Morena leader López Obrador presents his platform yesterday. Morena leader López Obrador presents his platform yesterday.

AMLO lays out plan for third run at top job

Morena party chief presents platform for next year's presidential election

Two-time leftist presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador has presented the political platform he hopes will pave the way to make his tilt at the top job in next year’s election a case of third time lucky.

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The Morena party — which he founded and leads — held its fourth annual congress in Mexico City yesterday where the repeat aspirant, better known by his initials AMLO, set out his vision for the country in a policy manifesto entitled “National Project 2018-2024.”

The minimum wage, education, earthquake reconstruction, security, corruption, the economy and personal rights and freedoms all form part of the party’s agenda, part of which is intended to dispel concerns that the party is anti-business.

The daily minimum wage will rise by 15.6% per year under Morena’s proposal, ensuring that it will reach 171 pesos (US $9) by the end of 2024 and maintain pace with the minimum threshold set by the social development agency Coneval for well-being.

On education, López Obrador announced a scholarship scheme which aims to ensure that 150,000 young Mexicans — that he says are currently excluded from pursuing further studies — are able to access tertiary education. Under the proposal every student would receive 29,000 pesos (US $1,542) annually and entrance examinations would become optional to avoid students being “rejected” from educational institutions.

López Obrador also proposed that new funds for earthquake reconstruction be allocated directly to victims.  Further resources would also be allocated for the reconstruction of infrastructure and the repair of culturally and historically significant heritage sites, buildings and monuments, he said.

In total, he pledged 45 billion pesos (US $2.4 billion) towards the efforts.

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On security, López Obrador put forward an initiative similar to one already presented by current President Enrique Peña Nieto, who proposes creating a “Mando Único” or single command for the country’s state police forces.  The proposal would effectively put an end to the independence of municipal police and is designed to create more standardized and professional forces across the country.

He also said he would withdraw the military from the nation’s streets, although he stressed it would only be done when it was safe to do so.

On corruption López Obrador proposed reforming Article 19 of the constitution to enforce mandatory preventative custody for people who commit crimes related to corruption.

“To transform this country, it’s no longer enough to complain that we have a dishonest government. We have in our hands the chance to put an end to corruption, ” he said.

He also sought to allay fears that have seen him compared to the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, with some critics fearing that he will implement wide reaching and radical social and economic reforms that could endanger the country’s economy.

López Obrador defended the right to private property, assuaging fears that he may seek to nationalize some assets or industries, adding that the nation’s public accounts would be managed responsibly under a government he leads.

He also said he would carry out reforms on fiscal policy without raising taxes and would reassign more than 412 billion pesos (US $21.9 billion) to invest in infrastructure projects and social programs. In total, 4.1% of gross domestic product would be redirected for the purpose, he said

The candidate’s chief strategist, who also spoke at the congress, stressed that the party is not seeking to follow any precedent established by governments in other countries.

“We know very well what we want and what we don’t want. We are inspired by Mexico. Not by France, or Spain, China, the United States, Venezuela or any other country,” said Alfonso Romo, a successful businessman and agro-industrialist from Nuevo León.

López Obrador reiterated the point, attempting to dispel notions that he is anti-business.

“Let’s be clear, we’re not against business people, on the contrary, the business sector is necessary. We are against corrupt politicians, influence peddlers, things like that . . . We’re not inspired by any foreign government, not Maduro, or Donald Trump . . .” he said.

Some of the other proposals López Obrador announced yesterday were to:

• Ensure strict supervision of private companies carrying out projects with public money.

• Monitor every peso of public money online in real time.

• Abolish immunity against prosecution, known as the fuero, for the president.

• Create a national tourist police force.

• Give greater autonomy and sanction powers to the Federal Auditor’s Office (ASF).

• Reduce the size of the federal government without sacrificing quality.

• Create a special economic zone in the northern border region to stimulate economic activity.

• Build two new Pemex refineries.

• Widen broadband internet coverage to marginalized areas at accessible prices.

• Build a tourist railway on the Yucatán peninsula.

López Obrador previously contended the 2006 and 2012 presidential elections and came particularly close to victory in 2006, when he won just half a percentage point fewer votes than Felipe Calderón. He is currently the frontrunner in most polls to be Mexico’s next president.

