Government advertisements to promote President López Obrador’s second annual report to the nation have a clear electoral intent, according to some analysts.
The government has made four ads to be broadcast in the lead-up to López Obrador’s address next Tuesday in which the president uses some of his most emblematic political slogans including his oft-said maxim, “For the good of all, the poor come first.”
AMLO, as López Obrador is best known, used the phrase as a campaign slogan when he ran for president in 2006, 2012 and 2018 and rolled it out again in an ad in which he describes the government’s response to the coronavirus-induced economic crisis.
“The pandemic brought us pain and sadness and it also affected us economically. We are now boosting the popular economy because we’re applying a new model,” he says. “Now it’s not like before when bankers and large business owners were rescued. Now the people are being rescued. For the good of all, the poor come first.”
In another ad in which AMLO encourages citizens to purchase lottery tickets for a raffle whose prize money is loosely based on the value of the presidential plane the government is trying to sell, the president uses a variation of an election slogan that also served as the name of the coalition he led at the 2018 election.
After urging people to buy a ticket in the raffle to be drawn September 15, López Obrador says, “Let’s make history.”
The name of the three-party coalition he led was Juntos Haremos Historia, or Together We Will Make History.
In the same video, filmed in an airport hangar and aboard the presidential plane, AMLO charges that the luxury aircraft used by his predecessor Enrique Peña Nieto is an “insult” considering the high levels of poverty in Mexico.
“We’re going to raffle off this plane … and what we obtain will be used to buy medical equipment and attend to the people,” he says.
The implication: opposition parties such as the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), who Peña Nieto represented, and the National Action Party, which was in office when the plane was purchased, are self-serving whereas the current administration is focused on the wellbeing of the masses.
In a third ad made to promote the president’s second annual report, López Obrador again highlights that his administration is helping the nation’s poorest people and “the dispossessed.”One of the four ads ostensibly intended to promote the president’s report to the nation.
He also implies that the government’s economic strategy has the support of the pope, triggering criticism from some observers.
“The conservatives assert that we’re leading the country into communism. Pope Francis has said that helping the poor is not communism; it’s the center of the gospel,” AMLO says.
Experts who spoke with the newspaper El Universal asserted that the main aim of the new ads is to win votes for the ruling Morena party at next year’s midterm elections.
Alberto Aziz, an academic at a social anthropology research center, said he expected the ads to be informative rather than laced with political propaganda.
He also said that AMLO’s reference to the pope is not the first time the president has pushed the boundaries of Mexico’s status as a secular state, noting that he appeared a political event in Tijuana last year alongside a Catholic priest and an evangelical pastor.
José Fernández Santillán, a political scientist at the Tec de Monterrey University in Mexico City, said the new ads show that the 2021 midterms are shaping up to be an “election of the state,” as occurred when the PRI was the omnipotent political force for most of the 20th century.
In such elections in the past, government propaganda and that of the party in power was one and the same, he said.
“Unfortunately, we’re living through a political regression that we thought we had overcome,” Fernández said.
He described López Obrador’s use of a campaign slogan that helped him win the 2018 election and his reference to the name of the coalition he led as “shameless.”
“It’s very serious because it’s an attack on democracy,” Fernández said.
Beatriz Peralta, a politics professor at the Center for Research in Teaching and Economics, a Mexico City university, contended that López Obrador continued to speak as if he were a political candidate even after he was sworn in as president in late 2018.
“The use of the phrases ‘for the good of all, the poor come first’ and ‘together we will make history’ show that there is no change between the candidate and the president,” she said.
Peralta added that it is worrying that the government appears more concerned about the 2021 elections than responding to the current situation the country faces.
Alejandro Motta Nicolicchia, a professor of political communication at the Panamerican University, said that the new ads featuring AMLO fail to make a distinction between being in government and being on the campaign trail.
He charged that López Obrador has been plotting for success at next year’s midterms, at which all representatives in the lower house of Congress will be replaced, since the day after his victory at the 2018 presidential election.
“The priority of the president since July 2, 2018 has been the 2021 elections,” Motta said, adding that the current ads and any other political communication the government develops between now and next June will be designed to win votes for the ruling Morena party and its allies.
The president’s extensive travel around the country and even his morning press conferences have been likened by many observers to an ongoing election campaign.
Source: El Universal (sp)