By KELIN DILLON
As Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) fast approaches the close of the third official year of his term, his inconsistencies and penchant for overtly targeting his opponents have begun to become more clear than ever to the public of Mexico.
López Obrador has used his platform of publicly broadcast press conferences every morning of the week to lambast his opponents, whether they be journalists, environmentalists, human rights organizations, politicians, even working his way up to taking on countries such as Spain and the United States.
In the realm of politics, if you’re not with AMLO, you’re against him; political opponents from parties other than his leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) who speak out against him are deemed corrupt and right-wing, while members of his own party who disagree with his choices are similarly vocally reprimanded.
AMLO’s controversial policy of “hugs, not bullets” when dealing with the country’s widespread violence has resulted in a massive uptick of 74 percent in intentional homicides from the previous administration of Enrique Peña Nieto, and up 132 percent from the administration before that of Felipe Calderón.
While López Obrador and his Morena claimed to want to clean up corruption when the administration began, the only ones who seem to pay are his opponents, as his loyal lackeys are met with pure impunity for their crimes, such as head of the state-owned electricity company the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) Manuel Bartlett and the conveniently omitted assets from his taxes.
“The presidential broom to sweep away the rot is very selective. It arrives when it touches characters who are political opponents, but conveniently never arrives when it comes to officials close to AMLO’s government,” said researcher Marco Fernández.
In fact, AMLO has weakened the budgets and capabilities of institutions meant to fight and prevent corruption within Mexico since the start of his presidency, according to data from Network for Accountability (RRC).
López Obrador has likewise met a lot of criticism for politicizing the use of the country’s Attorney General’s Office (FGR) to go after his perceived opponents at strategic times, such as on midterm election day, while conveniently lessening the charges against or exonerating those who provide evidence against his enemies such as former Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) director Emilio Lozoya.
And one of AMLO’s key campaign promises, to close the wealth gap and reduce Mexico’s poverty level, has gone completely unfulfilled. By eliminating social programs he claimed were “corrupt,” López Obrador has since left the country’s poor population in a worse state than when he assumed office in 2018, with around 3.8 million more people designated as “in poverty” now in 2021.
With half of his term in office left to serve, it remains to be seen if AMLO ever does follow through on any of his initial pacts to the public, or if his oaths will continue to remain arbitrary in his own interest.