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Mexico turns left

Written By: - Date published: 7:48 am, July 3rd, 2018 - 53 comments
Categories: Donald Trump, International, Left, Politics, us politics - Tags: ,

I wonder how much effect Donald Trump’s war on immigrants, humanity and the law of refugees had on this election. Because in Mexico a Bernie Sanders like friend of Jeremy Corbyn has been elected as President in a landslide.

From the New York Times:

Riding a wave of populist anger fueled by rampant corruption and violence, the leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador was elected president of Mexico on Sunday, in a landslide victory that upended the nation’s political establishment and handed him a sweeping mandate to reshape the country.

Mr. López Obrador’s victory puts a leftist leader at the helm of Latin America’s second-largest economy for the first time in decades, a prospect that has filled millions of Mexicans with hope — and the nation’s elites with trepidation.

The outcome represents a clear rejection of the status quo in the nation, which for the last quarter century has been defined by a centrist vision and an embrace of globalization that many Mexicans feel has not served them.

The core promises of Mr. López Obrador’s campaign — to end corruption, reduce violence and address Mexico’s endemic poverty — were immensely popular with voters, but they come with questions he and his new government may struggle to answer.

And the sense of change is high. Again from the New York Times:

In his acceptance speech Sunday night in Mexico City, Mr. López Obrador sought to unite an electorate polarized over his election, and promised to look out for all citizens — with the poor being first among them.

“I call on all Mexicans to reconciliation, and to put above their personal interests, however legitimate, the greater interest, the general interest,” he said. “The state will cease to be a committee at the service of a minority and will represent all Mexicans, rich and poor, those who live in the country and in the city, migrants, believers and nonbelievers, to people of all philosophies and sexual preferences.”

A global repudiation of the establishment has brought populist leaders to power in the United States and Europe, and conservative ones to several countries in Latin America, including Colombia after an election last month.

“The recent elections in Latin America have exhibited the same demand for change,” said Laura Chinchilla, the former president of Costa Rica. “The results are not endorsements of ideologies, but rather demands for change, a fatigue felt by people waiting for answers that simply have not arrived.”

His populism is being compared to that of Donald Trump but his politics are clearly not Trumpian. How he handles the first meeting with Trump and the border crisis will be interesting.

53 comments on “Mexico turns left ”

  1. adam 1

    Left populism, and an electoral smashing of the right.

    Who would have guessed that, oh wait – quite a few people on the standard have been saying that for a quite while.

    Well done Andrés Manuel López Obrador, you ripper!

  2. Bewildered 2

    Let’s wait before we throw out the champagne Mickey. Leftwing populist don’t really have a great record in South America, likewise Mexico has little room for error, I suspect this will all end in tears, researching this guy he does appear to be very ignorant or niave at best

    • marty mars 2.1

      Yep gotta be one of the toughest gigs going in that country – i suspect ‘labels’ get adjusted as and when necessary. I hope he can deliver what the people are asking for – they need change and they need it yesterday.

    • Siobhan 2.2

      America has quite a solid record of spitting the dummy anytime a Leftist gets in anywhere….i’m sure the CIA are putting on their thinking caps as we speak..failing that some long term economic sanctions..and an offer of help to the poor old Right Wingers

  3. Bill 3

    I saw this election being reported in “The Guardian” yesterday and thought about doing a post on it. But I hesitated because…

    I know nothing about Obrabor but am very reticent to take the Guardian’s call on ‘left’ at face value. I haven’t done any wider reading yet, but suffice to say, if he was a compassionate liberal, the Guardian would be saying he was left (I’m leaving US mainstream aside because they’re just spinning on some other planet far, far away when it comes to reporting on other country’s elections)

    But I’ve noticed there’s no mention of his attitude towards Venezuela or the Bolivarian Revolution. Regardless of what anyone might think of Venezuela and what’s happening there, the fact is that Venezuela defines the politics of the left in the America’s, and to make no mention of Obrador’s positioning is….odd.

