President López Obrador has betrayed his leftist ideals and veered to the right since taking office in late 2018, according to some of the contributors to a new book of essays.
Eighteen essays in the book Balance temprano: Desde la izquierda democrática (Early Assessment: From the Democratic Left), analyze federal government actions (and inaction) across a range of areas.
Among them: the attack on autonomous institutions, the militarization of public life, the absence of a meaningful environmental policy, the abuse of government communication channels, the attacks on the scientific sector, the application of neoliberal policies (despite López Obrador’s frequently-stated opposition to neoliberalism) and the supposed fight against corruption.
One of the authors who asserts that López Obrador has turned to the right since becoming president is Jacqueline Peschard, the former president of the National Anti-Corruption System.
At a virtual press conference, she said that a “very large part of his policies are closer to the right and neoliberalism than to the left,” which he supposedly represents and identifies with.
Without offering concrete examples, Peschard charged that the president’s rhetoric belies his actions.
“There is an enormous gap between his discourse, … in favor of opening space for debate, in favor of democracy, in favor of inclusion” and his actions, she said.
To identify AMLO, as the president is known, as a leftist is to go against common sense, Peschard said.
She also said that the president, through his repeated assertions, appears to have convinced the public that corruption has decreased when in fact studies show that it has not.
Another contributor to the book claimed that López Obrador has shifted to the right in a range of areas.
Mariano Sánchez Talanquer, a politics professor at the Center for Research in Teaching and Economics, a Mexico City University, said at the same press conference that the government austerity drive is one example of the president’s conservatism.
López Obrador has cut funding in a range of areas, slashed officials’ salaries and his response to the coronavirus-induced economic crisis has been widely criticized for its inadequacy.
Sánchez also cited the president’s “quasi-religious moralizing discourse,” attacks against several institutions and a greater dependence on the military – which is carrying out public security tasks and building the new Mexico City airport, among other non-traditional jobs – as examples of his shift to the right.
“He’s betraying a large part of the principles of a democratic leftist,” he said.
The academic also asserted that López Obrador’s opposition to tax reform and failure to strengthen Mexico’s education and health systems are examples of “neoliberalism from the left.”
In addition, Sánchez charged that AMLO displays intolerance on a daily basis – he frequently uses his morning press conferences to attack his critics and opponents – and has an obsession about concentrating political power in the executive, a criticism also made by a group of 10 dissident state governors.
Rolando Cordera Campos, coordinator of the development studies program at the National Autonomous University and another contributor to the book, was critical of López Obrador’s refusal to provide greater economic support to businesses amid the pandemic. Providing additional support would have prevented business closures and avoided the loss of jobs, he said.
Ricardo Becerra, an economist and one of two editors of the collection of essays, said he is not hopeful of a change of course from the president in his final four years in office.
He said the aim of the book is to “contribute to the public debate in Mexico,” not attack AMLO or other government officials.
“The issues and the problems are at the center of the debate, not people,” Becerra said.
Source: Reforma (sp)