A war of words has erupted between presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador and a powerful business group over an alleged plot to prevent the leftist politician from winning the July 1 election.
The Morena party leader asserted in Veracruz Tuesday that several members of the Mexican Business Council (CMN) had met with second-place candidate Ricardo Anaya to discuss forming an alliance between the coalition he leads and the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), whose candidate lags in third place.
The CMN — which includes Mexico’s 10 richest magnates — yesterday charged that no such meeting had ever occurred, while presidential spokesman Eduardo Sánchez labeled López Obrador’s claim as “fake news.”
López Obrador claimed that five businessmen — including billionaires Germán Larrea and Alberto Baillères — asked Anaya to withdraw a threat to imprison President Enrique Peña Nieto and in exchange they would convince the president to throw the PRI’s support behind the “For Mexico in Front” coalition.
López Obrador’s comments came four days after Anaya said at a closed-door business meeting that he was “open to building with whoever we have to build with to win this election” although he later backed away from the comment.
He too has denied that he had had a meeting with the business group members “in the terms that López Obrador described” while PRI candidate José Antonio Meade has rejected any possibility of withdrawing from the race in favor of Anaya.
Two polls published this week showed that the third-time presidential hopeful still has a commanding lead over his rivals, although Anaya has closed the gap.
In a strongly-worded statement published yesterday in national newspapers, the CMN said that it “categorically rejects the insulting and slanderous statements with which the candidate for the Together We Will Make History coalition attacked several of our members on May 1 in Zongolica, Veracruz.”
“We condemn the fact that a presidential candidate has resorted to personal attacks and unfounded accusations. It is concerning that someone who aspires to be the president of Mexico insults those who don’t share his ideas,” it continued.
Headed with the title “Así No” or “Not Like That,” the statement went on to highlight the importance of the council members’ companies to the Mexican economy and argue that “conditions of confidence and legal certainty are fundamental to protect and promote savings, investment, economic growth and employment.”
“Confidence is cultivated. It is not dictated or forced. Unfounded statements and insults don’t help to generate it,” the CMN said.
López Obrador hit back at the council members last night, charging that “some of those who endorse this document have obstructed the existence of an authentic democracy in the country and helped with electoral frauds.”
Speaking at an event in Mexico City, the political veteran also said that the council members “have done a lot of damage to the country” and “are responsible for the national tragedy.”
AMLO, as the candidate is widely known, also accused the business group of financing and promoting a dirty war against him.
“They think that they’re the owners of Mexico. They’re holding the institutions hostage. The government is hijacked by this greedy minority. The government doesn’t represent all Mexicans,” he said.
“It’s a small group that does whatever it wants. They’re the ones pulling the strings and they don’t even show their face . . . They don’t want to stop stealing and they don’t want to give up the privilege of being in charge,” he added.
CMN president Alejandro Ramírez said in a media interview yesterday that the business group’s statement was intended as an invitation for respectful dialogue rather than an attack on AMLO and rejected any suggestion that it was part of a dirty war against him.
Source: El Financiero (sp)