    If he was left, as opposed to some iteration of liberal, he would be endorsing the Bolivarian Revolution (even if critically) and liberal media (NYT, WP, Guardian etc) would be savaging him for it.

    In short, endorsement from the likes of those outlets named above make me suspicious of the authenticity of any claims that Obrador is of the left…even of a social democratic left. As it stands, I’m persuaded to view him as another conservative liberal who will only make changes that preserve the nuts and bolts of the liberal status quo.

    But now I’ll away and do some delving and hopefully discover that I’m wrong.

    • Bill 3.1

      Laughing my arse off about now.

      Can I suggest a google search for “Russia Mexico politics”?

      The Atlantic, Washington Post, and quite a few others have, pre-election, run with Russia scare bullshit.. Obrador (or so I take it we’re to suspect) may well be a result of Russian meddling – a Kremlin stooge, a plant.

      Thing is, “our” media don’t run that shit when the leading candidate is anyone they’d consider as being safe.

    • Pat 3.2

      Dont think theres much doubt his views are from ‘the left’…just as Im pretty sure that compromise will be the order of the day.

    • Gosman 3.3

      Yes Venezuela does define the politics of the left in the America’s. A brutal undemocratic economic basket case.

      • dukeofurl 3.3.1

        yes sireee. Gosman
        politics in central and South america has never had brutal and undemocratic right wing governments.
        because admitting that would define the philosophy behind them

        • Gosman 3.3.1.1

          Noone’s denying they have had brutal and undemocratic right wing governments. The left ones just tend to be economically incompetent as well.

          • adam 3.3.1.1.1

            You do get that the poor in Venezuela support the bolivian revolution right? That the poor and underclasses have seen their lot massively improved under this socialist government. And that outside interference, market manipulations, and sanctions against Venezuela are seen for what they are.

            So tired of the hard right making stupid statements like you Gosman.

          • Tricledrown 3.3.1.1.2

            Goose man the US don’t put tariffs and embargoes on brutal right wing dictatorship’s
            But through the CIA’s back door funding with the war on drugs supplying massive amounts of money laundered ie Panama papers undermining democracy for decades in South and Central America also the Carribbean where the money is laundered into respectable banks like Bof A Merrill Lynch where John Key was in Charge of all transaction’s from these tax havens.
            Key tried to Deny but has been found out.

            • Gosman 3.3.1.1.2.1

              Depends on how you define the former Burmese military regime. Was that left or right wing in your view?

          • dukeofurl 3.3.1.1.3

            So a having a widespread and ongoing shortage defines a government as incompetent ?

            Is there extra incompetent points for denial?
            https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/271023/key-denies-akl-housing-crisis

            https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/80320513/John-Key-says-no-Auckland-housing-crisis-but-76-per-cent-of-voters-want-more-action

            You really are on a Gish gallop today Gosman, maybe it should be renamed in your dis-honour

            • Gosman 3.3.1.1.3.1

              Yes and you will find I was heavily critical of the last government for not resolving the housing crisis.

              • Tricledrown

                Gosman you are making it up as you go a long.
                I have never seen a derogatory post from you about the National Party.
                De railing.
                Mexico Gosman has gone left because they are fed up with corrupt politicians who aren’t tackling the endemic corruption fuelled by the $trillion drug trade.

      • adam 3.3.2

        Yeah you’re right wing buddies killing the poor black people on the streets, it is a bit much. Your Venezuela bites make you look a tool. Bit like when you harped on about toilet paper, when it was your right wing mates who made a crisis, bit like the cash crisis inside Venezuela, the same wankers to had a coup, at it again.

        Oh and have you looked at a newspaper from Venezuela lately? How they have press freedom, and how people are able to criticise the government.

        Your lot can’t win an election in Venezuela, so you lie through your teeth.

        As for economic basket case – how argentina working out. Them and their hard right economic, Still falling apart I see.

        • Gosman 3.3.2.1

          How did my right wing mates cause toilet paper shortages in Venezuela?

          • dukeofurl 3.3.2.1.1

            First world problem.

