Saturday, June 15, 2024

Protesters in four states greet AMLO on his latest tour

President López Obrador was greeted by protesters in four states this week as he toured the country even as the coronavirus pandemic continued to rage.

The president, best known as AMLO, faced protests as he attended official events, toured security facilities and held press conferences in Veracruz, Puebla, Hidalgo and Morelos.

On Monday, López Obrador was confronted by protesters as he left a military base in Emiliano Zapata, Veraruz, where he met with his cabinet and held his morning news conference.

Indignant over the disappearance of family members and the lack of action by authorities to find them, demonstrators shouted angrily at the president.

“You attend to Chapo’s mom, you asshole, but not us,” yelled one woman, referring to AMLO shaking the hand of the elderly mother of convicted drug trafficker Joaquín Guzmán in Sinaloa earlier this year and telling her that he had received her letter.

While López Obrador chose to ignore his own government’s social distancing advice by greeting El Chapo’s mother in late March, he said Tuesday that the pandemic prevented him from speaking with the protesters in Veracruz.

Protesters were back on Wednesday as López Obrador toured the state of Puebla. Members of the Movimiento Antorchista, a political organization dedicated to the eradication of poverty, protested outside a military school AMLO visited, and in Puebla city and the nearby town of Cholula.

They demanded more support from the government amid the coronavirus pandemic, including basic food baskets for struggling families.

On Thursday, the president faced another protest as he visited the Hidalgo government’s high-tech security bunker near the state capital Pachuca.

At least 100 people, including students, teachers, farmers and the relatives of missing persons, protested against the president and his government for a range of reasons, while a smaller group of supporters also gathered outside the security command center.

When López Obrador exited the facility, protesters and supporters alike crowded around the slowly-moving vehicle in which he was traveling in order to show their disdain or approval.

López Obrador said the protests have a political tint.
López Obrador said the protests have a political tint.

One man whose 20-year-old son disappeared in Pachuca in 2019 shouted, “I want my son,” Reforma reported, while an elderly señor with a crutch fell to the ground as he tried to catch up to López Obrador’s vehicle to ask to be included in the government’s pension program for the disabled.

Anti-AMLO protesters were again out in force on Friday morning in Cuernavaca, Morelos, where the president held his news conference at another military base.

Supporters of a group known as the National Anti-AMLO Front parked their cars outside the facility and honked their horns in protest. According to a report by the newspaper El Universal, the demonstrators declared that López Obrador was not welcome in Morelos and accused him and his government of mismanaging the coronavirus crisis and causing thousands of deaths as a result.

The protesters also engaged in angry verbal exchanges with a small group of AMLOvers, as passionate supporters of the president are sometimes called, the latter accusing the former of being elitists, conservatives and people who want corruption to go unchecked in Mexico.

The president’s supporters also claimed that the National Anti-AMLO Front is funded by the people who have done the most damage to Mexico, namely – in their opinion – members of past governments and opposition parties.

López Obrador himself accused the National Action Party (PAN), currently the main opposition force, of being behind the protests he has faced this week.

Speaking at the Cuernavaca military base on Friday morning, the president said he wasn’t surprised that protests had been organized against him, saying they were to be expected because his government is implementing sweeping changes.

“I come from the opposition, I fought for years to change the regime of injustices, oppression and privileges and that’s what we’re doing now. It’s normal that there are protests, … even more so now that the [2021 midterm] elections are coming,” López Obrador said.

The majority of the protesters are PAN members and they’ve decided to protest as a campaign strategy, he said while defending their right to demonstrate. Protesting is legitimate and part of democracy, he said.

López Obrador said that he plans to continue touring the country even as Mexico’ Covid-19 death toll continues to mount, explaining that he’ll travel overland in lieu of flying on government planes or helicopters.

The president hasn’t traveled abroad since taking office in December 2018 but has crisscrossed Mexico tirelessly in the first 1 1/2 years of his presidency, taking commercial flights as the government attempted to offload his predecessor’s luxurious plane.

But his peripatetic lifestyle was put on temporary hold due to the pandemic until the start of this month when he embarked on a road trip to the Yucatán Peninsula to inaugurate construction of the Maya Train railroad.

Protesters have also confronted López Obrador over the US $8-billion railroad, arguing that it will destroy the environment and not benefit local residents as the president claims.

Source: Reforma (sp), El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp) 

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