President López Obrador on Monday defended his government’s policy of paying retirement pensions to indigenous people at a younger age than the rest of the population.
He described claims that he is racist because of the policy as “shameful.”
Speaking at his morning press conference, López Obrador addressed the use of the hashtag #LopezRacista on social media in response to his government’s preferential policy.
“It’s shameful that special treatment isn’t accepted for the poorest people, for indigenous people, and they think that it’s racism, it’s truly surprising,” he said.
“In the case of indigenous people, the senior citizens’ pension is granted at the age of 65 and to non-indigenous people at 68 because, due to their situation of poverty and marginalization, indigenous people age quickly . . . they suffer a lot,” the president said.
“I would like those who question this decision to visit indigenous communities and compare [the difference in the aging process] themselves. It’s a painful matter that a 65-year-old senior citizen who lives in the city is better off than a 65-year-old indigenous person. How could we not give them special attention?” López Obrador added.
“If that bothers them, if giving preferential treatment to indigenous people is being racist, then put me on the list.”
The president said the right of all senior citizens to receive a pension – and the age at which they will receive it – will be enshrined in the constitution during his six-year term in office.
“. . . It’s a universal right . . . the pension is for the rich and the poor because in the end it’s a reward for those who worked for a long time and at the end of their life they deserve . . . recognition because they contributed to the development of the nation,” López Obrador said.
The president said his government still has the support of the majority of voters and is only opposed by a small, but vocal, minority.
“They’re getting more and more worked-up and descending into the ridiculous. It’s like they’re deranged,” López Obrador said.
He added that his opponents will have the opportunity to vote him out of office just three years into his six-year term.
“I tell them to calm down . . . and get organized. The consultation for the revocation of mandate will soon come and people will decide if they want the regime of shame, of corruption, of injustice, to return so that indigenous people are not given preference or [even] taken into account . . .”
Source: Publimetro (sp)