            Actually you would love the real story behind that, ‘re-exports’ because of the mismatch between black market and official exchange rates.
            https://www.businessinsider.com.au/why-venezuela-is-running-out-of-toilet-paper-2015-11?r=UK&IR=T

            NZ had shortages/rationing of infant formula during nationals years.
            So you could say ‘yes your right wing mates are the cause of those shortages.

            Actual reason not to different from Venezuela after all- re-exports

            And we could say ‘your right wing mates were responsible for the housing shortage here

            • Gosman 3.3.2.1.2.1

              Yeas a black market and do you know why black markets are created Bill? It is because of idiotic price controls imposed by central governments. It isn’t the right wings fault that people make money off selling toilet paper over the border in local countries. It is the Government of Venezuela’s fault for trying to think they can set the price of a commodity below the market price.

              [There is no way you read and reflected on those links in that amount of time Gosman. You want to engage, then do it honestly and (if you can manage) intelligently. And a reminder, this is a sub-thread. The post is about Mexico’s elections. You’d be unwise to attempt a derail of the post with you’re usual, ill informed rants about Venezuela] – Bill

              • dukeofurl

                What was the ‘idiotic controls’ that caused the Infant formula powder shortage in NZ during the Key era then.

                • Gosman

                  I don’t know. What was the ‘idiotic controls’ that caused the Infant formula powder shortage in NZ? Do you know?

              • Tricledrown

                Mexico is the drug hub for South Americas Drug trade with the United States.
                Most South American govts have been corrupted by the Nixon era war on Drugs
                Mexico is paying a high price with a low wage economy its easy to corrupt officials especially with all the money laundering tax havens handy.
                The US demand for illegal Drugs fuels all this murder and mayhem.
                Portugal’s decriminalisation of all drugs is the example the US should follow take away the profit from the trade then there’s no incentive for the criminal gangs and their bought off politicians who perpetuate the failure of the War.

              • Gosman

                Those links basically mention people are smuggling items that are price controlled in Venezuela and are selling them in neighbouring countries for the market price. That is the gist of it. There is nothing else behind it. It is what happens in ANY country that imposes prices below the market price.

                It was also YOU who brought up Venezuela not I and it was you who thought that Venezuela should define the politics of the left in the America’s. If you didn’t want it discussed why did YOU bring it up?

                [See. I put this bit in my comment with you very much in mind Gosman. Regardless of what anyone might think of… In other words, it’s an observation that reasonably explicit in not inviting comment on the politics or situation in Venezuela. Comment that would argue against Venezuela being viewed as the main expression of left wing politics in the Americas? Yes. The turgid and ridiculous “anti” doggerel that you routinely vomit? No. You’re derailing has wasted enough of the comments space on this post. No more.] – Bill

                • ropata

                  For those who have reading comprehension problems. Venezuela’s problems are largely caused by its business elites hoarding certain goods, and the US economic blockade – an act of war against a peaceful democracy.

                • RedLogix

                  Given that I’m on a plane to Mexico tomorrow; this could be interesting.

                  I’d suggest Gosman has a point; however you want to paint the complex causes of it, the undeniable crisis in Venezuela has the potential to replicate itself in Mexico.

                  • adam

                    What we learn – that anything the left do, the right will go out of their way to stuff with. Yeah we get that. But the lies and BS around Venezuela are staggering. And most of it is peddled by people who want to see an invasion of Venezuela.

                    As for connecting Mexico and Venezuela, my guess is the establishment is pissed off it did not get it’s way, so any old scear mongering will do. The bolivian revolution did not happen in Mexico yesterday – you need to keep up. There was no radical shift left.

          • Tricledrown 3.3.2.1.3

            The Nationalisation of all Venezuelans oil field’s is why the US has put massive sanctions and trade embargoes so Venezuela can’t export oil or import toilet paper.
            Mexico will suffer to because Trump is having trade wars not unlike the early 1900’s when the US followed the same policy of military build up and economic isolation.
            1929 ring any bells (wall St crash)

            • WILD KATIPO 3.3.2.1.3.1

              So when the shit starts flying the FIRST thing to happen is embargoes against poo paper !

