Thursday, June 13, 2024

Migrants, energy reform and COVID: the week at the morning press conferences

In 2018, Andrés Manuel López Obrador won the presidency after three tries. His first run was in 2006, when he lost by a sliver to Felipe Calderón of the National Action Party. Calderón had 35.89% of the vote to AMLO’s 35.31%.

AMLO cried foul and demanded a full recount, which he wasn’t granted. On November 20, 2006, the date when the Revolution is commemorated, supporters proclaimed him the legitimate president at a rally in Mexico City’s zócalo.

Since taking office in 2018, Andrés Manuel has derided the National Electoral Institute, and called for its dissolution. However, there are no grudges he often assures through one of his stock phrases: “Revenge isn’t my strength.”


The budget was approved on Sunday, bringing a smile to the Tabascan, and he thanked legislators for their work, save for those who voted against it.

Those battle lines were dug deeper on the subject of the energy reform: “If [opposition parliamentarians] do not approve the electricity reform, they will end up showing that they do not represent the people … it is not a matter of give and take. Principles and dignity are priceless, and cannot be negotiated,” he affirmed.

Attention turned to migration later in the conference, courtesy of the BBC’s Will Grant, who asked why the budget of the refugee agency COMAR hadn’t been bumped despite an unprecedented rise in asylum claims.

Well, we help the migrants, we respect them, protect them, take care of them, their rights are not violated,” the president responded. 

Tula, Hidalgo, returned to haunt the leader: a journalist suggested that the flooding in September, which killed 16 hospital patients, was not due to excess rainfall. “There are officials with first and last names responsible for this tragedy,” he said.

Did AMLO accept partial responsibility?

“No, no, no. Well, yes, yes, yes, of course, I’m responsible, even though I’m not culpable,” he clarified.

President López Obrador was pleased to see the budget approved on Sunday.
President López Obrador was pleased to see the budget approved on Sunday.


A series of numbers defined Tuesday’s conference: 16, 84%, 15-17, 38 million and 100.

COVID czar and Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell confirmed the third wave was still going in the right direction: it had been on a downward trend for 16 weeks, while 84% of the population was fully vaccinated.

López-Gatell dealt out another set of numbers: 15-17. With it, he revealed a shift in government policy: all youths aged 15 -17 were to be offered vaccines.

He left the big figures to the boss: 38 million, the president said, was the total of Mexican immigrants living in the United States. He previously called the expatriates “heroes” for their remittance payments, which could reach US $50 billion this year. “Just to give you an idea, the second largest Hispanic community is that of Puerto Rico, and there are five million, and the third … is the Cuban community, four million,” he added.

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard offered a rounded number late in the conference: 100, he said, was the number of countries that had committed to or expressed interest in the president’s $1 trillion plan for the world’s poorest, proposed at the UN Security Council meeting in New York on November 9.


The Caribbean sun accompanied Wednesday’s conference in Cancún, Quintana Roo. Governor Carlos Joaquín González said tourism was back in good health, and expressed excitement about the Maya Train which he said would “unite the Maya region.”

While tourism was up, so was violence: Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval announced a new branch of the National Guard to patrol tourist hotspots.

Chief fake news debunker Ana García Vilchis addressed the president’s trip to New York for the UN meeting. Contrary to media reports, the gucci jacket-wearing passenger on the return flight who spoke to the president was not his son, Mexican migrants in New York cheering the president were not paid $100 each, the health budget hadn’t been cut and the energy reform would not create unclean emissions, she confirmed.

AMLO skipped his morning press conference on Thursday for the USMCA leaders' meeting.
AMLO skipped his morning press conference on Thursday and Friday for the North American leaders’ meeting.


Mexico bore breakfast without AMLO on Thursday: he was in Washington, D.C., at a conference with U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

López Obrador focused on North America’s shared economic interest, and economic fear: China. “Economic integration … is the best instrument to face the competition from the growth of other regions of the world, in particular, the productive and commercial expansion of China … If the trend of the last decade continues, in 30 years, by 2051, China will have control of 42% of the world market and we, the United States, Mexico and Canada, will have 12%.”

Liberalizing immigration policies, he added, was one way to promote economic growth. “Myths and prejudices must be put to one side. For example, stop rejecting migrants, [because] to grow you need a workforce that, in reality, is not sufficiently available in the United States or Canada. Why not study the demand for labor and open the migratory flow in an orderly fashion?”


Patience was required of AMLO-ites on Friday, as the morning conference took another day off.

So for the fervently patriotic, or just the intellectually curious, here is Mexico’s rather bloodthirsty, war-like national anthem:

Mexicans, at the cry of battle
lend your swords and bridle;
and let the earth tremble at its center
upon the roar of the cannon.

“Your forehead shall be girded, oh fatherland, with olive garlands
by the divine archangel of peace,
For in heaven your eternal destiny
has been written by the finger of God.

“But should a foreign enemy,
Profane your land with his sole,
Think, beloved fatherland, that heaven
gave you a soldier in each son.

“War, war without truce against who would attempt
to blemish the honor of the fatherland!
War, war! The patriotic banners
saturate in waves of blood.

War, war! On the mount, in the vale
The terrifying cannon thunder
and the echoes nobly resound
to the cries of union! liberty!

Fatherland, before your children become unarmed
Beneath the yoke their necks in sway,
May your countryside be watered with blood,
On blood their feet trample.

“And may your temples, palaces and towers
crumble in horrid crash,
and their ruins exist saying:
The fatherland was made of one thousand heroes here.

“Fatherland, fatherland, your children swear
to exhale their breath in your cause,
If the bugle in its belligerent tone
should call upon them to struggle with bravery.

“For you the olive garlands!
For them a memory of glory!
For you a laurel of victory!
For them a tomb of honor!”

Mexico News Daily

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