Remaking Mexico in Cuba’s Image
By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
After more than three and a half years of the same old spiel (“neoliberals are to blame for everything that’s wrong with the country,” “the conservative press are all unscrupulous liars,” and that most absurd claim of all, “my government is not corrupt”), it seems that Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) is finally beginning to lose the attention of his herd of mindless audience followers, so to jazz up his daily press monologues, he has been adding backup bands to his morning repertoires.
On Wednesday, July 20, he played a recording of his fellow Tabascan “paisano” Chico Che singing “Uy, que Miedo” (“Oh, How Scary”), in a sarcastic response to the U.S. and Canadian consultation challenges to his energy policies, which, in blatant violation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), favors Mexico’s state-owned (and highly inefficient, as well as environmental unsound) Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) and Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) over clean power sources.
And on Tuesday, July 26, he upped the ante even further by bringing in Cuban Nueva Trova singer Amaury Pérez live to “celebrate” the 69th anniversary of the dictatorship of Cuba.
“As we all know, there is a brotherly relationship between the Cuban people and the Mexican people and Amaury, like other Cuban Nueva Trova singer-songwriters, are our friends,” López Obrador said of his star attraction of the day, who performed in front of a life-size portrait of yet another Cuban, poet José Martí. (Apparently, if AMLO considers someone to be his friend, all of Mexico is expected to do so as well, but as Elvis Presley put it in “Hound Dog,” Amaury Pérez and Cuba “ain’t no friend of mine,” and I think I’m not alone on that one.)
Ironically, Pérez’s performance came just three days after the first 54 members of López Obrador’s brigade of Cuban physicians took up their posts in the western Mexican state of Nayarit (without having the necessary Mexican medical accreditations needed by any foreign doctor to work here).
AMLO’s love of all things Cuban has been evidenced in past mañaneras when he has played recordings of other Nueva Trova singers Silvio Rodríguez and Pablo Milanés, but this was the first time that he offered a live performance of a Cuban propaganda singer. (One has to wonder if the cost of flying in Peréz and providing for his hotel and expenses while he was here are included in that illusive list of government expenditures that have “conveniently” disappeared with the “temporary suspension” of CompraNet, the website that is supposed to disclose all federal spending — about 3 million pesos a minute — that has been out of commission since Friday, July 15.
But forget about such trivial matters as transparency of government expenditures and the right of the Mexican people to know how their tax money is spent.
The real issue here is that López Obrador is making it more and more apparent that his end goal is to transform a still-albeit-barely-democratic Mexico into a communist dictatorship, modeled after Cuba, which Amnesty International has dubbed one of the world’s worst violators of human rights.
Sadly, Mexico’s political opposition coalition is currently a shambles of snarled ataxia, which means that it is very unlikely to be able come up with a united front or viable candidate against AMLO’s leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party in 2024 (that is, if he really does agree to step down when his six-year term ends, instead of claiming that he has to stay on because “the people of Mexico need him”).
Consequently, the odds are that by the time we get around to the next presidential elections (again, if there are any), Mexicans will be hailing in the chief not with the “Himno Nacional Mexicano,” but with “La Bayamesa.”