              Humanity !!!

              How typical !!!

              We would all be better off by cultivating diplomatic and economic relations and mutually beneficial regional cooperation coupled with alliances than all this squabbling. Despite variances of governmental styles . And less listening to minority economically vested interest groups.

              That is the only way to keep us all out of the shit.

              And to prevent shortages of poo paper from ever occurring again !

              • the other pat

                no bog paper!!!!….more like oh the INhumanity of it all……….its a vital commodity………without it shit does stay stuck!!

    • dukeofurl 3.4

      That might because the previous government was using’ Venezuela’ as a club to beat him over the head with
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/06/05/why-mexicos-government-wants-to-keep-venezuela-in-the-news/

      ‘Opponents have tried to tie López Obrador, a former mayor of Mexico City, to Chávez and Venezuela for more than a decade. Attack ads calling him “a danger for Mexico” and comparing him to Chávez torpedoed his 2006 presidential campaign — a race he refused to concede after losing by less than a percentage point. He again finished second in 2012 and again refused to concede.”

      WP seems to love the phrase ‘refused to concede’ except why would you in a close race in the corrupt mexican politics.
      hell most the the nats here have ‘refused to concede’ they lost the election.

    • Bill 3.5

      And with a search for “Obrador Venezuala”…

      (And yes, I know we’re talking the Miami bloody Herald here, but still, quotes are quotes 🙂 )

      López Obrador announced recently that, if elected, he would appoint as his foreign minister Hector Vasconcelos, who has served as ambassador to Denmark, Norway and Iceland.

      Vasconcelos subsequently said that he would put an end to Mexico’s current activism in diplomatic efforts to restore democracy in Venezuela. What’s more, Vasconcelos said he wouldn’t even criticize Venezuela’s regime.

      Asked at a May 17 roundtable on Mexico’s “Es Hora de Opinar” television show if he would have signed a recent statement by 14 Latin American countries demanding the restoration of the rule of law in Venezuela — as did Mexico’s current government — Vasconcelos responded, “I don’t think so.”

      He added, “This is a strictly internal matter of Venezuela. We believe we shouldn’t even express opinions about strictly internal matters.”

      To be fair, López Obrador and Vasconcelos are not the only foreign-policy dinosaurs who are being resurrected on the world stage.

      • dukeofurl 3.5.1

        Historically Mexico hasnt openly involved itself or commenting on the internal affairs of fellow South American countries.

        Its a bit like NZ and Australia – except when it directly involves us- staying out of giving a running commentary on whats going on over the ditch.
        newspapers may love firing broadsides but its not productive for politicians

    • Bewildered 3.6

      From the economist

      Chavez, Castro, Fujimori come to mind

      “Mr López Obrador is of the left, but he is a would-be saviour rather than a social democrat. Instead of a better future, he promises to return Mexico to a better, safer past of strong, paternalist government. He invites voters to trust in him, rather than in democratic institutions. As the last two contests showed, in normal circumstances he would not win.”

      Not promising but pretty messed up country, narco state and all that

  4. Carolyn_Nth 4

    What on earth is a “leftist”?

    I searched for a definition. Many say it means socialism or communism. Some just say it means left wing. If so, why not just say “left” or “left wing”. Leftist sounds like an irrational cult.

    Urban dictionary says:

    A person who simultaneously advocates for radical individualism, and radical egalitarianism.

    Radical individualism being … The individual tends more to emphasize personal *rights*, while neglecting personal *responsibilities.*


    Radical egalitarianism is the advocation of equality of *outcome* rather than equality of *opportunity* and, often unconsciously, seeks to persecute those who have achieved more than others with the hand they’ve been dealt.

    While, at their core, the two concepts are often at odds, they are emphasized at different times, which circumvents this conflict.

    Leftists very often view such figures as Marx, Castro, Chavez and their ilk with sympathy, if not admiration.

