By RICARDO CASTILLO
It’s been just over a week since Mexico’s new president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), began activities leading to his investiture as president next Dec. 1.
AMLO’s first attention-grabbing move was to meet with the country’s current president Enrique Peña Nieto, with whom he held an amiable face-to-face at the site of the federal government, the National Palace. The meeting was amiable and Peña Nieto pledged to facilitate all necessary moves leading up to the power transfer from one administration to the next.
This gathering had been overshadowed, however, by the fact that on Monday, July 2, AMLO had a friendly conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump. In the following days, he went even further to announce that he will officially invite Trump to attend his inauguration. That invitation raised a lot of eyebrows because everyone is wondering if Trump is welcome in Mexico and if he would play the stone-guest role. We’ll see if Trump accepts, but most likely he’ll send Vice President Mike Pence.
It must be added that Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be most welcome, as well.
AMLO also busied himself by having phone conversations from his election headquarters in Mexico City’s Colonia Roma with different heads of state from all over the world.
He also went about forming his cabinet, making the definite announcement that former Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard will be his Foreign Relations secretary. This came as a bit of a surprise as previously he had mentioned career Ambassador Hector Vasconcelos for the post, but apparently Vasconcelos will oversee the management of embassies consulates while Ebrard will hold the post of chancellor.
Since the election, AMLO has not stayed put in his offices and several times a day he visits places to attend meetings. His entourages have become a bit of a public nuisance to traffic because people mob him wherever he appears in Mexico City.
This elbow-rubbing with the people is creating panic among many Mexicans because AMLO is no longer the friendly politician stumping on the road, but rather the president-elect of the nation.
AMLO has consistently rejected having a military guard to protect him. Instead, he says that he will do away with the elite military group called Estado Mayor that’s been in charge of the president’s security since 1934. The Estado Mayor is currently responsible for programming the president’s schedule, preparing his meals, providing secured transport, and so on, all of which AMLO nowadays bluntly rejects. He says he will reassign the Estado Mayor to their Mexican Army posts.
Concern overAMLO’s security is no small matter and a scary topic. Everyone who is not a millennial still recalls the 1994 assassination of then-presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio in Tijuana by a gunmen meddling among the crowd. Like AMLO, Colosio rejected security, claiming the people loved him. Obviously, it took just one bullet to the back of the head at close range to finish him off and prove that at least one person dd not love him.
Another questionable issue is the fact that AMLO had been claiming during his campaign that he would get rid of the luxury jetliner the president uses to move around, particularly in long hauls, either within Mexico or abroad. He says it’s too expensive and that he will move in commercial airliners or rent charters. That’s another pending issue.
AMLO is also taking this transition period to mend fences with all the people he terrified and angered during his campaign, namely the entrepreneurial organizations, which he called rapacious and worse.
He is in fact doing a good job assuring the private sector corporations that his administration will work with them to increase investment and create as many jobs as possible during his upcoming six-year tenure. He has come out of every meeting in good terms as he assures them all that he will not become another “Venezuelan dictator” and that democracy, not dictatorship, has always been and still is in his mind.
There are many more things happening in AMLO’s transition period, but this is just the beginning for AMLO’s hyperactive personality.
Right now, he’s been actually making executive promises to the entrepreneurial community, but this is seen by many as a joint-government along with President Peña Nieto, who, after the meeting with AMLO last Tuesday at National Palace, has definitely taken the stature of a lame duck.