Mexico’s AMLO is still overshadowed by cartels
In April of that year, I was eating at a restaurant in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, on the Yucatan Peninsula, when a shooting occurred. While the local media downplayed such incidents to keep tourism numbers high, they are actually quite common, especially in a large drug market like Playa. I was there on a date when men fired numerous pistol shots in an attempted murder just yards from our seat. Everyone jumped on the floor and after a few seconds of reaction time I did too.
Being under fire is not like being in a movie: it’s much more than that stupid and according to and angry. As I watched the innocent Americans and Europeans crouching defenseless on the floor, I realized how easily this brain-dead psychopath could have got in and shot any one of us. A little girl howled with tears and clung to her mother near the bathroom door as the restaurant slowly came back to life and the Mexican police yelled to hunt down the armed men.
A country where only criminals and police – who sometimes overlap with the criminals – have guns is a very dangerous country indeed!
Mao famously said that all political power “comes from the barrel of a weapon,” but Mexico is still going through the formality of democratic elections and recently held on the 6th as “AMLO” – following its promises to crack down on cartels and do business for all to improve.
The election results are not surprising and show that the AMLO populists Morena Party retained power and, as expected, largely proved victorious. Morena Taken about 200 of the 500 most important seats in the House of Commons, and with coalition formation should approach 300. However, these are still among the two-thirds the constitution requires to pass changes and get things done. It is worth noting that the official results will not be certified until the end of August.
Morena has lost significant momentum from its peak several years ago, including its previous majority in the lower house of Congress. Other powerful parties are the National Action Party (PAN), the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), all against AMLO and Morena.
In the Mexican midterm elections, 21,000 municipal and state seats were available in all 32 states, including 500 federal representatives who were elected to the lower house of Congress, where the decisive balance of power is often decided. There was also an extremely high turnout rate, with over half of Mexicans voting and 100,000 Mexican National Guard soldiers dispatched to secure the trial.
AMLO rode to victory Morena to a huge surge of support in 2018 that promised dramatic economic reforms and an end to the rampant corruption that plagued the North American nation. Perhaps one glimpse of how well this is going is that there has been an astonishing 88 murders of political figures in Mexico since September 2020 in the run-up to this year’s midterm elections.
With Vice President Kamala Harris traveling to Guatemala and Mexico to make progress on the border crisis, this is a particularly tense time for US-Mexico relations.
AMLO previously criticized President Joe Biden for supporting organized crime and human trafficking along the border, calling him the “migrant president” and saying that Biden’s earlier words on taking office led many poor Mexicans to believe they were going to the United States come and build a better life.
Pictures of babies being thrown over the border fence by human traffickers caused horror in the United States, as was a video of a young boy being abandoned by “coyotes” in the desert. Migrants are also routinely thrown into the river to drown, forcing U.S. border police to rescue them. Many illegal immigrants are given a tracking number and are required to deposit the money they earn into an account to repay the traffickers once they make money in the states.
Failure to pay cartels and human traffickers can have disastrous consequences. As the excellent Fox Nation reporter Lara Logan warned, cartels and criminal organizations form a “shadow government” in Mexico and if you fail to pay them the money you owe can lead to dire scenarios. The cartels are capable of almost anything, including cutting and eating a rival gang member’s heart on video.
There is really no way to overestimate the terrible evil of the Mexican cartels and human traffickers. These organizations are made up of monstrous drug terrorists who wage war across the country against rival groups and innocent people. These “animals” – as Donald Trump aptly called them – extend their murder, terror and deadly fentanyl tendrils deep into the United States. They have a long reach and maintain their own private militias with foot soldiers, whose mind-numbing brutality makes Al Qaeda look tame by comparison.
COVID-19 has hit Mexico pretty hard, despite AMLO keeping the borders open and helping the country cope with the economic fallout better than some leaders of other nations. With popularity still at 60 percent, he is well on the way to moving his agenda further. AMLO approaches populism from the left and has criticized the excesses of global capitalism, criticized the “injustice and privileges” of the small Mexican upper class and promised reforms that will bring more prosperity to the working class.
Mexico is the United States’ main trading partner and the AMLO leadership has some concerns that it would like to return to a kind of populist strongman rule that prevails and in countries like Brazil with right-wing populist President Jair Bolsonaro and under the rule of the Salvadoran populist left the authoritarian cryptocurrency enthusiast Nayib Bukele.
I am now in San Cristobal, in the southern state of Chiapas, and did a bit of browsing to find out the local atmosphere. Not everyone in Mexico loves AMLO. A young man named Angell Guillén here in San Cristobal tells me that he is concerned that AMLO will put the country on a path similar to that of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, fooling around with the energy sector and trying to get a stranglehold on it to take and divert its profits to its inner circle under the guise of limiting free market excess and the distribution of wealth. In contrast, an AMLO supporter tells me that the popular leader has got rid of corruption and is an excellent leader who has the best interests of the country in mind.
It is fair to say that alarmists on both sides tend to exaggerate the disadvantages and advantages of AMLO. He hasn’t really thwarted crime and cartels, and he hasn’t turned the economy upside down as promised, but neither is AMLO some sort of Mexican Stalin as some seem to believe. He has put some limits on the country’s insane bureaucracy and strengthened the military, but he is a far cry from the revolutionary his followers seem to be hoping for.
AMLO’s cover for Mexican General Salvador Cienfuegos following the arrest of the former Mexican Secretary of State for drug trafficking to the US in late 2021 and the undermining of diplomatic immunity and evidences of DEA agents in Mexico also point to facts undermining his alleged crusade against the cartels. Ironically, Cienfuegos has been the focus of Mexican anti-drug military operations, which should tell you something about how much the country often resembles the 2001 movie Training day.
In fact, AMLO has constantly interfered in American efforts to crack down on Mexican cartels. He did nothing when these terrorists murdered a family of American Latter-day Saints in northern Mexico in November 2019 – well, to be fair, AMLO called the horrific murders “unfortunate.” Nonetheless, AMLO has managed to maintain an image as an everyone who relates to the ordinary workers and is known for his factual way of speaking and the wave of populist energy he created with his founding. created Morena in 2014.
The unvarnished truth is that Mexico remains a highly unstable and dangerous country. The recent elections will not change that, and that will not change if the Democratic Party flatters itself.
Paul Brian is a freelance journalist. He chose that. reported BBC, Reuters, and Foreign policy, and helped that week, the federalist and others. You can follow him on Twitter @paulrbrian or visit his website www.paulrbrian.com.
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