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Mexico: AMLO & the Left are Drowning the Poor

Imagen: EFE/Mario Guzmán

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[Leer en español]

Drowning the poor, or at least flooding their homes, was the decision made by the Government of Mexico a couple of weeks ago. Yes, literally. We know this because President Andrés Manuel López Obrador explained it himself during an air review of the disaster area in the state of Tabasco. His concrete words were:

[We] let the water come out of the [river] Samaria, through the lowlands. Of course, the people of Nacajuca were harmed. They are the Chontales, the poorest. 

This tragedy, which has killed at least eight people and destroyed the property of over 300,000 victims, fully exhibits the incompetence of Mexico’s left-wing government. The Obrador administration aims to get in the country’s history the “fourth transformation” of the republic, but so far is a change for the worse. Let’s see:

  • Less than a month ago, on October 18, López Obrador himself had announced the entry into operation of a so-called ecological flow to avoid floods in the regions surrounding the Peñitas hydroelectric plant, so that “the Tabasco plain won’t be flooded again”. Spoiler alert: Peñitas is the dam that is flooding those same plains. 
  • The governor of that state, Adán Augusto López (who is also from Morena, López Obrador’s party) holds the federal government directly responsible. He refers specifically to the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). According to the governor, the CFE committed a “calculation error” by defogging the Peñitas dam at more than 1,500 m3 per second, which he qualifies as “irresponsibility and criminal negligence.” 

The “do not lie and do not betray the people” thing was a lie by López Obrador 

To add insult to injury, Obrador himself lied about what was going on in Tabasco. Barely a week ago, when reporters asked him if the government was flooding other municipalities to protect Centro (where the city of Villahermosa is located), López Obrador replied, with either ignorance or cynicism: “No. There are many rumors, a lot of disinformation, but I say to my countrymen: have confidence. I will never lie to you, remember that [we] don’t steal, don’t lie, and don’t betray the people”. Today we know, from his own voice, that he was lying.

There goes again: the same left-wing government that turned “primero los pobres” (the poor are the most important thing) into its rallying call now openly acknowledges that it chose to flood the houses of the poorest. And all in a vain attempt to disguise its incompetence after they could not even successfully carry out the basic calculations necessary to release the water from a dam safely.

The tragedy merits two reflections:

  • The first one is about the absurd double standard of the Mexican left. If the centrists Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI) or Felipe Calderón (PAN) had said something similar to what López Obrador recognized about intentionally flooding the houses of the poorest, the country would immediately have burst into flames.

The infamous “porros” and violent groups controlled by the left-wing mobs would have launched a wave of vandalism under the guise of outrage. Simultaneously, the intellectuals, the media, and the useful fools from the caviar left would be distributing laments. We would already have a new slogan for social mobilization, hundreds of looted stores, and probably a dozen protest-songs.

However, since López Obrador was the one who said it, there is no complaint, vandalism, or songs. So, it must be clear by now: the left is not really interested in the well-being of the poor, nor in the representation of minorities or human rights. For them, those banners are mere pretexts. And the politicians on the right would do well in understanding it.

  • The second is that President López Obrador makes a confession that applies to all leftist governments: they campaign “in defense of the poor.” They destroy institutions “to do justice to the poor.” They entrench themselves in power “in the name of the poor,” but many of their decisions mainly affect those same people they proclaim to protect.

Drowning the poor

The same is true of whims such as the cancellation of Mexico City’s new international airport and the waste of millions of dollars in a fool’s attempt to “save Pemex”. Once and again, the result is uncertainty, paralysis, and an economic recession that started even before COVID-19 came to us. It’s as simple as that, in Mexico, Venezuela and in any of those too many stories of socialist terror in Latin America. Always, the most affected by the demagoguery are the poor.

Even in the middle of national collapse, the wealthy have more options to emigrate, negotiate with the government, or adapt their business models to a new reality. The rich suffer, but they can cope with the situation. For the rest of the people, a capricious left-wing government means a sentence of death and hunger. A chain that condemns them to be permanently dependant upon the merciful pantry (or Clap) from the bureaucrat who had promised them freedom. 

To summarize, the left’s intentions may be up to debate, but their results are self-evident. Sooner or later they always drown the poor. 

Gerardo Garibay Camarena, is a doctor of law, writer and political analyst with experience in the public and private sectors. His new book is "How to Play Chess Without Craps: A Guide to Reading Politics and Understanding Politicians" // Gerardo Garibay Camarena es doctor en derecho, escritor y analista político con experiencia en el sector público y privado. Su nuevo libro es “Cómo jugar al ajedrez Sin dados: Una guía para leer la política y entender a los políticos”

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