By MARK LORENZANA
Raúl Paz Alonzo, a senator from the Mexican state of Yucatán and member of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), has defected to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena).
On Tuesday, Sept. 20, Paz Alonzo was received with fanfare by his new Morena colleagues in the Mexican Senate, after accepting a position in the upper house as National Liaison Commissioner with the Business Sector under his new party.
According to a column by political commentator F. Bartolome for Mexican daily newspaper Reforma, Paz Alonzo was likewise offered the mayorship of the Yucatán capital city of Mérida in the upcoming 2024 Mexican general election under Morena’s banner, and by accepting, the senator “swallowed his principles, his political loyalty and his track record in the PAN.”
“Only a few days ago, Paz Alonzo was against militarization,” Bartolome wrote. “Since he will now have to support the militarization of the country, the Yucatecan has had a lot of work to do deleting the tweets and videos he posted in which he originally opposed it.”
As recently as Saturday, Sept. 17, Paz Alonzo had given authorization for his name to be included in a bulletin in which PAN senators pledged their attendance and their vote against the militarization of the Mexican National Guard (GN).
Ricardo Monreal, upper-house leader of Morena, welcomed Paz Alonzo’s defection from the PAN to their party, and asked critics not to demonize the decision, which he described was done “conscientiously and freely.”
“It is common in the Mexican Senate for some senators to decide to join other parliamentary groups, a decision that is made conscientiously and freely,” Monreal said. “We are very clear about what we want: a better country, a profound transformation of public life, a regime change. And all those who want that are welcome. That is why Raúl Paz is welcome.”
The PAN caucus in the Senate expressed dismay at the defection, and described Paz Alonzo’s decision as “joining those who promote the destruction of Mexico.”
Likewise, leaders of the Yucatán chapter of the PAN have announced that with the defection, they have already started the process of expelling Paz Alonzo from their party.
Paz Alonzo, in a video that he posted on his Twitter account, announced that he made “the most difficult decision” of his working and political life by joining Morena.
“I am a faithful believer that for Mexico to advance, we need to reduce the gap in inequality that is so large,” Paz Alonzo said. “I am very aware that the only government and president who has turned to see how the south of the country is doing, including the Yucatán, is President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his government of the Fourth Transformation.”