By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) must be having a hissy fit.
Already furious that his absurd electricity reform bill (which would have rewritten the Mexican Constitution to prioritize the use of energy generated by state-owned, carbon-based providers over clean, private-sector alternatives) got dashed by a united opposition in the Chamber of Deputies on Sunday, April 17, he has been lashing out right and left against anything anti-AMLO that moves.
On Wednesday, April 29, he threatened to imprison the heads of private energy companies that dare to use their existing concessions to produce their own electricity, reinterpreting a questionable (non-majority) ruling by the Supreme Court that stated that having a state monopoly in energy is not unconstitutional) to adapt to his own interpretation that the contracts are now illegal.
And on Thursday, April 21, he went so far as to suggest that the opposition parliamentarians who voted against his bill should be imprisoned for treason. (It seems that disagreeing with the president is paramount to an act of sedition.)
As for the federal court injunction issued last week to immediately halt all work on the fifth section of his environment-destroying Tren Maya tourist train, AMLO simply ignored it, ordering the construction project to continue full-steam ahead anyway, since, it seems, no one in Mexico is above the law, except, of course, the president.
Members of his leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party have tried to appease his seething anger by suggesting that the government entity that will oversee his new lithium bill (a meaningless add-on to the already-existent Mining Law passed by Congress in a fast-track vote Tuesday, April 19, as a political consolation prize after the defeat of his electricity bill) be called — wait for it — Amlitio, knowing how much he craves being adorned and immortalized.
But hell hath no fury like a wannabe dictator who doesn’t always get his way, and the president was not assuaged.
AMLO is still on the warpath, and woe be unto those who dare to court his wrath.
So it only seemed fitting that just as López Obrador is feeling the lances of resistance to his authoritarian power besieging him on all sides, one of his favorite victims of insults and unfounded allegations of corruption, the internationally acclaimed Mexican historian Enrique Krauze, enjoyed a small (but definitely annoying for AMLO) vindication this week.
Why AMLO hates Krauze is anybody’s guess (the president’s extensive list of political foes seems to grow daily), but one possible explanation might be that the historian is far better educated and more articulate than López Obrador. He has also committed the unforgivable sin of having criticized the president.
But whatever the reason for having incurred López Obrador’s acrimony, Krauze is clearly in the president’s verbal crosshairs.
One of AMLO’s main objectives is to indoctrinate the Mexican people from the cradle forward with his antiquated, leftist ideas, and as part of that strategy, back in April of last year, he ordered a group of non-teachers to “review” and rewrite the nation’s schools’ elementary and secondary history texts, to present a more anti-capitalist, anti-neoliberal, pro-socialist perspective.
But much to López Obrador’s chagrin, Mexico’s Secretary of Public Education (SEP) just authorized one of Krauze’s books for use in secondary schools during the 2022-2023 academic cycle.
The book, a historical account of the nation’s history, was written by Krauze in collaboration with historians Andrea Martínez Baracs and Javier Lara Bayón, and is a solid and unbiased work.
On Tuesday, the SEP passed the name of the text, along with a list of other “acceptable” course books, on to the National Commission for Regulatory Improvement (CNMR) for approval.
Now that AMLO is aware of the SEP’s indiscretion, he will no doubt put an end to it by having the CNMR “disapprove” its distribution in public classrooms.
But in the meantime, Krauze can enjoy the sweet taste of revenge, knowing that it will be short-lived.
And AMLO will feel the pinch of yet one more dagger in the aegis of his despotic power.