Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Photo: preidencia.gob.mx

By THE PULSE NEWS MEXICO STAFF

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), nearly three years into his six-year term, spoke to the nation in a televised address on Thursday, July 1, marking the third anniversary of his 2018 electoral victory.

During the 40-minute address, AMLO showcased what he said were his administration’s most important successes and made predictions for the country’s rapid economic recovery.

Among the highlights of his government, he said, have been the consecutive rises in the amounts of financial remittances sent back to Mexico by family members who have had to flee the country — mostly to the United States — to be able to earn a living wage.

In May, remittances to Mexico increased by almost 31 percent as compared to the same period last year, to total $4.5 billion, according to data from the country’s Central Bank (Banxico).

The president painted a rosy economic future for Mexico, predicting a 6 percent growth rate for 2021.

However, most financial institutions — including the Finance Secretariat and Banxico — have predicted much more modest growth rates.

In both 2019 and 2020, Mexico’s economy contracted, with the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) plummeting by 8.5 percent last year.

In his address, AMLO also credited his government with a positive and “timely” response to the covid-19 pandemic, despite the fact that Mexico has so far registered more than 2.5 million cases of the disease (although unofficial studies put the figure at about three to four times that amount since there is little testing conducted) and more than 233,000 deaths.

Despite a spotty and politically manipulated roll-out of a hodgepodge of both World Health Organization-approved and non-WHO-approved vaccines, AMLO congratulated himself for what he called a “successful” national vaccination program.

Unlike in some countries where patients have died outside of hospitals waiting to be admitted, AMLO said that every covid-infected Mexican has had access to a hospital bed and qualified medical personnel to attend to them.

He also said that the federal health budget has increased by 70 billion pesos over the last 15 months, even though most government hospitals and staff continue to report severe shortages of both medications and personnel.

In terms of crime, AMLO said that the situation is well in hand, despite the fact that femicides and other murders are at an all-time high.

According to government statistics, there were 2,462 victims of homicide and femicide in May, for a daily average of 79.4 murders, the highest figure so far this year.

And while organized crime violence continues to surge, AMLO said that his government will continue to combat the Jalisco, Pacific and Guanajuato cartels not with violent confrontations but “with more humane and effective methods to prevent young people from taking the path of crime.”

AMLO blamed the existence of drug cartels in Mexico on previous administrations, saying that there have been no new organized crime groups formed since he took office.

The president, who can rarely pass up any opportunity to take verbal swipes at his adversaries, also used the address to insult political opponents.

Suggesting that the conservative opposition victors of Mexico’s historic June 6 midterm elections had employed bribes, manipulation and other unscrupulous means to achieve their wins, AMLO said these politicians had used “dirty warfare” to get their posts.

The president said that his administration, while recognizing their electoral victories, will ultimately defeat them with the support of the Mexican people in order to complete his controversial Fourth Transformation gubernatorial reforms.

AMLO closed his address by referring to approval polls of his government, commissioned by the president’s own offices.

 

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