Shortly after Andrés Manuel López Obrador concluded his daily morning message, another almost as powerful was directed against him on social networks. British magazine The Economist It showed a preview of its next issue, which goes on sale this Friday, in which in a long editorial it harshly criticizes the government of the president. The illustration on the Latin American cover alone describes what the article later reveals: the imposing face of the president, on a body of military personnel, the logo of the state oil company Pemex and a finger pointing directly at him: he is portrayed as a leader authoritarian, a “false messiah”, which reads the headline. In the first paragraph he warns: “It is a danger to democracy.” And he asks Mexicans not to vote for his party, Morena, in the next elections on June 6. Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard has responded with a statement in which he declares himself surprised by “the virulence and argumentative weakness” of the publication.
The article mentions López Obrador’s ability to distance himself from criticism of other populist and authoritarian leaders in the world. He gives as examples Viktor Orbán, from Hungary, Narendra Modi, from India, and Jair Bolsonaro, from Brazil. But they emphasize that he, unlike them, “does not make fun of homosexuals, does not beat Muslims or incite his supporters to set the Amazon on fire.” “He often speaks in the voice of the poor of Mexico and is not corrupt,” says the text. Although he directly accuses him of polarizing Mexican society: “He divides Mexicans into two groups: the people, which refers to those who support him; and the elite, whom he denounces, often by name, as criminals and traitors whom he blames for all the problems in Mexico. “
The editorial of The Economist it goes a step beyond criticizing the president: he asks not to vote for his party in the next elections on June 6. “The president’s disregard for democratic rules is one of the reasons the June 6 elections are important. It is not on the ballot; His only six-year term expires in 2024. But the national legislature is at stake, as are 15 of the 32 governorships, most state assemblies and thousands of local seats. Voters have the opportunity to stop their president by rejecting his party, Morena, ”the article reads. “The more levers he controls, the further López Obrador can follow his plan to transform Mexico,” he warns, although he acknowledges that his popularity is around 61%, one of the highest for a president in the world.
The blows to the Government range from the reform of the Hydrocarbons Law – “prohibiting investment and forcing the network to buy energy from state sources first, no matter how expensive and polluting they are” -, their attacks on the National Electoral Institute, to the omnimous control of the Army to build the Mayan Train, manage ports and fight crime: “In other countries, inviting the military to handle huge sums of public money with little supervision has been catastrophic, as any Egyptian or Pakistani could warn you. But López Obrador is known for not listening to advice ”, adds the magazine. He also criticizes its slow response to the coronavirus crisis, placing Mexico as one of the countries with the highest number of deaths in the world and warns of the caution of investors in the face of “presidential whims.”
And he concludes with a controversial appeal to the polls: “The next three years will determine the depth and duration of the damage it does to Mexico and its democracy. He is prohibited from seeking reelection, but is illegally trying to extend the term of a loyal Supreme Court justice. Critics fear that he wants to set a precedent for himself. Mexico’s institutions are strong, but they can give in to the sustained assault of an extremist with popular support. The country escaped the de facto one-party government [el PRI] in 2000. Given the risk, June 6 voters must support the opposition party best placed to win, wherever they live. The opposition parties should work together to stop the president. “
The harsh cover of the magazine and the more than 1,000 words calling for Morena to oppose it in the middle of the final stretch of the campaign have irritated the government and the president’s followers. Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard has accused ‘The Economist’ of not understanding the Administration’s priorities and has vindicated the results of some of its policies. “The failure of the elites to understand López Obrador today seems to repeat itself on its pages. These paint a bleak outlook for the country, but lose sight of the fact that although the Mexican economy, like that of the rest of the countries, suffered the ravages of the pandemic, it will grow around 6% this year, without having contracted debt. , maintaining healthy finances and with historical numbers of Direct Foreign Investment “, reads the statement. “Today’s cover is the synthesis of exasperation. It is known that the results of the election, as happened in 2018, will not coincide with what you want ”.
The head of the Digital Agency for Public Innovation in the capital and part of the head of Government’s team, Claudia Sheinbaum (from the same party as the president and a possible presidential candidate for 2024), has come out to remove López Obrador: “There is no a line of this editorial that is not rebuttable. The Economist it has always been a peculiar mix of analysis and elitism. And the popular will has always been a threat to “democracy” that excludes many and serves the economic interests of the few, “he denounced on his Twitter account.
The political war that has started The Economist In the networks, he has delved further into the deep polarization that has divided the country since the president’s inauguration. His enemies have taken advantage of the editorial paragraphs to support what they have denounced for years and that now legitimizes, according to them, the foreign publication. The followers of López Obrador remain firm in the discourse of foreign interference and nationalism.
Many of the president’s supporters have highlighted how in 2012, with the inauguration of Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI), his front page and editorial pointed to the “take off of Mexico”. A promised promotion that broke before the end of his government, with some of his high-ranking officials being investigated these days for corruption. This is how the president of the Public Broadcasting System, Jenaro Villamil, reacted: “A conservative weekly with a conservative vision is congruent with those who are furious because the great“ development ”of Mexico (promotional of The Economist in the Peñista era) he ended up in the mud of corruption ”, referring to the article from that year compared to this Friday.
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