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Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) recommended to Alberto Fernández, president of Argentina, last March 10 that he should not declare a moratorium on his payments to the IMF, but rather accept a proposal for an extension. Thus, when Kirchnerism is inevitably removed from the Pink House, this will be someone else’s problem and they will be able to maintain themselves as an alternative.
That is the strategy of the Mexican president: blame the problems of the present on all those who were there before you and hide all the new problems you are creating so that they will explode on whoever governs in the future, and that is exactly what he recommends to Fernandez.
The Argentinean is more optimistic and replies that it is necessary to create an economic block together with Brazil, when Lula returns, whom he supports because he is the greatest leader of Latin America (since he also followed the same strategy during his term: sweeping the problems forward so that his successor would pay for them).
Fernandez is president of Argentina thanks to this way of doing things. His predecessor received all the problems generated by Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. And, if he could have done little to solve them, he decided to do even less and he was blamed for all the problems. Alberto made firewood from that tree and began one of the presidencies that, from these eyes that have followed it from Mexico, is one of the most blatantly tragic in the last 20 years.
2023 for Alberto is a coin in midair, fifty-fifty. Leaving everything to the future does not seem such a bad idea. For López Obrador, the outlook towards 2024 is not yet clear. On the one hand, his party already assumes he is the winner, although he has not yet decided who will be his successor; on the other hand, he is desperate to know who his opponents will be on the ballot so that he can start the dirty campaign right away.
In the morning conference on Monday 14, the President went ahead with the announcements and unveiled 10 of his possible contenders. Pure lightweights if you ask me, although more than half of them are likely adversaries and none of them have the slightest capacity to connect with the voter, let alone compete in the same league as AMLO’s possible successors.
The common enemy of López Obrador and Kirchnerism are the “neoliberals.” Fernandez speaks of capitalism as the enemy, López Obrador knows that this kind of language does not help his cause, so he uses one more ad hoc with his public. With different names, the enemy of both is in the 80s and 90s, while their dreams are a romantic but false reinterpretation of mid-century. The Argentinean alludes to Juan Domingo Perón, while the Mexican speaks of the “Stabilizing Development;” but not of the characters because he built his career criticizing the party to which they all belonged.
The role that López Obrador is playing today seems closer to that of Néstor Kirchner than to that of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, as many say. If we are fair, the comparison is difficult with both of them, because unlike them, AMLO is a character without any charisma or grace. He is a very poor speaker and, as we saw in the letter he sent to the European Parliament, very undiplomatic and uneducated, falling into vulgarity… just like Chávez, but without grace.
The way in which the story fits is even cruel: just like Kirchner, López Obrador suffers from a heart condition and it is possible that he is aware that it is unfeasible to remain in power for many years, even behind the scenes as a puppeteer of his successor. AMLO, in his vocation to be a transformer and a hero of history, might be more in favor of the idea of, like the Argentinean, dying before the consequences of his actions are uncovered and letting his successors build his place as a hero in national history.
Of course, I am speculating and only they really know what they are planning, but there is simply something wrong with the AMLO-Chavez idea, since having three years of an imperial presidency, he decided not to push for any structural change, only to erode institutions and push narratives.
“The Fourth Transformation — he has told us on many occasions — will be so profound that it can never be rolled back.” People immediately thought of a military regime, but perhaps he was referring to the Argentinean route: to consecrate himself as a popular hero and push all problems into the future so that, when today’s opposition defeats them, he will be the one to blame for the results and, MORENA — with the hero AMLO as its standard-bearer — can continue to hover in power for many years to come.
José Torra is an economist, Research Coordinator at Caminos de la Libertad, co-author of the Fraser Institute's Economic Freedom of North America Index, and co-host of the podcast Libertad Aquí y Ahora // José Torra es economista, Coordinador de investigación en Caminos de la Libertad, coautor del índice Economic Freedom of Northamerica del Fraser Institute, y co-conductor del podcast Libertad Aquí y Ahora