– Human tide in Mexico in support of President Obrador’s policy
According to the presidency, 1.2 million Mexicans took to the streets of Mexico City on Sunday to support the policies of their leader, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
“AMLO”, the nationalist left-wing president who is almost 60% popular according to opinion polls, took more than five hours to travel 4 kilometers to the iconic Zocalo square, surrounded by a huge crowd of supporters, noted to AFP. Joined by AFP, the spokesman for the presidency, Jesus Ramirez claimed “1.2 million” demonstrators over “nine kilometers” in total. No independent estimate was available.
It is the first time that a Mexican president in office has taken the lead in a demonstration since Lazaro Cardenas (1934-1940), according to the site of the Spanish newspaper “El País”, which quotes historians, political scientists and academics. “I love it!” shouted Sonia Campuzano, a 24-year-old sociology student on the verge of tears. “I am very moved. He’s my leader.”
At the end of the march, the president presented the account of his four years in office in front of tens of thousands of people on Zocalo, shouting: “You are not alone!” “No to re-election!” he threw at them from the start, as if to dispel any hope that he was clinging to power. The Constitution only provides for a single presidential term of six years.
An unparalleled capacity for mobilization
“Priority to the poor”, “increase in the minimum wage”, budgetary austerity, without creating “new debts”: the president detailed for an hour his policy which he presents as a break with more than thirty years of “neoliberalism”. Among other things, he asked the United States to stop any hostile policy towards Mexicans who work legally on the other side of the border.
Throughout the day, AMLO, 69, was followed by demonstrators often brought by bus from states in the interior of the country (Veracruz, Guerrero, etc.). Proof of the mobilization capacity of the ruling party, the Mouvement for National Regeneration (Morena), leading more than half of the 32 states with his allies.
“He did what no president has done for the poor, even if he has to improve a few points, such as insecurity,” Ramon Suarez, an electrician, told AFP during the march. “I like the AMLO way of governing,” enthused Alma Perez, a 35-year-old educator from the southern state of Guerrero. “I don’t listen to the criticisms that are made of him. For example, the violence did not start with him,” she added, referring to the tens of thousands of homicides that Mexico continues to record each year (33,308 in 2021).
“Show your muscles”
Two weeks ago, tens of thousands of people marched in Mexico City against an electoral reform project. Willingly dividing to maintain political “polarization”, the president had estimated that his opponents were in fact defending “racism, classism and corruption”.
He wants to “show his muscles,” said Fernando Dworak, an analyst at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM), contacted by AFP. “The opposition made a big mistake believing they could defeat the president on the streets,” he continued.
Sunday’s mobilization comes less than two years from the presidential election of 2024. Two possible dolphins of the president walked with him, the mayor of Mexico City Claudia Sheinbaum and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard. The president did not name any names in his speech.
Electoral Reform Project
Buoyed by the popularity of its leader, Morena is in a position of strength against an opposition bloc which brings together the PRI, the former party in power for 70 years, the PAN (right) and the PRD (left). This alliance has recently split, before regaining its unity against the electoral reform project.
The reform claims that the members of the National Electoral Institute (INE) are elected, and no longer chosen by the parties. His detractors accuse AMLO of wanting to end the “independence” of the INE, which has overseen the organization of elections since its creation in 1990. The opposition also accuses the Mexican president of authoritarianism and of wanting to “militarize” the country.
AMLO has in fact entrusted the army with several major projects as well as public security tasks in a country that is unable to emerge from the violence of drug trafficking. In his speech, the president justified the controversial passage of the National Guard under the tutelage of the army “so that it is not victim of corruption, as with the old federal police”.