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Post AMLO the Enigma; from Gary Moore
Created by John Eipper on 07/06/18 4:00 AM

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AMLO the Enigma; from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA, 07/06/18 4:00 am)

Gary Moore writes:

JE asked what we know about the negotiating style of AMLO (the acronym for the explosively different new president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador)--which in essence is to ask the key question: What's really in AMLO's mind?

Good luck with that. It's like asking: "Isn't that really just somebody's old oil painting, that image supposedly imprinted by miracle onto a 16th-century peon's cloak, to form Mexico's most loved icon, the Virgin of Guadalupe?"

In an eerie irony, two explosively different presidents converge--so outside the norm that, despite all the morbid predictions, no one can really guess their effect in advance, but only as the passage of time shows their real record. With the passage of time, Trump has still presided over a more stable America, with fewer foreign interventions, and more effective, smaller ones, than the previous administration of promised ideals (though admittedly, Obama was handicapped by an Augean stable of Bush mistakes to try and clean up). This in no way implies that the outcomes of AMLO and Trump will be similar--except in the impotence of punditry to predict where they will lead.

It had come to be the turn of the left, AMLO's turn, to try and sort out Mexico's Labyrinth of Solitude, though the attempted reformers on the right, thrust into power from 2000 to 2018, may have been the more honest contenders, repeatedly undone by the Labyrinth's sheer size.

And hence the inevitability of Something Different, a man who already before office was an acronym.

So: What's really inscribed on that peasant's cloak enfolded in the Temple of Tepeyac?  Squint hard, ye pundits, and earn your bread.

JE comments:  Back at WAIS '13 in Adrian, we attempted to answer the question of how to define our age:  What is Now?  We were premature, as "our age" only emerged in 2016, with Brexit and the rise of Trump.  It's Something Different.  The big question for Mexico: will AMLO continue more or less in the tradition of Latin American Populism (think Perón or for Mexico, Lázaro Cárdenas), or is he a different kind of Something Different?

WWAMLOD (what will AMLO do)?

David Duggan speaks at WAIS `13, Adrian: What (is) Now?

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  • Thoughts on AMLO, Mexico's President-Elect (Tor Guimaraes, USA 07/08/18 5:16 AM)
    Once upon a time in Brazil, there was a man capable of organizing labor, so many left-wing thinkers and agitators believed he could lead them to greener pastures. That was very important, given that the Brazilian people were going backwards as far as the important things go: their standard of living, quality of education, health care, government corruption, etc. Very similar to what has been going on in our beloved USA.

    I lost touch with that man when I got very busy trying to get ahead in America, my adopted country. Decades later the man was elected President of Brazil, much to my surprise. He became a new man, just like the leaders he used to fight when he was a labor leader. For him to be allowed to become President he had to follow some rules set up by the real power brokers and political establishment.

    I know nothing about new president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, but my intuition tells me that we probably have a similar case. Thus, we should expect similar results, and just hope that my intuition is wrong for a change.

    JE comments:  Tor, do you mean Lula?  One of the recurring themes of Latin American politics is the "reformer" who pledges to eliminate corruption.  Once in power, s/he (and cronies) cannot keep their hands out of the deep cookie jar of graft.  This gives rise to a new reformer, rinse, and repeat.

    Why should AMLO be any different?  In a year or two we'll be able to see if Tor Guimaraes's intuition is correct.

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  • What Will AMLO's Mexico Look Like? (José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela 07/08/18 10:50 AM)
    To have a better political profile of AMLO, Mexico's new president, we should keep in mind that this is the third time he has run for the presidency, the first two in 2006 and 2012. He lost to Felipe Calderón the first time and Peña Nieto after that. This fact must show either is most perseverant he is, or that he has a powerful thirst for power and ambition. Likely both.

    He is a perfect example of a socialist-populist politician, opportunistic and ideologically biased towards radical ideas, a dangerous blend. His political program is based on the following pillars, which by the way look extremely similar to Chávez's 1999 program for Venezuela:

    1. Fight against poverty and inequality.

    2. Fight against corruption and impunity.

    3. Fight against insecurity, drug trafficking, and delinquency.

    4. Oil industry reform. Essentially, to reverse the privatization of the sector.

    5. Education.

    They all seem to be very legitimate aspirations, not different from most of other programs previously announced by other failed political leaders in the past and presently all over our continent. It remains to be seen if he is able to, at least, achieve partial success, without turning the country into chaos and ruins.

    JE comments: AMLO has promised to "respect" the previous administration's oil reform (privatization), but it is still early to tell.  There has been no market panic with AMLO's victory.  Hope springs eternal:  Might Latin America finally have found a populist who doesn't also drag his nation to economic ruin?

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