The Rise of Mexico’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador | NowThis World

On December 1st, Mexico will get a new president Former mayor of Mexico City Andrés Manuel López Obrador will take office

But his road to the presidency was anything but easy López Obrador, also known as AMLO, first had to prevail over the incumbent Mexican administration, run by the PRI, a political party that has governed Mexico for most of the last century After numerous corruption scandals and a failed war on drugs that’s killed almost 200,000 people since 2006, López Obrador was hoping the Mexican people were hungry for change In this episode, we’ll discuss how the political outsider AMLO rose to the highest office in Mexican politics AMLO grew up in the state of Tabasco, the epicenter of Mexico’s oil industry

His father worked in the industry and was able to provide AMLO with a middle class childhood AMLO became involved in politics and activism during his 20s, when he took a job as a representative of the National Indigenous Institute While working there, he lived among the Chontal Maya, an indigenous population of Tabasco who are some of Mexico’s most impoverished people AMLO lived and worked with them for six years, building the foundation for his political career while sleeping on a hammock in a dirt-floor shack with his first wife, Rocío Beltrán Medina Eventually, AMLO continued his political work within the PRI’s progressive wing

The party was pretty much Mexico’s only game in town for ambitious young people looking to make a political impact During his time in the PRI, AMLO represented the state of Tabasco in negotiations with state-run oil company Pemex, organizing local oil workers to demand higher wages and benefits from the company In 1983, AMLO left the PRI, frustrated with the difficulty of making change from within Mexico’s dominant political party Five years later, he joined the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution He ran for governor of Tabasco in 1988 and 1994

Both times ended in failure But he persisted In the 1990s, he organized actions like a six-week march from Tabasco to Mexico City, which was meant to show support for free and fair elections, and blockades of oil facilities, which was to protest the industry’s negative environmental impact on local farmers and fisherman All this work on the front lines of activism raised AMLO’s public profile in Mexico And it eventually paid off

In 2000, AMLO finally won his first election, becoming mayor of Mexico City During his tenure, AMLO’s administration started providing stipends to senior citizens, built low-cost housing, subsidized subway fares, and opened new schools, including Mexico City’s first state university AMLO became overwhelmingly popular He maintained an approval rating over 70% throughout much of his five-year term in office This high approval rating made AMLO the frontrunner ahead of Mexico’s 2006 presidential election

His platform during his 2006 run pledged to cut government salaries as well as raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy in order to pay for social programs that would help the Mexican people AMLO ultimately lost the 2006 election by less than 06% of the vote Nevertheless, he claimed victory on election night and demanded a recount AMLO also accused winning candidate Felipe Calderón of orchestrating election fraud

Mexico has a long history of election fraud, but the country instituted several reforms, starting in the 1990s, that eventually allowed for the PRI to be dislodged from power for the first time in 2000 After an election tribunal upheld the 2006 vote, AMLO still positioned himself as the quote “Legitimate President” and was inaugurated to a parallel government in Mexico City’s Zócalo Square AMLO went on to name a resistance cabinet to run his parallel government that proposed legislation, issued statements, and even held its own elections AMLO toured the country for the next several years, eventually visiting all of Mexico’s 2,438 municipalities Heading into the 2012 election with a larger public profile, AMLO decided to present a more moderate platform and image, even though he still referred to himself as “the legitimate president” as late as 2011

One addition to his platform for this election was a new approach to the war on drugs that then-current President Calderon had started upon entering office in 2006 AMLO proposed the removal of drug cartel-fighting army troops from the streets, and said that the government’s focus should instead be on tackling the root causes of crime and violence: lack of opportunity and Mexico’s poor education system But ultimately, AMLO once again failed to take the presidency Initially, he refused to accept the election’s results, which saw the PRI take power once again, with Enrique Peña Nieto at the helm But this time, AMLO stopped short of declaring himself the ‘legitimate president

’ After 12 years in the political wilderness, the PRI returned to power during an incredibly tumultuous time in the country, as decades of violence, corruption, and economic inequality reached a climax In 2014, Peña Nieto and the PRI were directly implicated in multiple corruption scandals, leaving the incumbent administration incredibly unpopular Meanwhile— AMLO broke with the PRD, his political home for over 20 years He then set out to create a new political party: the Movement of National Regeneration, also known as MORENA And nationwide frustration with the PRI set the stage for AMLO’s comeback

The multitude of crises in Mexico seemingly confirmed issues that AMLO had been discussing for decades, vindicating his agenda and making him the clear frontrunner for the 2018 election And then finally, on his third attempt at Mexico’s presidency, Andres Manuel López Obrador won the 2018 election with over 53% of the vote And he’s entering with a mandate to tackle corruption, increase social spending, and transform the country’s war on drugs But can AMLO successfully impact Mexico’s problems? We’ll have to wait and see With a caravan of refugees making its way toward the U

S-Mexico border, AMLO has continued to stress the importance of economic development in Mexico and Central America He has even proposed providing support and visas to migrants entering Mexico Do you think AMLO’s unorthodox approaches to Mexico’s problems will work out? Let us know in the comments, and as always, like and subscribe for more

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