The Riddle of López Obrador

06/17/18 The New York Times

Andres_manuel_lopez_obrador_oct05With Mexico’s presidential election less than a month away, Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s victory seems inevitable. People are not arguing about whether he will win, but about the size of his victory.

One reliable poll says he will get 54 percent of the vote in a contest with two other major candidates, and another suggests that his coalition, Juntos Haremos Historia, will sweep the Congress. Such a complete victory would transform Mexico’s political map, not unlike the way Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Carlos Salinas de Gortari of Mexico realigned political alliances and national priorities.

After 18 years of trying, and trying again, Mr. López Obrador, widely known as AMLO, may have a historic opportunity. He has said that his presidency will signal the start of Mexico’s fourth revolution, following independence from Spain in the early 19th century, the liberal reforms later that century, and the Mexican Revolution in the early 20th century.

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Mexico’s could-be president is a lot like Trump. That doesn’t mean they’d get along.

06/17/18 The Washington Post

AMLOMEXICO’S LEADING presidential candidate says he represents “good and honest people” against a “mafia of the powerful.” He says, “Only I can fix corruption.” He disparages the country’s democratic institutions, saying “we live in a fake republic” and alleging, without evidence, a plot to rig the election. He promises to undo the landmark achievements of his predecessor and build up Mexican industries at the expense of trade. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in short, bears more than a passing political resemblance to President Trump — which doesn’t mean the two are likely to get along.

If Mr. López Obrador wins the July 1 vote, bilateral relations already poisoned by Mr. Trump are likely to become still more toxic. Like his two main opponents in the presidential race, the populist front- ­runner has condemned the U.S. president — once calling his rhetoric racist and “neo-fascist” — and vowed to reject his demand that Mexico pay for a border wall. Mr. López Obrador says he favors a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement with higher wages for Mexican workers, but many of his policies aim at curtailing trade with the United States, particularly in energy and agricultural products. He says he would reassess one landmark reform, the opening of Mexico’s oil industry to foreign investment, and cancel another, an education revamp that broke the power of corrupt teachers’ unions.

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Another political murder rocks Mexico in last weeks of presidential race

06/15/2018 Reuters

gun - crime sceneGunmen shot and killed a mayor running for re-election in Mexico on Thursday, the second murder of a politician in a week after a candidate running for federal office was shot in the back of the head while taking a selfie with a supporter.

At least 113 politicians have been killed in the bloodiest election campaign in Mexico’s modern history, and the violence appears to be intensifying in the final weeks before the July 1 nationwide election.

Political assassinations have rocked the electoral season leading up to July 1, when voters will decide over 3,000 down-ballot seats and elect a new president.

Widespread disenchantment with the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) over record levels of violence, political corruption and sluggish economic growth has helped propel leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to lead voter preferences for the presidency.

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‘Ruthless’ Mexican Candidate Goes Far. But Maybe Only So Far.

06/14/18 The New York Times

anayaIf the candidate was nervous about his chances, few could tell.

Ricardo Anaya was 21 years old and running for elected office for the first time. The prize was a congressional seat in the Mexican state of Querétaro, representing a poor, rural area far from his home in the state capital where he had grown up on a country club. It was enemy territory: His party had never won the seat, and this time would be no different.

But until the final vote tally was announced, the candidate betrayed no sense, beyond his inner circle of confidants, that he might lose.

“He was giving everyone confidence that he could win,” said Jacob Morado García, who was then the local president of Mr. Anaya’s party, the center-right National Action Party, or PAN, in the municipality of Pinal de Amoles. “He did everything possible to win.”

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Cyber attack on Mexico campaign site triggers election nerves

06/14/18 Reuters

security_fingerprintThe website of a Mexican political opposition party was hit by a cyber attack during Tuesday’s final television debate between presidential candidates ahead of the July 1 vote, after the site had published documents critical of the leading candidate.

The National Action Party (PAN) said that its website, targeting front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, likely suffered a distributed denial of service (DDoS) cyber attack with the bulk of traffic to the site nominally coming from Russia and China.

Lopez Obrador’s Morena party said it had nothing to do with the outage. The Chinese and Russian embassies in Mexico did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Reuters could not confirm the PAN’s account of the attack.

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Mexico presidential front-runner denies opponent’s charge of wrongdoing

06/14/18 Reuters

amloThe website of a Mexican political opposition party was hit by a cyber attack during Tuesday’s final television debate between presidential candidates ahead of the July 1 vote, after the site had published documents critical of the leading candidate.

Candidate Ricardo Anaya, who heads a right-left coalition, brandished documents at a presidential debate on Tuesday claiming builder Jose Maria Rioboo received contracts without a competitive bidding process.

Lopez Obrador told reporters on Wednesday the contracts given to Rioboo did not violate any law and studies showed he was the best man for the job.

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In final debate, Mexican presidential favorite says a NAFTA fail ‘not fatal’

13/06/18 Reuters

amloThe collapse of the North American Free Trade Agreement would not be fatal for Mexico, the leftist presidential favorite said on Tuesday, while keeping his cool under attack from rivals in the last televised debate before the July 1 election.

Asked what he would do if talks fail to renegotiate the deal that underpins the vast majority of Mexico’s trade, frontrunner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he would redirect the economy towards the internal market and revive the rural economy.

“I am going to suggest that the treaty remains, but (the end of NAFTA) cannot be fatal for Mexicans, our country has a lot of natural resources, a lot of wealth,” he said in the round table discussion between the four candidates in the city of Merida.

Drawn out negotiations called by Donald Trump with Canada and the United States to modernize NAFTA have reached a deadlock since the U.S. president imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on the trade partners.

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