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If it’s Cinco de Mayo – in the United States, of course – it’s time to break out the tequila and celebrate. In Mexico, however, the date is just a faded memory of the 1862 Battle of Puebla against the French, who got walloped by a Mexican indigenous army – a minor speck in Mexican history.

But let’s not go back that far to wage another Cinco de Mayo war today. Even if there are no foreign armies invading the nation, Mexican liberals and conservatives are pretty much at war with one another today, with some restrictions, of course.

One weapon in the war is name-calling. Ever since Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) began campaigning for his post four years ago, he unleashed a relentless verbal attack on the “neoliberal” presidents who ran the nation from 1982 to 2018, creating an abysmal social and differential divide of classes.

With one difference, the “neoliberals” of today are the conservatives of yesteryear. while the so-called “left wing populism” allegedly carried out by AMLO is really the banner of the old liberals. Confused by this apparent doublespeak? Don’t be.

In Mexico’s current political war, there are definitely two sides: conservatives and liberals. There is really no difference with this war compared to the past wars in the nation’s history, including the 1862-1867 French invasion with comparisons that are indeed abysmal.

First off, today’s Mexico is a democracy in which a majority of “chairos” (as Mexicans who favored AMLO are called by the conservative minority) have control of the country, at least until 2024.

The fury of claims by the liberals that those deputies who dared to vote against the president’s electricity reform bill on Easter Sunday, April 17, are “traitors to the nation” and the conservative attacks against the AMLO administration are to a certain extent worrying. It’d been years since so much hatred – and believe you me, all Mexican politicians have been hated at some time or another – has been spread across the country. It’s sheer psychological venom, but it is also politics as usual.

The point being, the plaintiffs on both sides are just repeating the same old song in a new and more catchy tune.

On the other side of the confrontation is the AMLO administration itself, which, as the old Mexican adage goes about the guy who’s cooking up all things political, “has got the pan by the handle.”

On a daily basis in his morning press conferences, AMLO keeps answering his “adversaries” (as he calls them) and tells them exactly what they do not want to hear: that the Mexican people voted for his “anti-neoliberal” political project and that he is doing nothing more than complying with the people’s mandate.

On the other hand, the conservatives are pointing to what they believe are AMLO’s efforts to bulldoze down the Mexican Constitution and stampede over democracy.

The current war of words has reached a high pitch as the president’s political party, the National Regeneration Movement (Morena), has taken aim at those who oppose its agenda, and the conservatives are seeking refuge in international institutions and media reports.

Meanwhile, there’s no let up by AMLO in promoting his pet projects: the Dos Bocas oil refinery in his home state of Tabasco, the cost of which has nearly doubled since it began construction three years ago; the newly inaugurated Felipe Ángeles International Airport that has received a cold shoulder from most national and international airlines because it is dangerous for landings and takeoffs, far away and hard to find; and, lest we forget, the Tren Maya tourist train in the Yucatan Peninsula, for which he just wrote a presidential decree giving himself permission to continue its construction despite a court order to stop all work on its fifth section immediately because there are no environmental permits allowing it to proceed.

This kind of braggadocio on the part of the administration only adds fuel to the already-piping-hot fire of political hatred.

So the current battle we’re celebrating this Cinco de Mayo has two irreconcilable sides, which are the same old conservatives and the same old liberals of the reform wars (1857-1859), which led the nation straight into bankruptcy, just the way this one is doing today.












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