Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

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Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador is the president of Mexico.

Leftist

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, began his political career with the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which had been at the heart of Mexico’s authoritarian system since 1929.

“At the time, there was no other option for an aspiring politician,” said José Agustín Ortiz Pinchetti, a former top aide to López Obrador who wrote a recent biography of him.

Even during his PRI days, López Obrador saw himself as an activist, representing the state of Tabasco in negotiations with Pemex, trying to convince oil workers that they should demand better wages and benefits. He named his son Jesús Ernesto after Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the Marxist guerrilla who fought with Fidel Castro in Cuba. When a nonprofit group invited him to visit the United States, his only demand was that he get to tour a Native American reservation.

“For us, he was an inspiration, proof that we should fight for our rights,” said Raúl Drouaillet Patiño, a former oil worker in Tabasco, who met López Obrador during protests against Pemex.

But the PRI grew frustrated with López Obrador, considering him “a communist with Cuban instincts...”

In 1988, López Obrador left the PRI, joining a leftist opposition party, the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). Although he ran and lost twice for governor of Tabasco — results that he said were fraudulent — López Obrador remained an icon of the opposition and rose to become the national leader of the PRD. He assailed the corruption he saw across the ruling party.

In 1991, he led protesters on a six-week march from Tabasco to Mexico City, demanding free and fair elections. In 1995, López Obrador demanded that people in Tabasco stop paying their electricity bills in response to what he deemed excessive utility costs — sparking a movement that continues today. In 1996, he organized blockades of oil facilities to demand compensation for fishermen and farmers affected by the industry’s unmitigated pollution. At one Pemex protest, López Obrador was hit in the face with a rock thrown by a police officer, blood spilling all over his clothes.

“He went to clean up, and he was back on the front lines within hours,” said Drouaillet Patiño.

By the late 1990s, his activism helped him build a public profile that expanded beyond Tabasco. Even though López Obrador had no governing experience, he was elected mayor of Mexico City in 2000, the year the PRI finally lost the presidency. The mayor’s job was a position that gave him considerable influence and allowed him to show his pragmatic streak.

López Obrador inherited a city with surging crime. He hired former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani as a consultant, paying him $4.3 million to help solve the problem, which remained serious during his five-year term.

But that didn’t damage his popularity, which remained over 70 percent for much of his time in office. He launched several well-received social programs, providing pensions and subsidies to single mothers, disabled people and the elderly. He helped establish a retirement home for aging prostitutes; it was named after Xochiquetzal, an Aztec goddess. And he maintained an image of personal frugality, driving to work in an old Nissan every morning at 6.

In 2006, he ran for president. His opponent, Felipe Calderon, called him a “danger to Mexico.” Calderón’s campaign showed images of López Obrador next to Castro and Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and argued that his populist policies would destroy Mexico’s rising economy.

When he lost the election by half a percentage point, López Obrador alleged fraud and refused to accept the results. He and his supporters held protests in downtown Mexico City, blocking traffic and erecting encampments.

He ran again in 2012, losing by a larger margin to Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI. But since then, as Peña Nieto’s presidency has been buffeted by corruption scandals and a rising homicide rate, López Obrador’s popularity has soared. By this past March, he was leading his competitors in the presidential polls by more than eight points. By late June, he was up by 17 points.

“The best thing that happened to López Obrador is the Peña Nieto administration,” said Carlos Bravo Regidor, an analyst at Mexico’s Center of Economic Investigation and Studies. “AMLO’s stance is the same, but now people are angrier and more eager for change.”[1]

DSA connection

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Democratic Socialists of America National Political Committee Minutes of Meeting of July 21-22, 2018:

National Director’s Report

Maria thanked Annie Shields for getting use of the space and Lisa Flores for handling logistics. She then summarized her written report.
She reported developing outward relationships through Jose La Luz to Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) which we can pursue if the NPC wishes, with Congressman Ro Khanna and the Progressive Caucus, in the future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and with several mainstream progressive groups at a conference on planning responses in case of a national security crisis.

Page 2:

R.L. Stephens moved that DSA should send a letter of congratulations to AMLO. After a second and some discussion raising concerns about some of his policies, the NPC voted 11 in favor and 3 against to write the letter. R.L and Ella Mahony will draft it.[2]

Sao Paolo Forum connection

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador sent a message to the participants of the Sao Paulo Forum, in which he emphasizes that the National Regeneration Movement has as its first task to defeat the political oligarchy of Mexico to advance, by peaceful means, in the 2012 elections .

Through a letter that was delivered by members of the leadership of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) participating in the 17th Meeting of the Forum of Sao Paulo, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador sent a message, underlining that the National Regeneration Movement has as its first task to defeat the "political oligarchy" of Mexico in order to advance, by peaceful means, in the 2012 elections.

López Obrador explains, through this letter, the meaning of the movement he leads, which was born after the fraud in the presidential elections of 2006.

"Being the main theme of this session of the Forum the construction of an alternative project of popular and progressive sectors, we can share that in these difficult times for Mexico, we are building a popular and citizen movement that seeks to carry out the deep transformation of the country and materialize an Alternative Nation Project, "he said.[3]

References