However, neither the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) nor the left wing-right wing coalition known as the Citizens’ Front for Mexico have yet decided who their candidates for the July 1 election will be.

Source: Reforma (sp), La Razón (sp), Animal Político (sp)

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  • DreadFool

    make the perfect dictatorship more perfect, a man with a plan.

  • Geoffrey Rogg

    Sounds great but can he be trusted? I don’t believe that this Leopard can change his spots, he belongs to a bygone age. Mexico needs a much younger, charismatic leader who can pull together this most discordant nation, a real nationalist who will put Mexican interests first and restore national pride in so doing.

    • cooncats

      Well, we thought that was Peña Nieto. So much for younger and charismatic. I look at AMLO’s actually record in Mexico City, the largest, most difficult city in this country and it is pretty good. The PRI seems to be stealing more than ever and the PAN seems to be ineffectual at best. May as well try something different.

      • Geoffrey Rogg

        You don’t get it. Nieto is part of the Spanish hierarchy that dominates Mexico. I’m talking about a real Mexican in the tradition of Zapata, a man of the people. Mexico has to rid itself of all foreign control of their resources. I am sick and tired of obese , boozing gringos who despite years of being in Mexico cannot speak the language and yet think they know better and can criticize. Viva Mexico!

        • cooncats

          Zapata isn’t running. And I’m sick of arrogant expats who think they can be more Mexicans than the Mexicans.

          • Geoffrey Rogg

            The destabilization of Mexico started with Spanish conquest which brought venereal diseases and corruption along with the cursed cross and forced conversion to a hypocritical faith. The solution, if there is one, can only come from grass roots. I am a citizen of Mexico for nearly thirty years and have worked throughout the country exclusively for Mexican owned corporations.

          • cooncats

            OK but this is the here and now. I’m curious, who are you supporting in the upcoming presidential election? Do you believe any of the old line parties will bring any change to the culture of governmental corruption here?

          • Geoffrey Rogg

            I cannot support any candidate because even those with a new message always fail to deliver when push comes to shove. As long as the economy continues to show sustained promise and Mexican youth continue the better trend in business and economic studies, I believe that for the foreseeable future Mexico will benefit more from a strong economic dynamic than any political breakthrough. In any event Mexicans are very entrepreneurial and self reliant with an ingrained distrust of politicians of all stripes, something in which I whole heartedly concur.

          • cooncats

            OK thanks. Truthfully I wonder if the Mexican economy given the highly favorable demographic profile of the country wouldn’t be growing much faster without the drag of political corruption and over concentration of wealth in too few hands. I do wonder how AMLO could deliver much if elected given the legislature is likely to be controlled by the PRI, PAN and PRD.

          • Geoffrey Rogg

            Just go out into the street of any fair sized town in Mexico and you will find a bee hive of workshops where all manner of goods are being fashioned with impeccable quality. Often the artisan’s own living quarters are in the same locale behind a curtain where you will find bed, toilet, shower and kitchen. The Mexican expects nothing from the State, except access to reasonable health care which in my experience they do have, other than that they live surprisingly well, the secret being self-sufficiency as opposed to a culture of dependency so prevalent north of the border. Sorry if I disappoint you with my total disdain for politicians (everywhere) but the toughest business school I have attended is the Mexican one, after which nothing surprises me and am convinced that anything is possible.

        • PJ

          You need to get beyond your personal peeves with Mexico. Of course those gringos exist, but it isnt even remotely a problem compared to all the other ills Mexico faces. In point of fact, those gringos are necessary foreign income; a lot of which gets spent on the middle class and the poor.

          • Geoffrey Rogg

            I have no personal peeves with Mexico
            or Mexicans, just a thorough understanding of how a vastly superior culture was destroyed by a villainous Iberian tribe who raped and pillaged their way into the subjugation of one of the finest civilizations on Earth. Go to the Anthropological Museum in Cuernavaca and educate yourselves of the truth behind Mexico’s current irreparable distress. What is so difficult for so many of you to understand is that to the Mexican what was then is what is now. You have no right to patronize or pity those who are in every way your superiors and mine for that matter. That is why I disdain all politics in Mexico and why I believe that Mexico, more than any other nation on Earth, has to shed all vestiges of its shame and reclaim its own cultural heritage, only then will the Mexican be at home in his own land.

