On July 1, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, popularly known as AMLO, won a decisive victory in the Mexican presidential elections, marking a departure from nearly a century of dominance by two establishment parties – the PRI and the PAN. Obrador’s party, Morena, also swept both houses of Parliament and the local government in key cities.
AMLO is seen by many as someone who can reverse the spree of neoliberal policies implemented by Mexican presidents over the past decades. There is also great hope that he may be able to put an end to the cycle of violence in the country, which saw nearly nearly 130 murders during the election campaign.
Over the past many years, many social movements have been waging a relentless battle against many of the neoliberal reforms implemented by successive governments. One of these has been the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE), which in May organized a nation-wide strike, as well as proposed a platform for social movements to come together. The Dawn News interviewed Mirna Santiago Gallego from the National Political Direction of the CNTE on the implications of the elections and path ahead for social movements.
What is CNTE’s perspective on the victory of AMLO?
It must be recognized that considering the nature of partiocracy [the domination of one or two parties] in Mexico, the triumph of Andrés Manuel López Obrador is convincing, historical and unprecedented. In this process, a large sector of population, which was fed up with the national situation, voted for the ‘less worse’ option while many others voted hoping for change. For the CNTE, the perspective on the path ahead has been and remains one of struggle, mobilization and proposals for structural changes.
What are the positive and negative aspects of the program proposed by him?
Dialectically, we can say that it is an advance, an improvement. The expression of the electoral left in the country will be tested as it takes power from the right wing in both the executive branch and in the houses of deputies and senators. It is positive because there’s a possibility of putting an end to corruption and the privileges of the ruling class, and that would be a significant advance. On the other hand, a key negative aspect is that Obrador does not propose to change the economic model. His central alliance is with the Creole and international oligarchy. Also, the package of structural reforms he has suggested only proposes to revert the [neoliberal] education reform, but not those in the energy sector or for labor.
How do you think his relationship with social movements is going to be?
There is not likely to be much change from what has been seen so far. He is only interested in social movements that guarantee him votes; the dynamic has been a top-down relationship. This extends to his cabinet. So far, there is no one who comes from social movements.
How do you think Mexico’s position in the international context could change?
Based on what happened in Argentina, Brazil, and Ecuador, it is difficult to be sure that there would be a change. However, the new leftist government would most likely be part of the spaces constituted by progressive governments in Latin America.
Is there hope that the prevalence of violence and corruption, and the domination of de facto powers that characterize Mexico’s political scenario could change with the new government?
Yes, there is a hope and possibility of this happening, but not in the short term.