwing every “Castro-Chavist” style insult at him.
This insult remains a classic in Latin America as long as the left can maintain positions of power. AMLO has equally remembered his priorities, such as “universal healthcare for seniors and the disabled.” While addressing the ‘nini’ or the youth without an education or employment, he insisted, “We will guarantee the youth of Mexico the right to schooling and the right to work.” The fight against corruption will be the other central tenet of his politics. “The transformation will consist of unearthing corruption in our country. (...) It is not a cultural phenomenon, but the result of a political regime in decline” he explained from his headquarters.

The desire is there. But will AMLO really get the necessary wiggle-room? Admittedly, Lopez Obrador will enjoy a parliamentary majority as Morena collected 211 of the 300 seats that make up the lower house. The party was also able to elect 6 governors in the 9 competing states. They also won the capitol, whose mayor, Claudia Steinbaum, is a close friend of AMLO.

But in a state of lawlessness, where a number of regions are under the control of the cartels, drugs and mafias of all sorts, the task promises to be a difficult one.

As for the geopolitical plan, the future president will have a lot to do to loosen the U.S vise. The white house’s policy on immigration and the intended border wall which they want Mexico to pay for are just some of the challenges waiting for Lopez Obrador. All this is without even counting the ludicrous negotiations concerning the free-trade bill with the United States and Canada, which Donald Trump intends to overhaul to suit himself. That is unless AMLO ends this "life support" from the US, which is synonymous with poverty and enslavement for his country, and finally turns Mexico towards its neighbours in Latin America.


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