Brief report on the country situation
1.- In several countries of the world, especially in Latin America, democracy is in danger.
2.- There is confusion abroad about the situation in Mexico for the following reasons:
a) Outside Mexico many progressive political forces believe that in our country the left is governing. The current President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), won in 2018 with leftist flags and with his party Morena leading an electoral alliance.
It should be recalled that López Obrador was the national president of the PRD between 1996 and 1998, Governor of Mexico City (CDMX), nominated by the PRD and Movimiento Ciudadano (MC), between 2000 and 2005, and later candidate for President of Mexico in 2006 and 2012, also nominated by the PRD and a leftist coalition. In these elections he came close to victory but did not win.
b) In 2012, after the July elections, AMLO quitted the PRD to establish his own party, Morena, which he had been boosting since 2005, when he was Governor of the CDMX. This, achieved legal recognition as a national political party to participate in the mid-term federal elections in 2015, coming in 4th place, below the PRD which came in 3rd place.
c) AMLO refused to make electoral political agreements with the PRD since the foundation of his party.
For the 2018 presidential elections, AMLO, at that time national leader of Morena, rejected the possibility of building a broad coalition to face the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI); the ruling party. In this context, the PRD built an alliance with the center-right National Action Party (PAN) and the center-left MC, within which it supported a PAN candidate, the strongest party in that alliance.
For those elections, the Morena party formed an alliance with the Labor Party (PT), with radical leftist features and which has supported dictatorial regimes such as those of Maduro in Venezuela, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua and the Cuban and North Korean governments. It also incorporated into this electoral coalition the Ecologist Green Party of Mexico, which has been expelled from the International Green Alliance and which is a party that had supported the PAN and the PRI for the previous presidential elections. Likewise, it incorporated to this electoral alliance the right-wing, religious, anti-abortion and homophobic Social Encounter Party (PES).
3.- The coalition that won in 2018, with a leftist discourse and the promise of leading to a big transformation for the country, does not match with the democratic left characterized by the commitment to boost political freedoms, human rights, gender equality and the role of youth.
That coalition won with a populist discourse, which was transformed into a “populist discourse of the State”; the reality is that the President is becoming an authoritarian populist who is attacking the democratic institutions of our country. He is tearing down rights and liberties conquered during decades of struggle by the opposition forces.
a) During the government of Morena and López Obrador, systematic attacks have been launched from the Presidency against the autonomous and independent electoral body, the National Electoral Institute (INE) with the aim of changing its nature, dismissing the current members and appointing new ones through “popular election”, all this despite the fact that the INE is a true impartial institution. The government of AMLO wants to control it in order to organize “tailor-made” elections and perpetuate itself in power.
On the other hand, there have been attacks and disqualifications against the feminist movement, pointing it out as a “neoliberal fashion”. “I am a humanist, not a feminist”, said the President to justify his lack of commitment and response to the increase in violence against women, especially feminicide.
In addition, governmental decisions are threatening women’s right to achieve substantive equality. An example is the disappearance of Child Care Centers, which supported mothers who work, seek employment or study, as well as single parents with children under their care. There, the children had access to early education and adequate food; however, the disappearance of the program was argued to put an end to corruption.
Similarly, “Popular Insurance”, a mechanism through which the State guaranteed effective and quality access to health care, was eliminated. This has ceased to operate even though it worked correctly, that it covered millions of persons who were not entitled to another official health institution and the detection and timely treatment of cervical cancer in women was attended to.
The Support Program for Specialized Shelters for Women Victims of Gender Violence and their children, as well as the Full-Time Schools Education Program, also disappeared. The latter served the basic level students and allowed many children to have access to a meal, while they were developing other training activities with educational personnel who earned an extra income for these activities.
In all these setbacks, women have been the main ones affected.
4.- In Mexico we are experiencing a systematic attack against freedom of expression, with disqualifications and stigmatization of journalists and analysts, including the media that is not aligned with the government. Also, there has been an increase in violence that has claimed the lives of dozens of journalists; this year 11 of them have been murdered in different parts of the country in the absence of protection protocols. Mexico is the most dangerous country without armed conflict for the press.
In this regard, when the European Parliament expressed its concern about this situation, López Obrador said that they were acting ” like a flock of sheep” at the service of the neoliberals and conservatives. The same way he expressed himself to the U.S. government; AMLO replied that they should not interfere in the Mexican affairs.
5.- Regarding to health issues, there is a shortage of medicines in public sector clinics and hospitals. This has greatly affected the treatment of children with cancer, leading to nationwide protests and blockades of airports and main avenues. The government has responded that the parents of those children “are a coup movement, an instrument of the conservatives”.
6.- There is a systematic confrontation with the business sector, as well as a constant disqualification of its role. In addition, we should recall the government’s refusal to declare an economic emergency during the most critical months of the COVID-19 pandemic that could avoid the closure of micro, small and medium-sized businesses, as well as the dismissal of workers. As a result, more than one million businesses closed, and more than 3 million people were unemployed. “Let them pull themselves up by their bootstraps, they are looters”, responded López Obrador, to the political and social demands for governmental support.
