By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
After arriving hours earlier in New York City to a mixed crowd of avid supporters and equally-avid opponents, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) on Tuesday, Nov. 10, made a beeline straight to the UN Headquarters at United Nations Plaza to lecture the General Assembly on the evils of corruption, which he has repeatedly called “the worst evil on Earth.”
López Obrador’s 15-minute speech, which was programmed to coincide with the start of Mexico’s one-month stint as the head of the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council, came off more like a sermon than a discussion as he outlined his eight-point “World Plan for Global Fraternity and Social Welfare.”
“Never in the history of this organization has anything really substantial been done to benefit the poor,” he told the ambassadors representing the council’s 15 permanent and nonpermanent members.
“But it is never too late for justice. Now is the time to act against marginalization, addressing the causes and not only the consequences.”
AMLO said that the objective of his plan, which he urged the Security Council to adapt as its social compass, is to guarantee the right to a decent standard of living for the world’s 750 million people surviving on less than $2 a day.
He said that the plan could be financed through an annual “voluntary contribution” of 4 percent of the fortunes of the planet’s richest persons and corporations, along with a mandatory 0.2 percent of the GDP of each of the G-20 member countries, which he said would amount to about $1 trillion annually.
Offering his own administration’s heavily flawed social justice program as a role model, AMLO recommended that recipients of the Global Fraternity and Social Welfare program could be given money through personalized card or electronic wallet, “without the need for intermediaries” to supervise the fund’s administration.
AMLO assured his audience that if the Security Council were to adapt his plan, its members would “be more at ease with their conscience and could live with greater moral conviction.”
What AMLO’s pie-in-the-sky plan to eradicate global poverty failed to acknowledge, however, is the fact that the United Nations does not have the power to tax its members and its main purpose is to ensure global peace and resolve political conflicts between nations.
AMLO — whose administration has been marred by blatant videos of his brothers receiving thick envelops of cash during his electoral campaign and a slew of other unprosecuted corruption scandals, and whose own anti-money laundering czar was forced to resign the day before López Obrador spoke to the Security Council due to alleged acts of payola during his wedding in Guatemala last week — concluded his speech by thanking his audience and imploring them to fight corruption and to be the “nobel benefactors” of the world’s poorest and most-marginalized inhabitants.
While in New York, the Mexican head of state also met briefly with UN Secretary General António Guterres.
During his presidency, López Obrador has focused little on international relations, preferring to concentrate on national policies rather than global issues.
The one-day New York visit constituted his second-only international trip since he took office nearly three years ago.
In July 2020, AMLO flew to Washington to meet with then-U.S. President Donald Trump.
AMLO famously did not attend the G-20 summit in Rome in late October and the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow earlier this month.