By THE PULSE NEWS MEXICO STAFF
In what constituted his first trimestral State of the Nation Address on the night of Tuesday, March 30, Mexican President Andrés Manuel (AMLO) painted a rosy economic and social portrait of the country, promising a “new utopia” despite an 8.5 percent economic contraction in 2020 and more than 300,000 deaths so far from covid-19.
Speaking from the National Palace, the president offered a 38-minute speech lauding both himself and his administration for controlling inflation, maintaining a steady peso-dollar parity and avoiding tax increases.
As he now embarks on his third year of a six-year term, AMLO said that his government will respect existing oil contracts with international companies, but will not renew or sign new carbon energy concessions.
He carefully avoided making any direct reference to his controversial electricity reform initiative, which has been repeatedly shot down by federal courts and queried by international trade groups.
AMLO also lauded Mexico’s military forces, which he has increased in size more than fourfold since taking office and which have, of late, been involved in several controversial attacks on civilians.
He adamantly discounted allegations that his government is “militarizing the country,” calling the idea illogical.
“The now-extinct Federal Police were rotten to the core,” AMLO claimed, pointing to the fact that the former head of police, Genaro García Luna, is now in prison in the United States, facing charges of criminal association and money laundering.
“I have not ordered the armed forces to wage war on anyone,” AMLO said.
Still, the president has awarded the military with important new powers and responsibilities, including some juicy awards like control of international customs and the much-debated Tren Maya tourist train.
Speaking extensively about the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, AMLO said that the incidence of the disease is now on “a downward trend” and reiterated his promise to have all Mexicans age 60 and above vaccinated with at least one dose against the virus by the end of April.
AMLO said that with all elderly Mexicans inoculated against covid-19, the mortality rate from the disease will drop by 80 percent.
“We are coming out of the (covid-19) crisis,” he said.
Notwithstanding, on Sunday, March 28, the government acknowledged that the real death toll from the disease is almost 60 percent higher than the official figures the administration had been stating.
With the growing scandal of the death over the weekend of a Salvadorian migrant at the hands of Mexican police in the Yucatan state of Quintana Roo shining an ever-more-glaring light on the issue of gender-based violence, AMLO did admit in his address that the incidence of femicide has increased by 8.5 percent since he took office.
On the up side, he said, fuel theft is down 95 percent, murder rates are down 1.6 percent and car thefts are down 38 percent since 2018.
López Obrador also said that Mexico is working to become self-sufficient in energy production and would continue to strengthen its two major state-run energy companies, Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) and the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).
“We are still working to reach our central goal of living in a better society with more brotherhood and greater equality, social justice, democracy and freedoms, devoid of social classes, discrimination and racism,” AMLO said.
“But we are on the path to building that marvelous utopia.”
…March 31, 2021