These types of situations have generated legal uncertainty for private investment, have accentuated the lack of economic growth and have triggered inflation in the prices of products and services. Today, Mexico has not recovered its pre-pandemic economic levels.
7.- The government’s social programs have not decreased poverty levels or reduced inequality gaps neither. In more than 3 years of government, poverty has increased leading more people to be in extreme poverty, according to official data.
Social programs are used for patronage practices to buy votes in favor of the official party, Morena. For this purpose, they formed an electoral army called “National Servants” which is linked directly with the Presidency. Its objective is to ensure that all the beneficiaries of these programs vote for the official party on the election day; this is immoral and illegal.
8.- The Constitution and electoral laws are also systematically and repeatedly violated, as was seen in the “Popular Consultation for the Revocation of Mandate”. This is a figure of direct democracy, which should be a citizen’s right for the renewal of a governor in case he does not fulfill its responsibilities. However, the government turned it into a mandate ratification exercise.
This consultation costed approximately 4 billion of Mexican pesos (200 million USD) and was promoted by the president to ratify his popularity. AMLO’s delusions of grandeur and acute megalomania led him to call for votes and promote this fake referendum, bringing together high-ranking officials, governors, and leaders of his party. This despite the violations and impediments dictated by the Constitution and the competent laws.
Around 16 million people participated in this exercise, of which 15 million (17.7% of the electorate) voted in favor of AMLO’s continuing in power. For the exercise to be binding, a 40% participation was required, so the election was declared invalid by the Electoral Tribunal.
9.- The current government is responsible for the decrease in quality and quantity of the Mexican Foreign Policy. In addition to the mishaps with the European Parliament and the United States, AMLO has undertaken an irrational protest against Spain by demanding them a public apologize for what happened during the Conquest 500 years ago.
Likewise, there has been a distancing from the Biden administration and a rapprochement with the anti-democratic governments of the Latin American region. AMLO did not attend the IX Summit of the Americas in “solidarity” with Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. This attitude is only leading to an empowerment of the Republicans and Donald Trump in the United States, with whom AMLO had a close relationship.
10.- The Morena government lacks a commitment to care for the environment. There is no interest in transitioning to clean and renewable energies; on the contrary, it continues to bet on fossil fuel and highly polluting energies, as well as on the construction of refineries. There have also been ecocides in the Mayan Forest due to the construction of the Mayan Train, in the mangroves and the deforestation caused by another terrible public policy “Sowing Live”.
This devastating scenario has not contributed to the reduction of greenhouse gases. On the contrary, Mexico suffers the acceleration of global warming and the increase of its effects, such as water stress or floods, which impact the most vulnerable people.
11.- Mexico suffers from a growing militarization in all areas of public activity. The military force not only attends to public security matters, but it is also present in infrastructure works, in the control of customs, in the transportation of medicines, and even as administrators of airports and at the construction of the Mayan Train in the southeast of the country.
The growing violence against people in mobility because of the militarization of the migratory policy and the persecution of this population is a clear example that this is not a leftist government that respects human rights.
12. The public security strategy has clearly failed. There has been an increase in crime rates and femicide figures. The strategy of “hugs, not bullets” is a failure. Recently a military convoy was chased by organized crime groups in the state of Michoacán. In view of these events, the President mentioned that conservatives exaggerate and that “it is not the same as before”; “confrontations are avoided because the lives of the military and of the delinquents are taken care of; they are also human beings”.
13.- The most worrying issue is the alliances that the government has with organized crime to win elections. This was demonstrated in 2021 before the Electoral Tribunal, the Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the U.S. State Department. This explains much of the violence in Mexico today: criminals are taking their toll for services rendered to the Morena government.
A.- Attacks on INE and the participation of organized crime in elections have become the main risks to democracy in Mexico. Added to this is the political persecution against opponents who have not approved the reforms proposed by AMLO, whom he has accused of being “traitors to the nation”.
B.- The risk of the establishment of a dictatorship in Mexico is real.
For this reason, the opposition forces, the PRI, PAN, and PRD, in spite of being so diverse, have allied ourselves. In 2021 as an opposition coalition, we won 40% of the Chamber of Deputies, preventing the ruling coalition from having the qualified majority to modify the Constitution on its own. We also recovered the majority in Mexico City.
C.- In the next general elections of 2024, we intend to maintain this coalition. Common candidacies will be promoted under the context of a presidential election.
Our common motivation is the defense of democracy, of the rights and liberties won during decades of struggle and the restitution of the rights of the people taken away by this government.
D.- We promote a common agenda in defense of the rights of women, youth, and vulnerable populations, for security, the defense of INE and the Electoral Tribunal to ensure free elections, care for the environment, as well as the defense of peace, and we are committed to a foreign policy that is against dictatorial and authoritarian regimes, that promotes multilateralism and that promotes peace and international cooperation.
Jesús Zambrano G. President of Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD)