The President as Thug
By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
On March 3, I wrote a column in Pulse News Mexico warning that Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) was on the verge of crossing the dangerous line between hurling insults at his political enemies and becoming an accomplice to potential violence against them.
On Saturday, March 18, he overstepped that line entirely.
During his so-called rally in support of the 85th anniversary of Mexico’s Expropriation of Foreign Oil Companies, López Obrador went far beyond the despicable act of publicly disparaging the nation’s newly appointed Supreme Court (SCJN) Chief Justice Norma Piña Hernández during his daily rant of a press conference, as he did March 1, claiming that she was allowing criminals to walk free, which led to a flood of social media memes of Píña Hernández’s photograph titled “The Problem” with a picture of a bullet below titled “The Solution.”
On Saturday, he stood by and watched — even applauded — as members of the nearly 200,000 AMLO-ites who turned out for the festivities burned a giant cardboard effigy of Piña Hernandez in Mexico City’s central plaza Zócalo, all the while screaming “Get out Piña.”
AMLO’s blatant complacency to the implications of this abhorrent act against the head of Mexico’s maximum judicial authority would make him as liable as the perpetrators of any violent assault against Piña Hernández if — God forbid — such a crime were to occur.
Granted, AMLO finally issued a lukewarm, two-sentence condemnation of the burning of the effigy two days later during the second half of his morning press conference in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, on Monday, March 20, but only because he was egged on by a media question.
López Obrador’s delusional vision of himself as the legitimate judge, jury and executioner of anyone who dares to contradict the sacred gospel of his so-called Fourth Transformation (4T) continues to take on attributes eerily reminiscent of that of Vincenzo Maculani da Firenzuola during the Spanish Inquisition, or even Heinrich Himmler during the Third Reich.
And AMLO’s indirect encouragement Saturday of future potential violence against his foes did not stop with the burning of the effigy of Piña Fernandez.
During the rally — which, incidentally, started off to be a simple commemoration of Mexico’s 1938 Expropriation of Foreign Oil Interests and somehow snowballed into a massive political clambake (at taxpayer’s expense) for his leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party and its candidates for the 2023 and 2024 elections — numerous members of the AMLO Squad were also seen handing out hundreds of pamphlets fusing Catholic religious rhetoric (that equated López Obrador with Jesus Christ) with calls for “journalists with bad thoughts about AMLO” to be “disappeared.”
This is a threat that takes on special meaning in a country where, according to the United Nations, more than 108,500 people have gone missing in the last two decades — nearly half of whom disappeared under AMLO’s watch over the course of the last four years — and where, according to the international watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), 151 reporters and media workers have been killed since 2006.
The saddest part about these two reprehensible incidents on Saturday is that they did not even merit front-page status in the Mexican media. Instead, they were buried in the central pages of the likes of respectable newspapers like El Universal and Reforma, suggesting that they were not unexpected occurrences.
AMLO has indeed stepped over the line that differentiates the slinging of mere insults from instigating potential violence.
He is now nothing more than a powerful autocratic thug.
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