    That the NYT article consistently describes Andrés Manuel López Obrador as “leftist” sounds like a subtle put down.

    • Bill 4.1

      I think it could be seen as a way to fudge politics – to deny the rich schools of thought or political tradition of the left. If everything’s just “leftist”, (a vague kinda nothing) then everything that was or can be is some variation of what is, aye?

      The “leftist” label obviates any need to look closer or explore/explain any possible social democratic foundation of underlying political thought. And that’s before we get to the point of looking beyond the bounds of social democracy.

      And, as we know, conservative liberals are routinely cast as being “leftist”. So there’s an element of “heading off at the pass” involved, that hinders anything from the left emerging, or muddies the waters when it comes down to recognising it and placing in context.

      It could be seen as just one among many major and minor elements at play that might seem designed (though I think it’s just a consequence of being mired in ideology rather than being anything deliberative) to keep everything moving along just nicely and placed well within the dotted lines.

      But I may be over thinking things this morning 🙂

    • Pat 4.2

      Urban dictionary has its place…but im not sure it can be of much use in this instance.
      “of the left” will mean different things to different people….if we take the left right as a sliding scale of public to private ownership (control) then I think it fair to describe him as more liberal than left, particularly in light of his step back from opposing private (foreign) energy ownership….so Bill may be correct in his original questioning….and you may be correct in the put down language…either way Mexico certainly dosnt look to be getting too radical from this distance……and I still wonder how good his personal security is.

      • Bill 4.2.1

        This seems like a reasonable run down of some of the problems around bringing the energy sector back under public ownership. (It doesn’t mention Investor State Dispute Settlements, but NAFTA ….)

        http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/energy-green/sd-fi-amlo-energyreform-20180531-story.html

        • Pat 4.2.1.1

          Those realities are why Im confident of compromise….he dosnt appear an economic radical so he is hidebound…thats not to say he cant improve the lot of the poor in Mexico to a significant degree, but it wont be systemic change.

          https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-election-team/mexicos-lopez-obrador-names-businessman-to-economic-transition-team-idUSKBN1JS0G3

          https://www.latinfinance.com/magazine/2018/march-april-2018/mexican-advisors-discuss-economic-policy-before-elections

          • Bill 4.2.1.1.1

            That second link is pretty useful Pat. And in line with it, there’s this (that more or less simply confirms what’s in that second link)

            Lopez Obrador vows that profound change is coming, but says individual and property rights will be guaranteed. He promises respect for the autonomy of the Bank of Mexico and says his government will maintain financial and fiscal discipline.He also says contracts obtained under energy reforms will be scrutinized for any corruption or illegality, but there will be no confiscation or expropriation of property.

            (my emphasis)

            https://www.sacbee.com/latest-news/article214148379.html

            Reads as conservative liberalism to me. So, he might well count Jeremy Corbyn among his friends, but it would appear that politically he’s a Jacinda.

            • Pat 4.2.1.1.1.1

              lol…I thought Jacinda myself when I read those pieces….the desire is there but they are are risk averse…and in all honesty Im not sure I blame them.

            • Dennis Frank 4.2.1.1.1.2

              Time will tell, but this report suggests he’s a tad more to the left:
              https://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/mexico-election-results-2018-amlo-morena-democracy

              “Perhaps the best summary of his agenda is a slogan he has repeated for more than a decade: por el bien de todos, primero los pobres (“for the good of all, the poor should come first”).”

              The scope of his victory is remarkable: “His victory is the largest electoral landslide in the history of Mexican democracy. He is the first presidential candidate to have received an absolute majority (as opposed to a plurality of the vote) since 1988—when Mexico was still under an authoritarian regime where fraud was prevalent. He had the largest vote share in every state but one, conquering unlikely territories for his social movement in the wealthier and more industrialized north of the country.”

