Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Photo: Google


Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) dismissed the massive public protest that took place on Sunday, Feb. 26 — where thousands of Mexican citizens turned out in droves and gathered in downtown Mexico City’s main square Zócalo to condemn this electoral law against the National Electoral Institute (INE) — and labeled those who joined the demonstration as “pure electoral racoons” who were following the orders of “white collar criminals.”

During his press conference on the morning of Monday, Feb. 27, at the National Palace in Mexico City — a mere meters away from the Zócalo, where more than 100,000 protesters clad in pink demanded that Mexico’s Supreme Court (SCJN) reverse the Plan B electoral law — López Obrador accused the organizers and leaders of the demonstration as being “defenders of electoral fraud” and “’belonging to the narco states that existed during the six-year terms of (former Mexican presidents) Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderón.”

“The majority of the leaders (of the protest march) are pure electoral raccoons. Just by seeing them, people already know what the protest was about. Most of them have participated in previous governments, they have been, as I said, defenders of electoral fraud,” AMLO said. “They have been part of the corruption in Mexico. They have belonged to the narco state that (recently convicted former Security Secretary Genaro) García Luna served, which prevailed for two six-year terms, that of Vicente Fox and that of Felipe Calderón.”

According to López Obrador, what the protesters — who brandished signs saying “don’t touch my vote” — did not want to be touched was corruption.

“Corruption should not be touched according to them,” AMLO said. “Privileges should not be touched, and the narco state should not be touched.”

López Obrador has always held a grudge against the INE, over presidential elections he lost in 2006 and 2012 — elections which Calderón and AMLO’s predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto, won.

In 2006 AMLO lost to Calderón — who ran under the banner of the conservative National Action Party (PAN) — by less than 1 percentage point, and for many months thereafter López Obrador refused to recognize the election result, which he denounced as fraudulent.

AMLO likewise challenged the result of the 2012 election, when he lost to Peña Nieto of the centralist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

AMLO finally won the presidency in 2018, on his third try, but has always painted the INE as partisan. In fact, the electoral body — and even its head, Lorenzo Córdova — has frequently been on the receiving end of López Obrador’s tirades and verbal attacks.

Most recently, in January, AMLO verbally attacked Córdova, calling him “phony” and “unprincipled.”

“He is a public servant, from my point of view, without principle, without ideals, a fake,” said AMLO of the INE head. “He is not, by the way, the worse of them. There are other worse ones.”

López Obrador then accused the INE of having “long been taken over by conservatives,” and that they are giving bad advice to Córdova.

“The INE has been taken over by the conservatives for a long time, by the conservative bloc, but we won despite them. That’s why when they criticize Plan B, if the court, which is even possible, rejects the electoral law, the truth is nothing would happen. It would be a mere speck on a tiger,” AMLO said.

López Obrador likewise verbally attacked two of the main organizers of Sunday’s rally, Retired SCJN Justice José Ramón Cossío and journalist Beatriz Pagés.

“José Ramón Cossío is a fraud, a lawyer and justice of the Supreme Court of a full narco state supported by Calderón,” López Obrador said. “And as for Beatriz Pagés, well, she is the daughter of José Pagés Llergo del Siempre (journalist and founder of the weekly Mexican magazine Siempre!), but very PRI, very conservative.”

On Monday, opposition leaders said that López Obrador’s downplaying of Sunday’s rally “shows his authoritarianism” and that “he is out of his mind” because “he cannot understand that thousands of Mexicans will peacefully take to the Zócalo in defense of the INE.”

“López Obrador is out of his mind. This is a government that is politically persecutory, it is delirious and full of megalomania and narcissism,” said Jesús Zambrano, national leader of the left-leaning Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). “He cannot understand that all of us who filled and peacefully took over the Zócalo in Mexico City did so to defend the country’s most important electoral body, the INE.”

For his part, the national president of the PAN, Marko Cortés, warned that AMLO’s verbal attack against the thousands who participated in Sunday’s mobilization reveals López Obrador’s authoritarianism and “his intention to impose his vision as a single truth.”

“Enough of the divisions! The systematic attack by @lopezobrador_ against millions of people who defend democracy, freedoms and the INE reveals his authoritarianism, his intention to impose his vision as the only truth and his contempt for human rights,” Cortés wrote in his official Twitter account.

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