Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Newspaper owes Mexico an apology, AMLO says in reply to critical editorial

The Financial Times owes the people of Mexico an apology, President López Obrador said a day after the newspaper published an editorial that was critical of his government’s economic direction.

“That newspaper, with all respect, must offer an apology to the people of Mexico because it remained silent while corruption was imposed on Mexico, it never said anything,” López Obrador said.

“On the contrary, it applauded the carrying out of the structural reforms and I’m waiting for them to offer an apology. They might be very famous but they’re not objective, they’re not professionals,” he added.

The British newspaper published an editorial Wednesday under the headline “López Obrador needs to accept economic reality.”

The editorial board said the sudden resignation on Tuesday of Carlos Urzúa – “the respected finance minister and the strongest voice of fiscal prudence inside the administration” – suggested that investors’ hopes before López Obrador took office that he would “tone down his rhetoric” as president were “misplaced.”

The Times charged that “the finance minister’s departure could hardly have come at a worse time,” citing an investment slowdown and United States President Donald Trump’s threats of a trade war to pressure Mexico to do more to curb migration.

Urzúa was highly critical of the government in his resignation letter, charging that public policy decisions were made “without sufficient foundation” and that officials with “no knowledge of public finances” were appointed to his department by “influential people” in the López Obrador administration “with a clear conflict of interest.”

The president frequently rails against the “neoliberal” economic policies implemented by successive governments during the past 36 years but the Times said that “the free trade direction brought Mexico greater prosperity, the NAFTA free trade deal, OECD membership and a reputation for prudent economic management.”

“Mr. López Obrador is proclaiming an end to this era. It is far from clear he can replace it with something better,” the editorial said.

The Times noted that the decision to cancel the partially-built new airport for Mexico City “on largely political grounds” upset investors, and was critical of the president’s insistence that Pemex build a new US $8-billion refinery “which makes little business sense.”

López Obrador must show that he will listen to the advice of new Finance Secretary Arturo Herrera and “give him room to reestablish credibility with markets,” the Times asserted, adding that the president “should also accept unpalatable news, not continue to rely on his own (different) data.”

The editorial said that “markets will be unforgiving” if the new Pemex business plan and the draft of the 2020 budget “signal further deviations from economic reality,” concluding that “the Mexican president can still turn around investor perceptions but time is running short.”

Source: El Financiero (sp) 

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