By RICARDO CASTILLO
“He slammed the door on us!”
That quote is from Mexico’s Business Coordination Council (CCE) president Carlos Salazar Lomelín regarding the meeting he and other business leaders had on Monday, April 6, with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) concerning the nation’s booming unemployment quagmire.
AMLO said his doors are open, but that he disagrees with Salazar and other business organizations leaders that the nation should go deeper into debt in order to salvage their businesses.
“We are not going to borrow any more money,” was AMLO’s answer. Plus the fact, as he put it on Sunday, April 5. while introducing his first quarter report to the nation, “our commitment is to protect the poorest and most vulnerable part of the nation.”
” Those who have done well can get out of this one (crisis) pretty much on their own,” he said.
On Tuesday, April 7, Salazar Lomelín hooked up with 4,000 members nationwide to complain about the president’s “closed” attitude toward the demands of the business community. Many of the members retorted that the one way out of this one was “to get rid of the president.”
Salazar Lomelín, however, didn’t bite the bait of the drums of war. He reminded participating business leaders in the chat that AMLO “has the full support of our democratic structure,” hence the upper hand in leading the nation. But Salazar Lomelín also warned that Congress passed a law last year that was demanded by AMLO, called “the mandate revoking law,” in which voters will be able to kick a president out of office halfway into his six-year mandate.
Then, in a most unusual manner for a business leader, Salazar Lomelín went into a tirade of what AMLO, on Wednesday, April 8, called “politicking.
Salazar Lomelín mad the following statement made to his represented peers:
“If anyone thinks that is the way (to boot AMLO out office), then please get organized. I would also like to see the political side do its part and ours is to support pymes (micro-, small- and medium-sized companies) to salvage jobs. Do you really think you’re going to achieve anything just for coming out and telling the man to go away? If that’s what we want then, let’s get together and do it. But in order to do it, we are going to have to have 30 million-plus voting Mexicans behind us.”
AMLO answered the CCE onslaught meeting with some of the nation’s top billionaire entrepreneurs, who have pledged that they will not fire workers and instead send them home to wait out the passing of the coronavirus pandemic. He has received their support.
But obviously, not so from the new group formed by the CCE, the National Manufacturing Industries Chamber (Canacintra) and the smaller but powerful National Confederation of Industrial Chambers (Concamin), which, together with Salazar Lomelín, spent nearly five hours on Monday, April 6, trying to convince AMLO to manage the nation the way they said. Of course, he said no and that was the origin of the “slammed door” protest, as it is being called these days in some of the conservative media.
What’s really going on?
To some observers, the answer is very clear- But what is not clear is the way the Mexican business community has interpreted the rise of AMLO to power. They are so terrorized by the president that you would think that he is leading the movement of the rise of the living dead – like in the TV “terror” series.
The fact is that since he was vying for the third time as candidate for the Mexican presidency, AMLO told it straight and just about in every campaign speech he repeated that he was going first to fight against the rampant corruption in the upper echelons of government, usually led by the president in turn himself, who was allegedly not merely corrupt, but enticed everyone around him to be so.
Let’s not forget the now-infamous phrase uttered by now former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto when he was asked what he thought about corruption.
“I believe it is a cultural thing,” he said. This answer gave AMLO the popular vote that has him and his National Regeneration Movement (Morena) political party in full control of the government, at least until 2024.
Throngs of opponents nowadays are bitching (sorry, their insults could not be described by any other term) that AMLO’s way of leading the nation happens to be wrong — not politically speaking, but they can’t cope with his style of governance.
Yet, a thorough look through everything makes you come to the conclusion that AMLO is doing exactly what he said he would do. No more and no less, proving all along that he is a one-track-minded politician who can’t be swayed by the opposing business community, which in past times enjoyed the ears and obedience of both the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and National Action Party (PRI) presidents.
Furthermore, AMLO keeps repeating to his opponents that “we are not equal,” meaning he doesn’t t think in the same “neoliberal” way they became accustomed to over the past 36 years under six different presidents who, in AMLO’s words, led half the people of the nation into poverty through the acquisition of government debt to finance the rich. This concept – which the business community seems to have forgotten – is what led AMLO to win the vote of the poor.
Not only that, but after the 2018 presidential election that led AMLO to the presidency, all other political parties collapsed like a house of cards, leaving Morena and the president without any noteworthy opposition.
Sure CCE’s Salazar Lomelín is correct in challenging the CCE membership into finding more than 30 million voters to oust AMLO from power through the mandate revoking law. A referendum vote for or against AMLO is in the future, and, recently, AMLO did admit that the people could revoke his mandate if they wanted to. “I will cry if they do, but I’ll go home anyway,” he quipped.
This said, all of the above means that AMLO – who demanded that the mandate revocation law be approved by both houses of Congress – is not infallible and, for his adversaries, there is a chance to see whether AMLO is right or wrong.
Until then, AMLO is bound to continue doing exactly what he promised he would during his campaign.