By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Among the myriad of self-ordained unofficial titles that Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has acquired over his so-far two-and-a-half-year-term of office is that of clergy-in-chief.
Indeed, it is not uncommon for the president to transition his daily political bully pulpit into a religious pulpit during his two-hour-long morning press conferences.
And one of his favorite sermons to his flock of devotees is to encourage them to practice “brotherly love.”
While there are certainly segments of his haranguing moral lectures that have been criticized for blatant hypocrisy and outright duplicity, at least in the case of this particular teaching from Reverend AMLO, the president seems to practice what he preaches.
In point of fact, it would appear that AMLO is willing to bend over backwards to shower his siblings with love, or at least the physical manifestation of love in the form of generous cash endowments.
First there was the case of AMLO’s little brother Pío López Obrador, who was shown in two separate video tapes from 2015 receiving massive piles of cash stuffed into manila envelopes from the president’s then-campaign manager, later-head of National Civil Protection, one-time anti-corruptions czar for the government’s public medical agency (yes, that same agency that has left millions of sick Mexicans — including children with cancer — scrambling to obtain medications that the AMLO administration canceled the purchase of) and always-close confidant David León.
In the videos, released by journalist Carlos Loret de Mola in August of 2020 on his internet news show Latinus, León and the younger López Obrador are heard talking about “monthly contributions” of 150,000 pesos each, which would add up to millions of pesos over the year and a half that the two met regularly.
Of course, when the tapes were released, AMLO hemmed and hawed indignantly, accusing Loret de Mola of waging a smear campaign against him and taking the videos out of context (these were “just campaign funds,” he claimed),
Notwithstanding, the president promised that the case would be duly investigated.
For the record, it has been nearly a year since the tapes of Pío were released and formal complaints were filed with the Federal Attorney General’s Office, but AMLO lackey Alejandro Gertz Manero, who heads that office, has managed to bury the case and there has been no serious investigation into the presidential sibling.
But then, other AMLO family members began to be seen as beneficiaries of the president’s opulent largesse of public funds.
Back in December of last year, it was reported that the state-run (and hopelessly bankrupt) Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) oil venture had awarded contracts worth 365 million pesos to Litoral Laboratorios Industriales, a company owned by Felipa Obrador, who just happened to be a first cousin of the president.
After the story made global headlines, Pemex canceled the contracts, or. at least, that is what the public was told.
A few months later, the president’s sister-in-law, Concepcion Falcón Montejo, was linked to an alleged embezzlement for 223 million pesos from the municipality of Macuspana, Tabasco, AMLO’s hometown, in September of 2020.
That situation led to the resignation of a slew of Macuspana elected officials, including the trustee of the Treasury, Falcón Montejo.
No sooner had the president put to rest the Macuspana scandal than it was revealed that another of AMLO’s brothers, José Ramiro López Obrador, had benefited from the government’s rural development bank with a low-interest loan of 1.77 million pesos granted by the National Financial Bank for Agricultural, Rural, Forestry and Fisheries Development.
Then there was the case of another AMLO cousin, Manuela del Carmen Obrador Narváez, who was named by his leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party for reelection as a federal deputy through an indigenous candidacy in Palenque, Chiapas.
The nomination was challenged by a Chiapas teacher, who pointed out that Obrador Narváez did not meet the requirements for the position, including speaking her mother tongue.
Now, the latest example of AMLO’s brotherly love for his relatives has come to light.
This time, the focus of the president’s seemingly endless generosity was yet another brother, Martín Jesús López Obrador (AMLO has a large family to support).
In a video released by Latinus on Thursday, July 8, and dating from 2015, Martín Jesús is seen at his Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, home receiving a stack of bills allegedly worth 150,000 pesos (coincidentally the same amount of his bro Pío) from the same David León as was seen doling out cash to his sibling.
In response to the latest video, AMLO stated that the money in question was — you guessed it — “campaign contributions.”
According to the Latinus, none of that money, which was reportedly delivered on a monthly basis for over a year and a half leading up to the 2015 federal elections, was ever reported to National Electoral Institute (INE) authorities, meaning that it could “qualify as an electoral crime.”
And as proof of Martín Jesús’ irreputable innocence, the president offered up his tried-and-true body of evidence: He flatly denied the allegations.