By RICARDO CASTILLO
In 10 separate gatherings of the so-called Federalist Alliance, the governors of as many Mexican states held meetings to demand that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) not drastically cut their income in the 2021 national budget. They also protested against the recent elimination of 109 federally funded trusts that sprinkled money into their states.
In tandem, the 10 repeated that if AMLO does eliminate the trusts, they will take juridical and political measures to confront him.
Behind each of the speeches of the 10 governors, there was the threat that they might vow to “separate” their states from the federal pact, either individually or in a group. The governors fell short of calling their threats a movement for secession.
Their cries roared in each of the 10 states, and they may or not have valid points, but the real question is how far this Federalist Alliance can go. Do they actually represent a threat to the AMLO administration? The fact is that these governors face monumental hurdles.
The first hurdle will be the upcoming 2021 elections. In four of those races, the plaintiff-governors will become sitting ducks by the end of 2020.
Of the “rebel” states, from south to northeast, Colima, Michoacán, Chihuahua and Nuevo León face elections for governor. That leaves the states of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Aguascalientes, Durango, Coahuila and Tamaulipas.
It is clear that none of the 10 governors belongs to AMLO’s National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party.
But even with the threat of secession, AMLO sees the revolt as “electoral politicking,” and on Tuesday, Oct. 27, one day after the governors’ outcry, he stated that no matter how loud they shout, he would not meet with them to discuss 2021 budgetary matters.
“There is no issue,” AMLO said. “They are being looked after by the Treasury Secretary and I am not going to allow them to use the presidential institution for their objectives.”
Asked if he considered that the gatherings represented political “blackmail,” the president said “no,” but admitted he only understands their move as “a typical attitude of the electoral season.”
“I don’t know what they see, what they are feeling or what’s happening to them,” he said, but clearly, they are all nervous.”
In short, their “threats” did not impress him even enough for his to give them any consideration.
Also on Tuesday, the current president of the National Governors’ Conference (Conago), an organization of the remaining 22 state governors from which the Federalist Alliance splintered, said that the 10 state governors “have their own agenda” and that there will be no others joining them.
Another question is: What exactly are the “electoral politicking” moves staged by the governors decried by AMLO? The answer is there are two of them that are paving a path for the 2024 presidential elections.
One is Chihuahua Governor Javier Corral, who in the past few months staged a dogfight with the president over not complying with the U.S.-Mexico International Water Treaty. Corral, a member of the National Action Party (PAN), thinks he got away with a victory by not releasing the portion the Conchos River should provide to the Rio Grande for Texas farmers. AMLO saw that the water supplied from the Amistad and Falcon Reservoirs located in Coahuila and Tamaulipas. It was Corral, however, who masterminded the Federalist Alliance split from Conago.
The other presidential hopeful is Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro of the Citizens’ Movement Party (MC). On Monday, Oct. 26, he gathered over 300 supporters at the Cabañas Institute in Guadalajara. In his speech, he blasted Conago members for not joining the federation, claiming that “no free or sovereign state with an inkling of dignity can continue to be part of a federation when the government of the republic ignores us, attacks us, insults us and takes away what belongs to us.”
On the secession issue, Guanajuato Governor Diego Sinhue Rodriguez (PAN), not seen as a presidential hopeful, “warned” that the 10 states could “abandon the federal pact” due to the coming budget cuts as well as the elimination of the trust funds.
Also vying for the presidential candidacy but for the Democratic Revolution Party is Michoacán Governor Silvano Aureoles.
Surely, the rebel governors are familiar with Constitutional Article 123, which stipulates that “the Mexican who commits treason against the country will be sanctioned from five to 40 years in prison for trying to dispose of national territory or contribute to the nation’s dismemberment.”
But no matter, they continue on a path of rebellion. Or is it just seasonal politicking?
The outcome of all this is that there are elections next year, and minority political parties, to which all the rebellious governors belong to, may or may not fare well.
Meantime, the governors are roaring.
Here’s the list of the 10 Federalist Alliance” governors and party affiliation:
- Francisco Javier García Cabeza de Vaca, Tamaulipas, PAN
- Jaime Rodríguez Calderón, Nuevo León, Independent
- Miguel Riquelme, Coahuila, Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)
- José Rosas Aispuro, Durango, PAN
- Silvano Aureoles, Michoacán, Democratic Revolution Party (PRD)
- José Ignacio Peralta, Colima, PAN
- Enrique Alfaro, Jalisco, MC
- Martín Orozco, Aguascalientes, PAN
- Javier Corral, Chihuahua, PAN
- Diego Sinhué Rodríguez, Guanajuato, PAN.
…Oct. 28, 2020