AMLO’s Twisted Definition of Democracy


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It was exactly a month ago, on Nov. 15, when Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) announced that he would pivot to a Plan B to pass his contentious electoral initiative, by any means necessary.

But the most alarming part? He was twisting the meaning of democracy to force down the throats of Mexican citizens a mostly undemocratic move.

“Since once and for all the constitutional reform is resolved, and since it is so important that there be democracy, it is probable that I will send a legal reform that does not require votes from two-thirds of Congress to pass, a Plan B,” said López Obrador at the time.

Talk about irony.

We all know that democracy is a government of the people, especially the rule of the majority. For AMLO, though, it seems that democracy is whatever he decides to do — by hook or by crook — regardless of the opinion of the majority of his countrymen.

If AMLO really did care about the Mexican people’s voices and what they want, he would have seen the writing on the wall during the National Electoral Institute (INE) March for Democracy on Nov. 13, when hundreds of thousands of people turned out on the streets of Mexico City and around the country in protest.

López Obrador saw the writing on the wall, alright. But he decided to take a rag, dip it into gasoline and wipe away the writing from the wall by saying that, although the estimated turnout for the march was 500,000 people in Mexico City alone, only 60,000 protesters showed up. Mexico City Secretary of Government Martí Batres piled on, saying that a mere 10,000 people attended. Mexico City Governor Claudia Sheinbaum even joined in on the action, declaring a supposed environmental emergency to keep vehicles off the streets of the capital. It didn’t work, though, based on the turnout of people on that day wanting to make their voices heard.

Still speaking of democracy, what did López Obrador do, to counter that massive INE March? Call for his own march, in which — according to reports from Tepito merchants — people were forced to participate, or else. Another tenet of democracy is free will. What does it say when the president forces people to join his own march, which by the way, had a less-than-spectacular turnout — to put it mildly — when compared to the totally voluntary March for Democracy for the INE?

If López Obrador really cared about democracy, he would realize, as Mexican political commentator F. Bartolome astutely put it, that he, through his so-called Plan B, “will go down in history as the one who carried out the coup that dismantled the democratic apparatus (the INE) that brought him to power.” Indeed, if López Obrador really cared about democracy, he would have at least recognized that even Ricardo Monreal, the Senate coordinator of AMLO’s leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena), voted against Plan B, considering it unconstitutional.

As it stands right now, though, AMLO is poised to get what he wants — again, by hook or by crook — as his contentious electoral reform on Wednesday, Dec. 14, passed through the Mexican Senate, and will now return to the Chamber of Deputies to be ratified into law.

Deep down, López Obrador knows the true meaning of democracy. It’s just not beyond him to twist its meaning to suit his own ends, this time in the form of the contentious — and unconstitutional — Plan B electoral reform that he just rammed down the throats of the Mexican people, ironically, in the name of “democracy.”

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