By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
When Gilberto de Jesús Lozano González, the founder and leader of Mexico’s Frente Nacional Anti-AMLO (National Anti-AMLO Front, or Frena) presented a formal demand before the Chamber of Deputies judicial committee on Wednesday, Aug. 5, calling for the immediate and irrevocable destitution from office of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), he had no illusions that it would ever reach a vote on the lower house’s floor.
“We are not naïve,” he told Pulse News Mexico on Thursday, Aug. 6.
“We know the Chamber of Deputies has a majority of pro-AMLO members of Morena (the leftwing National Regeneration Movement party founded by López Obrador) who are not interested in seeing this document reviewed. But we are going through the motions of trying to accomplish our goals legally, even though we know full well that the political deck is stacked against us and against democracy.”
“We are going through the motions of trying to accomplish our goals legally, even though we know full well that the political deck is stacked against us and against democracy.,”
— Gilberto de Jesús Lozano González
Lozano González, who leads a group of anti-AMLO critics and protesters nationwide who have, since April, taken to the streets and filed numerous legal suits against the AMLO administration, admitted that since López Obrador has a stranglehold on both Mexican legislative houses and has essentially muted all independent institutions in the country, even resorting to a Supreme Court suit could prove futile. (Frena currently has eight cases before the Mexican Supreme Court that have been pushed to the back burner at the government’s request.)
“We are approaching the removal of AMLO’s dictatorship on three nonviolent fronts: the judicial, the social pressure and the mediatic,” Lozano González said.
“In addition to seeking AMLO’s removal via the judicial path, we have been holding progressively larger protests marches — first in the form of caravans and now in the form of occupying plazas — and we are diffusing our information through whatever media we can, even though the AMLO administration controls much of the main media.”
Lozano González said that while AMLO may have been duly elected by the Mexican people, he has, since taking office on Dec. 1, 2018, transformed into a dictator, much in the mold of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and Bolivia’s Evo Morales.
He said that López Obrador now meets all the criteria of a dictator as defined by University of Massachusetts political scientist Gene Sharp in his internationally acclaimed treatise “From Dictatorship to Democracy”: exerting unilateral power; squelching all independent institutions; demonizing, discrediting and disqualifying all opposing media and critics; inventing and promoting an imaginary common enemy (in this case, the so-called “corrupt neoliberal conservatives” that preceded him); and making false promises to ensure mass public support.
“Since he took power, AMLO has tried to impose on Mexico a Chávista-style dictatorship, following to the letter the playbook of Hugo Chávez as prescribed to in the São Paulo Forum,” Lozano González said.
“Basically, he is trying to turn Mexico into another Venezuela, and we have all seen in the case of Venezuela (once the richest nation in Latin America) how a great country can be destroyed and brought to its knees by a communist dictatorship. This is what López Obrador is trying to do with Mexico, in strict violation of the constitution and Mexican law.”
The 46-page document Lozano González presented to the Chamber of Deputies constitutes the Mexican equivalent of a demand for a presidential impeachment hearing.
The 46-page document Lozano González presented to the Chamber of Deputies constitutes the Mexican equivalent of a demand for a presidential impeachment hearing, and is solidly founded in the Mexican Constitution, which, under Article 110, allows for a political trial against the president on three levels: the suspension of his legal protection against suits against him, the limitation of his imposed powers, and him immediate removal from office.
The demand that Lozano presented to the Chamber was the result of two months of careful documentation by a team of constitutional lawyers outlining how AMLO has, over the course of his first 19 months in power, allegedly violated the nation’s constitution and committed gross acts of legal negligence on 101 occasions.
Lozano González explained that AMLO’s alleged constitutional violations and criminal acts can be divided into five categories.
“The first category is migratory, ” he said.
“AMLO has, in full disobedience of the Mexican Constitution, opened up the country’s southern border to indiscriminately allow 800,000 undocumented Central Americans enter the country illegally. Not only did this action violate Mexico’s migratory law and regulations, but it is a threat to our national sovereignty and independence because he has since moved to grant these illegal immigrants Mexican nationality as part of his ploy to beef up his constituency and solidify his power.”
The second category of constitutional and legal violations, Lozano González said, has been in the field of health.
“López Obrador has essentially crippled and dismantled the nation’s health system, closing down the Seguro Popular system (which provided health services to all Mexicans), halting the purchase of crucial medications for patients (especially, children with cancer) and cutting off financial support for other public health services,” the Frena leader said.
López Obrador has essentially crippled and dismantled the nation’s health system, closing down the Seguro Popular system and halting the purchase of crucial medications for patients.
Lozano González pointed out that this grave mismanagement of the national health system has led to dire consequences in the face of the mounting covid-19 pandemic.
According to the World Health Organization, Mexico now holds the dubious distinction of second place in terms of per capita covid-19 deaths, and health workers in Mexico are 10 times more likely to contract the disease than their counterparts in other countries, due in large part to a lack of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and blatant governmental indifference.
Third on Lozano González’s list of charges against AMLO is his gross mismanagement of the economy.
