President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s first one hundred days in office have been a rollercoaster ride for a minority of Mexicans, but for the majority that follows him blindly, it has been nothing but smooth sailing.
The Mexican press, who are in the minority, has been generally critical of AMLO’s presidential stint. According to them, the President has had political victories such as the war against the “huachicoleros” (people who steal gasoline from the pipelines), the establishment of a new National Guard, and reduction of government salaries. These, however, have been overshadowed by the President’s political blunders: the cancelation of Mexico City’s new airport and elimination of funds for daycare centers and battered women shelters, though he did backtrack on the latter two after he was criticized mercilessly in the media by advocacy groups and political opponents.
More concerning to his critics is AMLO’s penchant for politics of the past, that is, the politics of “La Mafia del Poder” (The Power Mafia) against which he railed for 12 years of constant campaigning that led him to the presidential chair. The thing is, now that he has power, critics, even some on the left, persistently denounce his authoritarian ways of governing because he has “todo el poder,” more power than any Mexican president ever had, and it gives his detractors a sense of déjà vu. They claim AMLO wants to make us relive the sixties and seventies, the decades when the PRI was at the top of its game.
Like one of his heroes, Francisco I. Madero, AMLO is a bit of a mystic, but with a stronger sense of mission and very deep pockets full of millions of pesos to bring it to fruition. Talk about throwing money at problems, AMLO is perfecting this strategy in Mexico. By some accounts, around 23 million Mexicans, from toddlers to the elderly, receive in one way or another government handouts. He’s a modern-day Jesus who multiplies the few pesos in his budget into trillions, there’s plenty more left in the basket, come forth my children in need.
I mean, AMLO is handing out so many goodies that I think many Mexican immigrants in the United States may be even tempted to return to their native homeland. But here is precisely where I have a beef with El Señor Presidente.
I’ll say it plain and clear, AMLO doesn’t care that much about the “Mexicanos de afuera,” who live in the United States. During his presidential campaign, the press made a big deal of his visits to Mexican communities in places such as Los Angeles. Yes, the candidate lauded Mexican migrants for their loyalty to Mexico and for their productivity. He reassured everyone there was enough AMLOve even for those paisanos residing in El Norte. He cared about these strayed national sheep and would look out for their wellbeing as President.
Well, after taking office, what has been his policies with regard to Mexican citizens living in the United States? Basically, nada. There has been some talk of consulates offering better services to attend to immigrant problems but the fact is that El Señor Presidente has caved in to Donald Trump. This turn of events was already announced in the Mexican presidential debates where it was obvious that neither AMLO nor any of the other candidates had any coherent immigration policy in mind.
During his presidential campaign, AMLO talked a big game but, as President, he has refused to go to bat for the “Mexicanos de afuera.”
Things have been eerily quiet on the northern front as far as the Mexican government is concerned. El Señor Presidente has avoided at all cost a battle with Trump. “El Peje le tiene miedo al Gringo.” In fact, AMLO has gone out of his way to praise and show respect for his American counterpart. Most shocking, it was reported in a New York Times article that Mexican government officials admitted they were avoiding confronting Trump with regard to his beautiful wall, accusations of immigrant human rights abuses, and new refugee politics because they didn’t want to make him mad! Where is Pancho Villa when we need him!
This leads me to ask: Why hast thou forsaken us, Mister Mystic President? We’re still loyal to Mexico, we’re still swelling your tourist numbers at your beaches, we’re still one of the most productive and entrepreneurial sectors of the country, we’re still sending faithfully 27 billion dollars every year to support your economy. So, why have you forgotten and abandoned us in the belly of the great Babylon? Are we not worthy of your AMLOve?
It seems we don’t deserve to receive the good news of the Fourth Transformation that you preach in our native land. Over there, you play the paternal father, the Messiah that has come to redeem the poor and the downtrodden, to get rid of the money grabbers and other immoral members of neoliberalism. But I think you have abandoned us because you’re keenly aware that we immigrants don’t play that quasireligious game.
We’re too smart to buy the redemption song you’re singing all over Mexico because for the last four decades we’ve been living the social-economic transformation of which you dream, Señor President. We achieved this dramatic change on our own, out here in the American hinterlands, without any religious revelations and fake political games. More importantly, we have attained our success without the need for a modern Moses or any Mystic Presidente to guide us.