‘Unethical liars’: AMLO responds to hard-hitting editorial in UK newspaper

President López Obrador responded to a scathing editorial in the British newspaper on Friday The Economist, calling the article “very propagandistic” and questioning his right to advise Mexicans to vote against his party.

Posted under the headline “Voters Should Curb Power-Hungry Mexican President” in its May 29-June 4 edition, in which López Obrador appears on the cover under the headline “Mexico’s False Messiah,” the editorial compares AMLO , as the president is commonly known to “authoritarian populists” Viktor Orbán of Hungary, Narendra Modi of India and Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil.

Unlike those leaders, however, López Obrador was able to escape the spotlight, the newspaper said.

This is in part because he lacks some of the vices of his populist peers. He does not make fun of homosexuals, does not denigrate Muslims or incite his supporters to set the Amazon on fire ”. The Economist mentionned. “To his credit, he speaks loudly and often for the destitute of Mexico, and he is not personally corrupt. Nevertheless, it represents a danger for Mexican democracy.

The editorial cited a long list of reasons why AMLO poses a threat to democratic government. Among them: he organized legally questionable referendums on infrastructure projects; he entrusted a wide range of government tasks – and large sums of money – to the military; he cut the budgets of watchdogs or stuffed them with supporters; he intends to replace the governor of the central bank with an economist who favors “a moral economy“; and he threatened the National Electoral Institute.

The cover of the May 29 issue of The Economist.

“The next three years will determine the extent and duration of the damage it inflicts on Mexico and its democracy. He does not have the right to seek re-election, but illegally tries to extend the term of a friendly Supreme Court judge [Chief Justice Arturo Zaldívar]. Critics fear he wants to set a precedent. ” The Economist mentionned.

He also criticized AMLO for its response to the coronavirus pandemic, for dividing the country into “The people” (his supporters) and “the elite”, for invest US $ 7 billion in “a diesel mess” (the Maya train), to “everything but ban” private investment in the energy sector, not to reduce “the rate of stratospheric killings”, not to not have fought government corruption and to stimulate growth by creating a favorable business environment for investors.

“… He did good things, like increasing pensions and subsidizing apprenticeships for young people. Despite being on the left, he kept spending and debt in check, so Mexico’s credit rating remains pretty strong. But he suffers from what Moisés Naím, a Venezuelan journalist, calls “ideological necrophilia” – a love of ideas that have been tried and proven ineffective. ” The Economist mentionned.

“… López Obrador is known not to listen to advice. Its slogan at cabinet meetings is’Cállate! ‘ (Shut up). Its contempt for expertise has made the government less competent.

Because of the risks posed by AMLO, citizens participating in the June 6 municipal, state and federal elections “should support the opposition party best positioned to win, wherever they live,” the editorial said.

“The opposition parties should work together to retain the president. … They should also learn from him. It is popular in part because they did poorly to help those who were left behind during the long boom that followed economic liberalization in the 1980s. ”

The Economist also argued that the United States “must pay attention»To what is happening in Mexico.

Donald Trump did not care about Mexican democracy. President Joe Biden should make it clear that he does. He must be tactful: Mexicans are naturally allergic to being pushed around by their big neighbor. But America must not condone the authoritarianism creeping in its backyard. In addition to sending vaccines unconditionally, Mr. Biden should send out discreet warnings, ”the publication said.

Responding to an unrelated question at his regular press conference on Friday, López Obrador mentioned that an “English magazine” had published a “very propagandistic article against us”. He then explained why The Economist and other foreign media criticized him and his government.

“These foreign magazines and newspapers are devoted to applauding neoliberal policies [of past governments]; they are in favor of privatizations, and they have always remained silent in the face of the corruption that reigned [in Mexico.] They’ve only dedicated themselves to praising corrupt politicians in Mexico for being conservative, ”said López Obrador, using one of his favorite words to describe anyone who opposes him.

“Now they’re annoyed because people are supporting a transformation. So they come out with this disrespectful, very rude and, of course, deceptive blanket, calling me ‘the false messiah’, ”he said.

“The Tropical Messiah” is another nickname for the president, who hails from the low and sultry state of Tabasco.

Marcelo Ebrard
Marcelo Ebrard formally responded to criticisms of the article with a letter to The Economist’s editor. File photo

López Obrador accused The Economist of “lack of ethics” in calling on Mexicans not to vote for the ruling Morena party on June 6.

“… It’s like going to UK and asking the English to vote for my friend [Jeremy] Corbyn of the Labor Party. I can’t do this because it’s a decision for the British. So why don’t they respect [us] …,” he said.

“… Everyone who participated or remained silent when Mexico was looted are now annoyed because people said ‘Enough’,” López Obrador repeated.

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard also responded, sending a strongly worded letter to the editor of the newspaper that the Foreign Ministry published on its website on Thursday.

He said the newspaper’s opinion and his call for Mexicans to vote against Morena was surprising “not because of the ideological position of… [The Economist] but because of your virulence and the fragility of your arguments.

“… Not long ago, it was predicted that it would be difficult for López Obrador to gain power and that should the Mexican electorate choose him, it would lead the country to inexorable economic failure, characterized by devaluation, hyperinflation, debt and a direct confrontation with the United States. None of this happened, ”Ebrard wrote.

“On the contrary, the government of President López Obrador has kept its promise to prioritize and refocus spending on [Mexico’s] the poorest, as he always promised. At the same time, he maintained budgetary discipline and sound public finances, ”wrote the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“… The inability of elites to understand López Obrador seems to repeat itself in your pages today. … Perhaps the most striking [thing]absurd as it is, is the suggestion that President López Obrador has somehow undermined Mexican democracy when what he has done is precisely the opposite. Many of your readers will remember that Mexico was until not too long ago an authoritarian country, without press freedom and free elections, which moved to democracy thanks to the push of many Mexicans, among whom López Obrador stands out, ”Ebrard wrote.

“… We are living in a time of turbulence and, without a doubt, much remains to be done to overcome the pandemic, achieve the definitive take-off of the economy and keep the promise to close the glaring social divide, but the assessment of Mexicans is that we are on the right track and we are getting there. To paraphrase an article in your magazine a few years ago, maybe it’s time for the exasperated elites to realize that they don’t understand, ”he concluded.

Mexico News Daily

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