              “Such an impressive performance was all-encompassing not only geographically but also demographically. According to one exit poll, he won a plurality of voters in every category. He did almost equally well among men (51 percent) and women (49 percent). He did well among the young (45 percent), and got more than half the voter share among the middle-aged. Differences were small among education levels: he had 49 percent of the vote of those with no education, and 47 percent of those with university educations. He did best among middle-income voters—53 percent of the votes of those with incomes between $150 and 300 a month—but had 41 percent of the vote among the poorest, and 44 percent of the vote of the richest. His victory, then, was not that of one class or group over another, but a substantial and broad-based endorsement of a new direction for Mexico.”

              He created the platform for his victory thus: “in 2014 founded the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), which he led until 2018” when he stood as candidate for “Juntos Haremos Historia, a coalition of the left-wing Labor Party, right-wing Social Encounter Party, and MORENA.” Similar to Jacinda (three parties in govt) yet more audacious and visionary, given that left & right wing parties rarely govern together!

  5. dukeofurl 5

    Why this new obsession with full ‘Spanish style’ names in English media

    We never had it before like this
    Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz

    Salvador Guillermo Allende Gossens

    Francisco Franco Bahamonde

    the maternal family name comes last and is normally dropped in English reports

    Luckily for Andres Lopez, Mexico doesnt have impeachment like Brazil did

  6. This guy sounds awesome,… but he should best watch out and conduct himself with discretion,… if he rubs the right wing extremists and cartels up the wrong way he will face danger… its going to be a hard act , but if he can effect changes for the little person the guys going to be a winner.

    Some good comments here but sometimes seem a little over analytical, – and from afar. So what if hes ‘naive’,… so what if he is assumed liberal , centrist or hard left or ‘social democrat’… if his heart is in the right place and his policy’s are based on fairness,- and particularly in looking out for the average person ( who voted for him ) then he should do well.

    Hopefully.

    But every time a leader comes to power and challenges the autocratic and monopolistic status quo they run a risk. Benazir Bhutto comes to mind. As do others. And if he can work in with and negotiate around Trump even better.

    Here’s another Lopez from an earlier time . Lets hope the current one provides an economic environment whereby the fortunes of the Mexicans are reversed and the movement is in the opposite direction.

    TRINI LOPEZ America – YouTube
    Video for id love to live in america trini lopez you tube▶ 3:33

  7. Ad 7

    Lets see if he cracks Slim or any of the other cartels that actually run the place.

  8. Ad 8

    One of the new Presidents’ first tasks will be to either kill or let live this massive airport project near Mexico City. Planned to be the third largest airport in the world. And it has Carlos Slim all over it.

    https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2018/05/the-bumpy-take-off-of-mexico-citys-new-airport/559259/

    I have not an ounce of sympathy for Carlos Slim, who as one of the very very top five richest people in the world runs about 6% of the entire GDP of Mexico and is a true South Americas oligarch.

    But this will be one almighty internal battle in Mexico if the new President really does seek to kill it.

    • Bill 8.1

      According to an interview with one of Obrador’s economic advisors (second linked article from Pat at 4.2.1.1), the state has underwritten some $6 billion worth of debt for the airport.

      I guess that’ll be a factor on top of everything else when considering whether to pull the plug or let it go down the plug-hole.

      • Ad 8.1.1

        It is.

        But Obrador was on record throughout the campaign and earlier vociferously opposing the campaign and proposing a cheaper option at an old military base in the north. Just weensy bit of hope there still.

        Other minor problem with all the dewatering, the whole thing is slightly sinking.

        Granted the whole thing is a fair way down the track in construction terms now, but Slim is just something else when it comes to commercial power over construction and utilities in Mexico.

        • Bill 8.1.1.1

          Well, yeah. I read your link. Hence the “plug-hole” reference.

          If Slim is serious with his alternative for real estate on the land, I’d be tempted to let the chump go for it (all other considerations aside). High end housing only, of course.

  9. I remember reading about Carlos Slim a number of years ago and him buying up telecommunications back then. So I had to have a revisit , and for those who have not heard of the man here he is :

    Carlos Slim – Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Slim

  10. the other pat 10

    if Obrador is is good as he ” appears” then the likely outcome for him is a suspected dose of death,

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