          • Mike S

            Lots of truth in your 5 comments here. I agree with 90% of it. Norte Americanos need to respect and help Mexico move forward…that would very much help us too. Disparaging and insulting Mexico and Mexicans is really ignorant and counter productive. Both countries have their problems but our destinies are intertwined in many ways and that needs to be recognized. Forty million Americans trace some of their heritage to Mexico. No reason our relationship with our southern neighbor should not be harmonious and respectful with both countries benefiting. Nothing wrong with constructive criticism from either side, but there should be no room for bigotry or negative stereotyping.

          • Geoffrey Rogg

            Thank you Mike for sharing your sense of understanding. I just wish that more our ex-pat community would base their attraction to Mexico for the right reasons and that in no way whatsoever should contribute to criminality and immorality which, unfortunately, does occur with or without malice aforethought. Although I may belong to a different generation, my father insisted that when visiting other nations we should first attempt to learn the basics of their languages without which there could never be meaningful intercourse with their peoples or understanding of their cultures. How many, we surely both know, have lived in or visited Mexico for many years but, apart from a few abysmally pronounced words, can hardly communicate in Spanish, let alone using the local native, pre-Hispanic, linguistic variants. On the other hand, I have had the pleasure of knowing some great “Gringos” who have selflessly contributed to the education and well being of their fellow Americans from south of the Rio Grande. We have our Mexican home in the hills over-looking Puerto Vallarta, where one can find the best and worst in humanity. We consider ourselves privileged to be part of the community and our only bad experiences have been instigated by arrogant, criminally corrupt Canadian elements who think they own the town, including city hall. Yes, you can call this our pet peeve concerning our presence in Mexico and are doing our best to expose all the criminal elements involved with the help of a great Mexican attorney and in defiance of the many threats we have received. But, I emphasize, this situation, like many others, is not perpetrated by Mexicans but by the all too many corrupt elements from north of the border.

          • Mike S

            Amen to your father’s attitude. I have been traveling and living off and on in Mx since I was a teenager 50 years ago. I speak passable Spanish and read it well; That doesn’t mean I can understand fast speaking Mexicans who use lots of nuanced idioms and street expressions. I have made an amateur study of Mexican history but don’t keep up deeply with day to day politics. The history of the Olmec, Teotihuacan, Maya, Toltec, and Mexica cultures is fascinating and in many ways they were advanced over European cultures of their time. The National Museum of Anthropology in Mx City is a world treasure. Unfortunately, the Europeans had steel, guns, powerful religious brainwashing, and germs on their side and prevailed. The germs were especially devastating. Mexico today is a complex and rich society too often generalized and not well understood or respected by
            most Norte Americanos. Sorry to hear about your troubles with the Canadians. My experience with them has been generally good. Mostly they are honest, straight forward, friendly, boring and care mostly about the cheap prices and good weather. Good luck!

          • Geoffrey Rogg

            I had to bone up on Mexican history, albeit mostly post-Hispanic, when sitting for my citizenship exam in Tepic which frankly I would never had passed if it was not for the friendly help from the Licenciado who examined me. It was far tougher than my US citizenship exam that I took many years earlier. You are perfectly correct about our Canadian cousins but even many of them admit that the Alberta bunch have some of their finest and their worst. In PV I honestly believe we have more than our fair share of the latter many of whose files are “sealed” in the public archives because of the ramifications that their open access would lead to amongst local politicians and municipal authorities. Never mind, I enjoy unearthing unsavory truths as part of my contribution to society no matter how unwelcome it is to some.

          • PJ

            You two are a hoot. You really think if Americans and Canadians who travel to Mexico were more “respectful” of Mexicans, then Mexico’s problems go away? That’s like having an oncologist ask you if you would like him to treat your acne, when you went to him because you were diagnosed with terminal cancer. “My acne’s not the problem, Doc! I’m dyin’ here!!!!!

