By MARK LORENZANA
Senator Beatriz Paredes of the centralist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) expressed her interest in seeking the presidency of Mexico in 2024 with the Va por México coalition — an electoral alliance composed of the PRI, the conservative National Action Party (PAN) and the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) — to challenge the ruling party of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the National Regeneration Movement (Morena).
Paredes announced her decision in an interview with journalist Azucena Uresti on Friday, Aug. 5, for Grupo Formula. Paredes — the former governor of the east-central Mexican state of Tlaxcala — said that now it is time for Mexico to have a female president, and added that “what matters is putting together a team that can govern well.”
In a more recent interview with journalist Gullermo Ortega for El Financiero/Bloomberg on Monday, Aug. 8, Paredes talked more about her concrete plans for the presidency, the problems that the PRI has faced with its leadership, and also criticized what she described as “an attack on democratic institutions” under the administration of López Obrador.
“Within our own party, there is a complex situation, especially with the leadership,” Paredes said, when asked by Ortega about current PRI President Alejandro “Alito” Moreno, who has been embroiled in various controversies, the most recent among them an investigation by Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (FGR) for the alleged crimes of Illicit enrichment, tax fraud and money laundering. “There is a clear statement from the former presidents of the party, of which I am a part, to ask the current president to do an internal reflection, an assessment of whether he could still stay on as the leader of the PRI considering the circumstances.”
Paredes, however, said that the more pressing problem is that political parties in Mexico — as a whole, not just the PRI — have become distant from their constituents, and that this should be addressed.
“Ordinary Mexican citizens nowadays do not feel that the political parties represent them,” Paredes said. “That is why in my own decision to run for presidency, I’m hoping to go beyond the political parties, beyond the alliances, that others can join and can have their voices heard. We need to recognize the needs of civil society on its various fronts, and its various characteristics, and have a broad proposal.”
The PRI senator also said that she believes in the importance of putting together a solid opposition, and this involves working more closely with the other political parties in the Va por México coalition — regardless of the parties’ differences. “Some people wonder how it is that the PAN, the PRI and the PRD have been historical adversaries, antagonists, but now we are working together. Precisely because a concern for democracy brings us together,” Paredes said.
Regarding democracy, Paredes said that there is currently an attack on democratic institutions, especially in light of the proposed presidential decree of López Obrador that would essentially transfer the security functions of the Mexican National Guard (GN) to the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena), a move that experts and analysts deem as unconstitutional.
“The decisions of the head of the executive should adhere to the law,” Paredes said. “The president swore to comply with the constitution, enforce it and follow the law. Well, what we are seeing is that this oath that he made has been lost in oblivion.”
Paredes also voiced out her concern about the Tren Maya, one of AMLO’s pet megaprojects.
“The Tren Maya worries me enormously. The ecosystem of the peninsula has been there for ages,” Paredes said. “It’s taken thousands of years for that ecosystem to develop: the soil there, the subterranean caverns and the underwater rivers. Nature took a long time to produce this ecosystem in the Yucatan that forms an important part of the equilibrium of the region. There might have been good intentions for the Tren Maya, but it was not planned out well. The government kept on moving forward with the construction, without thinking about the ecological impacts, especially in the case of the Section 5 of the Tren Maya.”
To conclude the interview with Ortega, Paredes reiterated the importance of democracy in the country.
“We must defend the democratic institutions, and advance one step forward,” Paredes said. “I am a person who puts a lot of importance in the power of the legislative branch. We must make sure that the legislative fulfills its true obligation of monitoring, checking and balancing the work of the executive.”