By KELIN DILLON
On Monday, March 13, Mexican businessman and former president of the Employers’ Confederation of the Mexican Republic (Coparmex) Gustavo de Hoyos Walthe announced his intentions to run as a candidate in the Mexico’s 2024 presidential race – without the support of a political party – on his public social media accounts.
Via a series of videos posted onto his Twitter, De Hoyos addressed the national population and denounced Mexico’s career politicians as having “other more important priorities than you and me,” going on to say that “Mexicans are fed up with politicians. Six-year term after six-year term have shown us that they are incompetent.”
“What would happen if one of us rose up to take over the reins of this country?” continued De Hoyos in his video message. “Someone who feels the same as us. I worry about my family, my job and my country. I have the same blood as you.”
The Baja California-based businessman went on to announce a number of his campaign promises, including expanded quality of health and education services nationwide – whether publicly or privately financed – and the elimination of “the wall” between the United States and Mexico,” including collaborating with Mexico’s northern neighbor on eradicating organized crime within the country.
The aspiring presidential candidate also revealed his intentions to end impunity and implement more intense punishments, such as the death penalty and immediate extraditions, for persons who commit violent crimes in Mexico, directly addressing the sky-high violence rate in Mexico that’s only grown under the current administration of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO).
However, its De Hoyos’ stance on punishing criminals that’s drawn the most controversy of any of his proposals, claiming that Mexico should use the same state-sanctioned violence against rapists and perpetrators of violence as “used in El Salvador to put an end to Las Maras,” an approach that has been critiqued as full of human rights violations by the Human Rights Watch.
“It is time to put an end to femicides, rapists and violent couples,” De Hoyos remarked during his video announcements. “May our daughters, our wives and our mothers walk calmly and live without fear.”
“I don’t live on politics. And just like in my business and my private life, I like to be clear and direct. I’m ready and I’m in. I want to lead that effort,” continued De Hoyos.
De Hoyos’ resume, while far from that of a career politician, speaks for itself. The businessman holds a law degree from the Autonomous University of Baja California, a business administration degree from CETYS-Universidad and a master’s degree in corporate and international law. He currently serves as general director of multiregional Mexican law firm De Hoyos y Avilés (DHA).
The DHA general director has likewise served on the board of directors of some of Mexico’s most prominent federal organizations, including the Institute of the National Housing Fund for Workers (Infonavit), National Exterior Commerce Bank (Bancomext), National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT), the Institute of the National Fund for the Consumption of Workers (INFONACOT) and the National College of Technical Professional Education (Conalep).
As part of the Consultative Council of Mexicans against Corruption and Impunity, Executive Commission of the Business Coordinating Council (CCE) and the Advisory Council for International Negotiations, De Hoyos became an instrumental figure in the negotiations of the anticorruption provisions of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
Likewise, De Hoyos is well-known for holding the position of president of Coparmex, Mexico’s voluntary employers’ union, from 2018 to 2022, for his local work promoting the educational, economic and community development of Mexicali across the past few decades.
“Could it be possible that for the first time, a citizen candidate, without a party and without the traditional atavisms of politics, can attract the attention of the Mexican electorate and give a new swing to the political pendulum?” posited Mexican journalist Salvador Garcia Soto in his Wednesday, March 15 opinion column in daily Mexican newspaper El Universal.
While the ultimate outcome of De Hoyos’ political ambitions remains to be determined, the former Coparmex president’s announcement of his nonpartisan presidential candidacy certainly sets the stage for an intriguing electoral battle come 2024.