The coronavirus pandemic, the associated economic crisis and media attacks on the government were cited by President López Obrador on Monday as three “obstacles” he has faced since taking office two years ago.
Speaking on the eve of the second anniversary of being sworn in as Mexico’s 65th president, López Obrador said “the most difficult” problem he has encountered has been the pandemic, which as of Monday had officially claimed 105,940 lives.
“[It has been] very painful, it hurts a lot. That’s what has affected us the most,” he said.
The president and his government have been widely criticized for not enforcing a strict lockdown, not advocating more forcefully for face masks and not testing widely for Covid-19. But López Obrador has continually defended the response to the pandemic, saying recently that his administration has implemented a “very good strategy.”
He said Monday that the government has also responded well to the coronavirus-induced economic crisis even though GDP is forecast to slump almost 10% in 2020.
“It was enough to not follow the neoliberal formula of bailing out those on top,” Lopez Obrador said. “We started by rescuing the people, helping those at the bottom and we’re coming out [of the crisis].”
Countering that claim is data from the social development agency Coneval that shows that poverty has increased to record levels this year due to the economic impact of the pandemic.
The president said that attacks by the media and the “conservative reaction” to his government were a distant third and “marginal” obstacle he has faced over the past two years.
“It has not been very significant,” López Obrador said, apparently forgetting about the countless hours he has spent denouncing reports by what he calls the prensa fifi (elitist press) and attacking government critics at the lengthy morning press conferences he fronts every weekday.
He downplayed the impact of the protest camp set up in Mexico City’s central square in September by an organization known as the National Anti-AMLO Front, saying that the number of protesters had dwindled to 50 from a high of just 200.
He said previously that he was happy people were protesting against him because it meant his government was changing Mexico for the better.
López Obrador, whose administration is dubbed the fourth transformation or 4T because it claims to be implementing a radical change comparable to those brought about by independence from Spain, the Mexican revolution and a 19th century liberal reform, will deliver a speech Tuesday afternoon to mark the second anniversary of his rule.
Two recent polls show that he retains strong support two years after taking office following his landslide victory at the 2018 election. A poll commissioned by the newspaper El Universal found that López Obrador has an approval rating of 64% while another for El Economista found 58.4% support.
Source: El Universal (sp)