Presidential candidate Xóchitl Gálvez met with Mexican migrants and the editorial boards of two major newspapers in New York City on Thursday as she commenced a six-day visit to the United States four months ahead of the June 2 elections.
During a busy day in the Big Apple, the candidate for the Strength and Heart for Mexico opposition alliance also posted a video to social media in which she declared that the allegations that organized crime provided funding for President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s unsuccessful 2006 presidential campaign are “extremely serious.”
Gálvez — who trails the ruling Morena party candidate Claudia Sheinbaum by 16 points, according to the results of a recent poll — is in the U.S. to discuss migration, organized crime and economic matters with lawmakers, business leaders, the media, migrant advocates and migrants, among others.
One of her companions on her trip to New York and Washington, D.C. is Ildefonso Guajardo, a federal deputy who served as economy minister in the 2012-18 government led by former president Enrique Peña Nieto.
Gálvez meets with migrants at New York’s largest market
The candidate for the PAN-PRI-PRD opposition alliance visited the Hunts Point Cooperative Market in the Bronx, the world’s largest food distribution center.
“Thousands of people work here, including many Mexicans,” Gálvez said in a video posted to social media.
She said the workers she spoke with are very concerned about insecurity in Mexico.
“Those from Puebla, those from Guerrero, tell me they’d love to return to the country,” Gálvez said.
“They send thousands of dollars to their families and I believe it’s important that we work hard as well,” she said.
“This is the 33rd state [of Mexico] and from here I send my regards to all the Mexicans who live in the United States,” Gálvez added.
In another post on the X social media platform, she wrote: “Be certain that I will always walk hand in hand and listen to our beloved migrant brothers and sisters.”
According to the National Electoral Institute, 1.44 million Mexican residents of the United States have a Mexican voter ID card. They will be able to vote electronically in the June 2 elections, but are required to register their intention to do so by February 20.
The NYT and WSJ open their doors to the presidential hopeful
Gálvez, a former senator whose profile has grown exponentially since she announced her intention to seek the presidency in the middle of last year, met with the editorial boards of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.
She didn’t comment on those meetings, but posted a photo that showed her arriving at the New York Times Building on a shared bicycle.
The Times described Gálvez as “an outspoken engineer with Indigenous roots who rose from poverty to become a tech entrepreneur” in an article last September.
She is scheduled to meet with the editorial board of The Washington Post early next week.
The editorial boards of the NYT, WSJ and WaPo will no doubt offer their views on the candidate in the near future.
The day after López Obrador’s 2018 victory, the Times’ editorial board said: “Why he won is not the mystery. Killings are at record levels, corruption scandals are ceaseless and nearly half the population lives in poverty.”
Poverty has declined during López Obrador’s presidency, and his government has certainly had fewer corruption scandals than that of his predecessor.
However, his six-year term will go down as the most violent on record in terms of homicides, ensuring that public security will be a hot topic during the 2024 presidential campaign period, which officially starts March 1.
Among the remarks Gálvez made in an interview with Univisión New York on Thursday was “we need to return security to [Mexican] highways,” on which insecurity is “rampant,” according to the Confederation of Industrial Chambers.
A Strength and Heart for Mexico document obtained by the El Universal newspaper last month indicated that a Gálvez-led government would seek to put an end to the military’s involvement in public security.
“An affront to 130 million Mexicans”
Two days after three media outlets published reports that said that people working for López Obrador’s 2006 presidential campaign received between US $2 million and $4 million from drug traffickers, Gálvez asserted in a post to X that it is an “embarrassment for our country” that the nation’s leader is being called a “#NarcoPresidente.”
“Mr. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, it is extremely serious that they’re linking your political career to funding from organized crime,” she said in a video included in the post.
“This report in the international press is not just an affront to you, but also an affront to 130 million Mexicans,” Gálvez said.
“… It’s painful that it’s said in the world that Mexico has a narco-president.”
Gálvez said that López Obrador — who refuted the reports as “completely false” — has a “moral and political obligation” to defend his “personal honor and the honor of Mexico.”
“Your statements and denials in the morning press conference are not enough. Yesterday I asked you and today I insist: file a defamation complaint in United States courts. Your government has successfully sued gun manufacturers in this country. Go to the same team of lawyers to file a complaint. Clean your name and clean the name of Mexico. The respect and honor of the country is at stake,” she said.
Gálvez to discuss border security and fentanyl with U.S. lawmakers
Among the candidate’s engagements in Washington will be meetings with U.S. congressional committees, including the United States House Committee on Homeland Security.
Gálvez said her discussions with lawmakers will focus on border security and the fight against fentanyl, key challenges in the bilateral relationship.
She is also scheduled to meet with U.S. government officials and Luis Almagro, secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS). In her meeting with Almagro, Gálvez is set to stress the importance of having international observers at the June 2 elections, which will be the largest in Mexican history.
Sheinbaum visited Los Angeles in late 2023, where she met with union leaders, migrants and Mayor Karen Bass.
According to Gálvez, her main rival for the presidency has rejected invitations to meet with United States lawmakers, but Sheinbaum’s team told the Animal Político news website that is not the case.