          • Mike S

            Nobody stated any such premise but problems need to be solved and understanding history and respecting cultures are necessary first steps. The US can either work closely with Mexico to solve the drug cartel violence and the US drug addiction/consumption epidemic, or we can pretend the whole problem is because of Mexico alone and insult/demean them and declare them our enemy. The latter route will solve nothing but appeals to bigots and those who are in denial of our own shortcomings. AMLO was a decent mayor of Mexico City and seems like a reasonable leader that Trump could work with. Trump is likely incapable of any such cooperation and loves scapegoating Mexicans to rile up his base. AMLO is not going to stroke Trump’s narcissistic ego. Blaming Mexico for the 2008 economic meltdown doesn’t fit the facts nor does calling NAFTA the worst trade agreement ever. Rogg and I perhaps got off subject, but your comments are ignorant and juvenile.

          • PJ

            OK, man, keep dreaming about the return of Aztlan. Maybe put indigenous Chiapas Indians in charge, eh? That should fix the problems with Mexico. Good luck with that.

          • Geoffrey Rogg

            I would never mock any effort by native Mexicans to assert their ancestral rights. My whole thrust has been that beginning with the Conquista Mexico has been terribly destabilized by outside forces and continues to be so. The Chiapas Indians, as you call them, have the rights where the foreigner has none.

    • Commander Barkfeather

      Come to think of it… the US could stand the same.

  • Mike S

    Drug cartels and organized crime are maybe the biggest problems facing Mx. If his plan is to mimick Neito’s failed security plans- good luck with that. Nothing was mentioned about NAFTA and changes in US-Mx trade agreements. Kind of a shallow platform so far. Hopefully he will explain and expand on his proposals in coming months.

    • He has already stated that he would prefer to withdraw from NAFTA.

    • PJ

      One of the biggest reasons that the cartels can find a ready pool of employees is because SO MAN YOUNG MEN IN SO MANY RURAL AND URBAN AREAS HAVE NO OTHER OPTIONS for making a living and supporting their extended families. Mexico will never rise above the influence of the cartels until it can offer a realistic alternative to working for them. The demand will NEVER be stopped in the US and the “war on drugs” will NEVER succeed in stopping the flow. Wall or no wall. But the government cant do it alone. Big businesses will have to be involved. Personally, I trust foreign businesses to distribute wealth better than the oligarchy that exists in Mexico. Not that foreign businesses have that great a track record, of course. But the stranglehold that the uber-rich Mexicans have created is, well, just look at what they’ve created. An incredible imbalance of wealth.

  • kallen

    The government reflects the people. If the people aren’t getting what they want, they need only look in the mirror.

    • cooncats

      Sad but true and definitely explains the decline of the U.S.

      • kallen

        Precisely!

  • cooncats

    Corruption is killing Mexico. I can’t imagine how anyone can tame it but for sure the PRI and the PAN aren’t going to. At this point, why not try something different?

  • Güerito

    It all sounds good, except he needs to propose a huge tax increase on the wealthy to pay for some of this spending and investments. Income inequality in Mexico is about the highest in the world, and the wealthy pay very little in taxes. In fact, Mexico is about the lowest in the world in percent of GDP going to taxes. This is a no-brainer.

    • PJ

      Completely agree! The super wealthy aren’t going to vote for AMLO, anyway. But there will be fence-sitters in the upper middle class, the middle class and the poor that may embrace him, instead of the same-ole, same ole, from the PRI and PAN. Those people need to look beyond all the hand-outs that the PRI distributes in the days leading up to the elections.

  • Güerito

    Latest poll has AMLO comfortably in lead. With Margarita as an independent, AMLO is ahead by 8 or 14, depending on PRI candiate.

    Without Margarita as an independent, AMLO is ahead by 9 or 13, depending on the PRI candidate. In other words, Margarita’s vote is divided about evenly between AMLO, PRI and El Frente.

    Since Mancera serving as head of El Frente (instead of Anaya) and Margarita in or out doesn’t change things, I don’t see how these results can change much.

    http://www.elfinanciero.com.mx/nacional/amlo-lidera-la-intencion-de-voto-con-o-sin-frente-ciudadano.html

  • cooncats

    Another good read on AMLO. https://www.informador.mx/ideas/La-cruzada-de-Lopez-Obrador-20171124-0041.html

    I have to agree with his focus on corruption. It is killing this country. The level of theft has reached the point where the state is failing. I’m a pretty conservative guy but if I could vote in this election, I’d take the chance on AMLO.

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