Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Photo:


In a scathing review of the Mexican president’s first two years in office, the highly acclaimed El Universal daily newspaper this weekend offered a point-by-point breakdown of some of Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) most prominent failures, on the eve of his second State of the Nation Address, slated for Tuesday, Dec. 1.

AMLO, who came to office on Dec. 1, 2018, with a promise to “transform” Mexican society and politics through a so-called Fourth Transformation (4T), has indeed, in the last 24 months, changed the nation, the El Universal article says, but not always for the better.

The article then proceeds to enumerate some of the president’s most controversial and disasterous actions since taking office.

Heading up the list of AMLO’s failures, El Universal points to his October 2019 decision to release Ovidio Guzmán, the son and assumed heir apparent of the notorious drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, after he had been detained by Mexican authorities in Culiacán, Sinaloa,

Originally, AMLO’s head of security, Alfonso Durazo Montaño, took the blame for the fumbled catch-and-release operative, but, eventually (eight months later), the president admitted that he was the one who ordered Durazo to set Oviedo free, allegedly to “avoid endangering the local population.”

Second on the list is López Obrador’s cataclysmic mismangement of the covid-19 pandemic, which has already led to the death of more than 110,000 Mexicans.

Despite the fact that AMLO has repeatedly stated that the pandemic is well in hand, El Universal points out the coronavirus is now spreading at an unprecedented rate and that the president continues to refuse to wear a mask or to follow the advise of his own medical experts.

He also raised eyebrows around the world when, in March of the year, he claimed that being honest and avoiding corruption were “the best defenses” against covid-19.

But perhaps the most controversial statement that AMLO made regarding the pandemic was on April 2, when, as El Universal points out, he equated the virus to “a ring to adorn the finger,” a phrase that translates roughly to “the best thing that could happen.”

El Universal also points to the numerous times that AMLO has blatantly disregarded social distancing practices, even going so far as to kiss a toddler during a March trip to Ometepec, Guerrero.

The article likewise blasts López Obrador for his double-standard in terms of how he treats alleged cases of corruption, carelessly tossing out scandalous accusations of graft against his adversaries without any tangible evidence, but steadfastly defending his brother, Pio López Obrador, who was filmed red-handed receiving bags of cash from another AMLO crony.

El Universal also lambasts AMLO for his elimination of 109 public trust funds (fideicomisos) that had sponsored science, culture, sports and support for victims of crimes, supposedly because they were riddled with corruption.

Also on the El Universal list is the tragic explosion of a Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) in Tlahuelilpan, Hidalgo, in January 2019, which left 137 people dead and many more scarred for life.

López Obrador famously said that he did not fly to the scene of the accident because he would only use an airplane for “emergencies,” so instead he took a leasurely drive to the site, stopping to check gasoline prices at stations along the way.

A year later, AMLO looked back on the accident, calling it unfortunate, but also stating that it was a “tragic lesson” for the Mexican people to not engage in fuel theft or other forms of corruption.

The list includes mentions of opposition movements against the president such as the National Front to Stop AMLO (Frena), which he said has a right to congregate, but which he has accused of being composed of pickpockets and thieves, again with no basis.

Frena President Gilberto Lozano has claimed that the AMLO administration is spying on the group and threatening its members with bodily harm, but López Obrador has flatly denied these allegations, even though El Universal presented solid evidence to confirm them.

Another of AMLO’s great failures in his first two years in office is, El Universal notes, his decision to cancel the purchase of direly needed oncological medications for Mexicna children with cancer.

In May of last year, AMLO admitted to producing a shortage of these medications, but said that he had cancelled their import because of “corruption” and then threw off another unfounded claim that previous administrations “did worse.”

He also blamed the pharmaceutical companies for “sabotaging” his administration by withholding the (unpaid for) medications.

Then, of course, El Universal continues, there was the recent flooding in Tabasco.

More than 180,000 rural and mostly poor indigenous people were left homeless because AMLO ordered a dam to be open on their low-lying lands so as to protect a metropolis of 135,000 people.

After the tragedy, AMLO visited the region but refused to go to the worst affected areas because, he said, he might dirty his boots, and “who was going to pay to replace them?”

AMLO did promise to drain the riverbeds in order to avoid future floods, but his government’s 2021 budget for such projects has been slashed to the bare bones under his Republican Austerity program.

By the same token, El Universal ridicules AMLO for his pompous demands that Spain and the Pope offer formal apologies for the conquest of Mexico 500 years ago, again focusing on the past rather than the pressing current problems the country faces.

Another topic that the El Universal article touches on is the mysterious deaths of Puebla Governor Martha Érika Alonso and her husband Rafael Moreno Valle (both AMLO adversaries), whose helicopter crashed inexplicably on Dec. 24, 2018, shortly after she took office.

After months of “investigations,” AMLO’s administration declared the “accident” the result of a mechanical error, but Alonso’s conservative National Action Party (PAN) called the investigation a joke.

And adding insult to injury, AMLO’s National Regeneration Movement (Morena) buddy Miguel Barbosa, who was elected to replace Alonso, later said that her death and that of her husband was “punishment from God” for having “robbed” him of the election in the first place.

El Universal also brings the president to task for his arbitrary (and extremely costly) cancellation of the half-completed New International Airport of Mexico (NAIM) and the construction of a controversial Tren Maya tourist train that environmentalists warn will destroy over half the natural fauna in the Yucatan, as well as for his ill-planned railroad through Oaxaca’s Istmo de Tehuantepec.

“President Andrés Manuel López Obrador created conflict when he said he would present a proposal to hold a public referendum over whether to bring to trial former Mexican Presidents Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Ernesto Zedillo, Vicente Fox, Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto,” the article says, adding that he later went on to point out the error of Mexico’s Supreme Court when it reworded his proposal because, as it stood, the judges considered it to be unconstitutional.

El Universal also criticizes AMLO for his unilateral declaration to end neoliberalism in Mexico and for the ongoing strife within the Morena party.

The article concludes by mocking López Obrador’s new 20-point “Ethical Guide for the Transformation of Mexico,” a 30-page handbook launched on Thursday, Nov. 26, that is intended to rid the country of crime and corruption through moral guidance, and his initiative to remove political and legal immunity from sitting presidents (which passed Congress on Friday, Nov. 27), while at the same time conducting a brutal political witch hunt of former (opposition) government officials (despite repeatedly claiming that he is adamantly opposed to such persecutions).

AMLO is expected to deliver his second State of the Nation Address at the National Palace on Tuesday, Dec. 1.

…Nov. 30, 2020



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