Mexican leftist casts shadow over Mexican banking convention

3/25/2017 Reuters

Andres_manuel_lopez_obrador_oct05Mexican financiers and politicians blasted populism at a top banking conference this week in a thinly veiled attack on the frontrunner for the 2018 presidential election – but some worry they overdid it and may have played right into his hands.

The chosen theme of the annual meeting at the beach resort of Acapulco was “liberalism versus populism,” with President Enrique Pena Nieto, senior ministers, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and ex-Secretary of State Colin Powell among the grandees squarely lined up on one side.

Without a voice but very much on the lips of the Mexicans was Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a leftist former Mexico City mayor and twice presidential runner-up whose relentless campaigning has put him in contention to go one better in 2018.

Lopez Obrador’s broadsides against corruption and inequality sting a Mexican political establishment tainted by allegations of graft, even as U.S. President Donald Trump’s populist jabs at Mexico have generated some sympathy for Pena Nieto at home.

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