Starting with what he calls the “illegal” cancelation of the construction of a massive $13 billion international airport (despite the fact that a large part of the construction had already been completed and investors had signed legal contracts to complete the project), followed by the subsequent violation of other national and international contracts, Lozano González said that AMLO has done everything in his power to aliéntate investors and bankrupt the country.
Lozano González said that AMLO has done everything in his power to aliéntate investors and bankrupt the country.
“Many outside analysts are now referring to Mexico as a failed state, and rightly so,” he said.
“AMLO has done nothing to help businesses stay afloat during the pandemic shutdown. And, worse yet, he has waged war on private businesses.”
Lozano González noted that in the last quarter alone, Mexico registered more than $13 million in capital flight, the second-highest figure worldwide.
In the last quarter alone, Mexico registered more than $13 million in capital flight, the second-highest figure worldwide.
Moreover, he said, despite his claims of not wanting to indenture the country, AMLO has raised the national debt from 12.7 billion pesos from when he took office to 12.33 billion as of June of this year.
“To put that figure in perspective, we are talking about indebting the country by $6 million an hour, and that is based on figures from the government’s Treasury Secretariat, ” Lozano González said.
“What that works out to roughly is the equivalent of one presidential airplane a day. And he is using this money to buy votes through his so-called social programs in which he gives cash to his supporters.”
In addition, according to the government’s own figures, the state-run oil corporation Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) has in the first half of this year alone run up $30 billion losses, making it even less viable than it already was, Lozano González said. (The Big Three international rating agencies have classified Pemex stock as junk.)
According to the government’s own figures, the state-run oil corporation Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) has in the first half of this year alone run up $30 billion losses.
Lozano González warned that if the country does not soon manage to get back on track financially, it will suffer a massive brain drain and capital flight as more than 10 million well-heeled, professionals are expected to take their assets and talents elsewhere.
The fourth area of violations registered in the document Lozano González presented to the Chamber of Deputies concerns security.
“In López Obrador’s first 19 months in office, the country has seen more than 50,000 murders, and the numbers are still on the rise,” Lozano González said.
In López Obrador’s first 19 months in office, the country has seen more than 50,000 murders.
“When he took office, he swore to uphold the laws of the country, but instead he has coddled criminals and even released an internationally wanted criminal — the son of the notorious Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán — without any legal right to do so.”
Lozano González also made reference to AMLO’s infamous fraternization with Consuelo Lorea, the mother of El Chapo, last March, while at the same time refusing to meet with the mothers of disappeared children.
“The laws of Mexico clearly state that criminals should and must be prosecuted, not embraced with hugs, as AMLO has done,” Lozano González said.
The laws of Mexico clearly state that criminals should and must be prosecuted, not embraced with hugs.
López Obrador’s unprecedented use of the military for civilian purposes is also in stark violation of the Mexican Constitution, he said.
The final category of AMLO’s violations of Mexican law and the Mexican Constitution, is, Lozano González said, perhaps the most grievous, outright acts of criminality.
Among the many incidences of such crimes documented in by Lozano González and his team is López Obrador’s blatant abuse of the nation’s resources, starting with the autocratic decision to turn over at least $100 million of Mexico’s financial reserves to Central America, Cuba and Venezuela.
“AMLO simply does not have the authority or right to give away that money to other countries,” Lozano González said.
“And that is only the amount we know of. The real figure is probably twice that amount.”
But while Lozano González’s charges against López Obrador may indeed be well founded, as he already stated, there is little chance that they will win an audience in Mexico’s Morena-stilted Chamber of Deputies, which tends to rubberstamp any arbitrary decisions the president may make.
Still, Lozano González is not deterred.
History has shown that the most effective nonviolent path to ousting a dictator is through social pressure.
“History has shown that the most effective nonviolent path to ousting a dictator is through social pressure,” he said.
Frena, which has only been in existence since spring of this year, now has a following of about 7 million, and while government-sanctioned polls show AMLO with a 60-plus approval, Lozano González said that Frena’s own independent polling shows his disapproval rate now at 52 percent and his approval rate at just 32 percent.
Lozano González also said that while only about 1.8 million Mexicans currently participate in Frena’s weekly protests, for every person who attends the caravans and plaza occupations, there are at least four supporters who do not want to get involved publicly.
“It is important that these people now get involved because we need to get to a critical mass of at least 7 million protesters to force AMLO to resign,” he said.
“And we need to do this before Nov. 30, because after that date he will have completed two years in office and even if he is removed, he will automatically be replaced by one of his cronies.”
Lozano González explained that if the president were removed before the end of his second year, an interim president would be installed and mandatory new elections would be held within a period of six months.
“It isn’t going to be easy to remove López Obrador,” he said.
“We are definitely facing an uphill battle, but we all need to get involved because what is at stake is the future of Mexico for the next 20 years. We owe it to our children and our country to stop the dictatorship of AMLO before he imposes irreparable damage to Mexico.”
…Aug. 7, 2020