Former Mexican Public Education Secretary Delfina Gómez Álvarez. Photo: Google


The nomination of Secretary of Public Education (SEP) Delfina Gómez Álvarez as the leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party’s candidate for the governorship of the State of Mexico (EdoMéx) says a lot about the current state of politics in Mexico.

The economic importance and electoral weight of the State of Mexico, just outside Mexico City, cannot be overestimated, and the election of its new governor in 2023 will undoubtedly serve as a prelude of what will come in the all-important 2024 presidential election.

Gómez Álvarez’s candidacy should lead everyone to a more important question than the result of that election itself: What is happening in a country where the ruling party dares to nominate the darkest of characters — electorally and legally speaking, the most discredited, of all those who share the national political scene today?

The State of Mexico is the crown jewel of the country. Its governorship weighs more than that of Mexico City because it has more population, more money, more jobs, a greater generation of GDP, more taxes to be collected and more public budget to exercise, than any other state. Moreover, EdoMéx is the true heart of national economic activity, in practically every sense.

Why then, if it is so important, does Morena, led by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), act as if it were just another local election, taking risks for the party itself and acting as if EdoMéx voters do not deserve any respect? Why have Morena and López Obrador decided to hand over the second-most-important candidacy of the six-year term to a person who was legally found guilty of — not only responsible for — committing a crime as serious, and as shocking, as the retention and the embezzlement of 10 percent of the wages of the workers of the municipality of Texcoco, when she was mayor?

Why nominate the very same person who eliminated (obviously, with the blessings of the president) Mexico’s Full-Time School program, when it was one of the main pillars of social and educational policies? This decision not only affected children and adolescents who still do not vote, but also broke the family and work logistics of mothers and fathers who were forced to take care of their children during working hours.

Why is there no fear in the current government and in its party that EdoMéx voters will retaliate against that decision when they go to the polls in 2023?

The possible answers to these questions are chilling, since Morena obviously expects to win the EdoMéx governorship.

If Morena, and López Obrador as its top leader, have decided that the best card to play in the State of Mexico — the most important election before the 2024 presidential elections — is a person who has been soiled by having been found guilty of embezzlement of public resources and of robbery because she illegally deprived the workers of the municipality of Texcoco of part of their salaries, and who was also found guilty of illegally financing electoral processes to alter polling results, it means that Mexico is on the brink of a political and moral crisis.

The current government has lost any semblance of shame and respect for its constituency, as well as the law of the land.

Gómez Álvarez is publicly supported by López Obrador. It is he who decided that, with all her history of illegalities in tow, she would be the winning ticket for the State of Mexico governorship. And what that decision entails is simply terrifying. Simply put, for AMLO and his party, ethics and respectability have gone out the window.

In theory, the struggle for power in a democratic society is governed by rules that set limits and serve to support and protect the values ​​around which a national project is built. Thus, the parties nominate, in theory, their best candidates to make the political project a reality that, also in theory, they offer up to the voters during the corresponding elections. And in theory, the constituents vote for the best people, the most capable, the most honest, the most credible, the most reliable to govern and make decisions in the administration of public affairs, always with the ultimate goal of improving the lives of all citizens.

But when a party nominates a criminal — and Gómez Álvarez is a convicted criminal, that is not in dispute — the rule of political ethics is imperiled. When the party in power, on the instructions of the president, makes such a nomination, the rule pf common good has been broken and the question of ethics have disappeared from the equation. Morena has demonstrated to all that is has no qualms promoting tried and convicted criminals to occupy elected positions, even in the case of the EdoMéx governorship.

And that’s not even the worst of it. If López Obrador dared to nominate Gómez Álvarez, it was because he is convinced that, regardless of her criminal record, the people of EdoMéx will elect her to the post. And if that is the case, the voters too will be complicit in the election of this criminal.

Yes, it was the government that allowed her to escape prison time for her crimes and that has shielded her from further prosecution. But if the voters in the State of Mexico elect her, they too will bear the blame for the consequences for Mexican democracy.

If she wins, then the elementary rule of political ethics is nullified, not only for the country’s political elite, but for the average Mexican as well.

Mexico’s moral political high ground will have been lost.


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