By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has a way of going off script when he is before an audience.
On Tuesday, Sept. 22, he did it again when presenting his internet video discourse to the United Nations General Assembly.
After patting himself and his government on the back for transitioning Mexico from a progressive international economy into a depleted backwater nation struggling to impose his so-called Fourth Transformation (while conveniently overlooking mentioning the fact that the country is now in economic freefall and has the dubious distinction of ranking fourth worldwide in the terms of covid-19 deaths), AMLO began to ramble on about his idol and alleged role model, Mexican leader Benito Juárez.
In his ad-lib spiel about Juárez, the Mexican president somehow managed to turn to the fact (or at least alleged fact by him) that the notorious dictator Benito Mussolini, the Duce of Italian fascism, was named after Mexico’s 23rd president.
Needless to say, few at the UN General Assembly were amused.
AMLO’s remarks immediately generated criticisms and offense, both abroad and at home, where most Mexicans felt the association of one of the nation’s most revered heroes with a despot fascist that aligned himself with the likes of Adolf Hitler was a bridge too far, even for some of his most avid devotees.
Still, AMLO seemed to ignore the criticisms of his very blatant diplomatic faux pas in his morning press conference the following day, Wednesday, Sept. 23.
In fact, he simply ignored the flub as if he had said nothing wrong.
Instead, he once again struck out against the “immoral press” and his “corrupt” predecessors, ordaining that he now intends to impose new rules for politicians — directed primarily at opposition leaders who would dare to run for office against his beloved National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party — that would specify that they can no longer ask for a leave of absence from their posts during campaigning, but instead should resign outright from their offices.
Pleased with his new plan of attack to stifle any opposition to his 4T dream to catapult Mexico back into the 19th century, AMLO’s horde of pseudo journalists (who placate him during his daily press conferences with softball questions and endless praises to his majesty), the issue of his associating Juárez with Mussolini was essentially brushed off as just one more endearing little homey quip by a president who it seems — at least in his own eyes and in those of his blind band of bootlickers — can do no wrong.
After all, what is just one more gaff in the endless parade of offensive, malicious and slanderous statements that seem to stream nonstop from the mouth of López Obrador?
…Sept. 23, 2020