By KITZIA NIN PONIATOWSKA
In 17 months of poor governance, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has surpassed his predecessors Carlos Salinas de Gortari in terms of currency devaluation, Ernesto Zedillo in terms of economic recession, Vicente Fox in incompetency, Felipe Calderón in the number of homicides and Enrique Peña Nieto in terms of corruption and ignorance.
In less than a year and a half, AMLO has destroyed the little good that had been accomplished in Mexico over the course of the last 30 years — achievements that during that time had protected the country from the serious problems that it is now confronting.
Among the institutions AMLO destroyed are:
- The Stabilization Fund (In 2019 alone, AMLO spent more than 60 percent of the monies that had been allocated over the last 20 years.)
- Seguro Popular, the public health safety net for the nation’s uninsured (AMLO dissolved this health system that protected Mexico’s most vulnerable communities.)
- Daycare systems and women’s shelters (AMLO left millions of children and women with no alternatives for crucial basic support.)
- Free cancer treatments for women and children (AMLO eliminated this service without offering any alternative for these gravely ill patients.)
- Pueblos Mágicos designations for tourist destinations (AMLO halted all support for these national treasure towns, cutting off key revenues for their inhabitants from national and internaitonal tourism.)
- Tourism promotion (AMLO eliminated all international commercial promotion of Mexico as a tourist destination.)
Additionally, since taking office in December 2018, López Obrador has destroyed the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), which for three decades provided high-quality medical care to millions of Mexican workers.
In 30 years, the IMSS built and equipped hospitals that offered world-class attention for cancer patients, state-of-the-art surgeries and numerous successful organ transplants.
Today, these hospitals do not have even the most basic supplies, such as bandages and soap in their bathrooms, all thanks to AMLO.
Before AMLO came to power, Mexico’s credit was categorized by the Big Three international rating agencies (Moody’s Analytics, Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings) as AAA. Today, it is rated as BBB or below, just above a junk rating.
On taking office, AMLO canceled construction on the much-needed New International Mexico Airport (NAIM), despite the fact that the $13 billion project was already more than half completed, and according to a report issued by his own Communications and Transportation Secretariat (SCT), the cancelation left the country with a debt of more than $6 billion in bonds and another 30 billion pesos in fiduciary certificates, a hefty financial liability that Mexico will be paying off for at least 19 more years.
This was just the first example of AMLO’s reckless policy of not respecting contracts and international treaties, which has destroyed Mexico’s credibility and image as a safe and reliable member of the global community.
Moreover, AMLO has intensified tensions with the United States, while at the same time becoming the lapdog of U.S. President Donald Trump, sending Mexico’s National Guard to persecute migrants.
He also developed a conflict with Spain, demanding that Madrid ask for forgiveness for the Spanish Conquest of Mexico, an event that took place five centuries ago.
And AMLO has damaged relations with other Latin American nations by blatantly supporting narco dictators such as Bolivia’s Evo Morales and Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro.
AMLO has diminished Mexico’s role as a global leader by refusing to attend G-20 meetings.
Even before the onset of the coronavirus epidemic — which AMLO has shamefully mismanaged at the cost of countless Mexican lives — he eroded Mexico’s institutions.
The year 2019 — AMLO’s first full year in power — Mexico registered its highest number of homicides, femicides and infanticides (more than those in the entire six-year term of Calderón).
And in the first months of this year, the number of homicides in Mexico has doubled.
AMLO eliminated the Federal Police force, exacerbating an already-grave national security crisis.
He has put the Mexican army to work in menial jobs such as the construction of his infeasible Santa Lucía airport (one of his three irrational pet projects) and wellbeing branches.
(It is worth noting that the construction of the Santa Lucía airport — which goes against all recommendations from serious international aeronautic experts and which is destroying precious archeological sites in its path — has displaced military bases and barracks.)
Mexico’s currency has devalued by more than 20 percent in recent months, and while the petroleum wars between Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iran, as well as the covid-19 pandemic, can be blamed to some extent, the U.S. and Canadian dollars have remained solid. The same can be said for most international currencies, except, of course, the Mexican peso.
The fact of the matter is that the nation’s money machines have been working overtime. Under AMLO, there has been at least a 5 percent increase in bill and coin production, something that has not happened in Mexico since 1989.
AMLO has openly laughed about the covid-19 pandemic that is now oversaturating our nation’s hospitals and other health institutions and resulting in countless deaths (without proper testing, there is no way to currently estimate the real number of victims).
AMLO has treated the pandemic nonchalantly and irresponsibly, telling Mexicans to go out to lunch with their families and hug each other in full Phase 2 of the medical crisis.
Despite stern recommendations to the contrary from his own health secretary, AMLO continues to travel around the country, visiting criminals and attending to petitions from drug lords.
He refuses to use hand sanitizers, check his temperature or wear a face mask, setting a dubious example for the rest of the country.
Last year, Mexico registered a negative economic growth rate, and this year is destined to be even worse. (Between 1999 and 2017, the country had an average annual growth rate of 2.5 percent, a consequence of transparency and a strong separation of political powers, as well as solid savings standards and investment, with an unemployment rate of 4 percent and an inflation rate of less than 3 percent per annum.
Before AMLO took office, there was, despite strong opposition, absolute respect for the autonomy of Mexico’s Central Bank (Banxico), the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. That is not the case today.
When the private sector developed and tried to implement its own stimulus package to help the national economy to confront the coming financial crisis, AMLO ranted about the arrogant “moditos” (“manners”) of the business community.
AMLO, who for more than 18 years bragged about having a panacea solution for all of Mexico’s ailments, managed, with diatribes of hatred and finger-pointing attacks on his political adversaries, to harness the frustration and desperation of 30 million Mexicans who trusted in him without ever bothering to check his track record as a master of slander and misinformation.
And here are we have the results of the malicious handiwork of a persistance agitator, born out of a cradle of corruption and bathed in stubborn leftist denial and opportunism.
…May 4, 2020