Editorials | May 2006
|So How Far to the Left is AMLO of Mexico?|
Allan Wall - MexiData.info
Is Mexico’s Party of the Democratic Revolution, the PRD, presidential candidate Andres Manual Lopez Obrador (AMLO) a menace? Might his election be a threat to the United States?
|Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, presidential candidate of Mexico's left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), departs after a meeting in Mexico City. (Reuters/Daniel Aguilar)|
That’s the charge that has surfaced in the U.S. media – that AMLO is an extreme leftist who would ally himself with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
One of the principal exponents of this view is political analyst Dick Morris, who paints an absolutely fearsome future of an anti-American alliance between AMLO, Chavez and Fidel Castro of Cuba.
In the interest of full disclosure we should point out that Dick Morris is a professional political advisor and spin-doctor. Morris has worked for, among others, Bill Clinton, Trent Lott, and Mexican President Vicente Fox when he was a candidate. Morris is now reportedly working for National Action Party (PAN) candidate Felipe Calderon. In other words, Morris’ pronouncements might have other motives as well.
Nevertheless, Morris isn’t the only one warning us of the danger of an AMLO victory. So it’s worth looking into.
AMLO might not win anyway, insofar as the latest polls show Calderon in the lead.
But the question remains, would it be a disaster for the United States if AMLO wins?
In my opinion no – a Lopez Obrador victory would not necessarily be a disaster for the United States. And I have reasons for thinking so.
Certainly nobody would confuse AMLO with a conservative American Republican. But then, Felipe Calderon of the PAN is not a conservative American Republican either. Mexico has its own political traditions, and they are not always compatible with ours.
AMLO is a leftist, but in Latin America being a leftist provides a lot of wiggle room.
“Leftist” includes the recently formed axis of Chavez and Castro, of Venezuela and Cuba respectively, plus Bolivia’s President Evo Morales.
But the term “leftist” also includes such leaders as Nestor Kirchner of Argentina, Michelle Bachelet of Chile, and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil. Furthermore, they are fiscally responsible and not breathing out fiery anti-Yankee rhetoric.
In fact, Brazil and Bolivia are currently engaged in a dispute resulting from Morales’ nationalization policy. So we can’t view all the “leftist” Latin American nations as forming a monolith. Doing so could actually result in pushing the responsible leftists into the arms of Hugo and Fidel.
So is AMLO of the Hugo Chavez ilk, or in the Lula da Silva camp? Or is he an individual in a camp all his own?
Even the experts seem to be unsure.
Despite the charges of AMLO having links with Chavez the two have apparently never met. As well, Lopez Obrador’s campaign proposals, whatever one might think of them, seem to be more rooted in Mexican political tradition than influenced by Chavez.
Mexico has its own historical relationship with the United States, which doesn’t include nor involve Venezuela. Why would a Mexican president become a satellite of Venezuela? Mexico already has more influence on the United States than Chavez could ever imagine.
And this is Mexico’s election – so don’t Mexican voters have the right to choose their own leader?
It’s also worth recalling that Mexico’s 2000 presidential election went more smoothly than ours in the U.S.
While AMLO’s program may not be our cup of tea, it’s not really our choice, is it? Besides, public hostility by Americans to AMLO might actually help him.
The U.S. is promoting democracy throughout the world. But democracy, if it’s really democracy, might mean the victory of people you don’t agree with. It’s true in the Middle East, and it’s true in Latin America.
It’s highly unlikely that AMLO’s coalition will win a majority in the Mexican Congress. The struggle for representative government in Mexico has accomplished a lot in recent decades. Mexicans made a peaceful transition from a one-party state to a multi-party system. The Mexican Congress is no longer a rubber-stamp for the executive.
Too, it is hard to imagine the PAN and PRI congressional delegations turning over a blank check to a president AMLO. He would have to negotiate with Congress, and he would not get everything he wants.
Considering our own history in the U.S., we should know that there’s a big difference between candidates and presidents. And they don’t always carryout what they promise as sometimes it’s impossible.
So what I say, from an American perspective – let’s just enjoy the Mexican elections, congratulate the winner, and carryon with our business.
Allan Wall is an American citizen who has been teaching English in Mexico since 1991, and writing articles about various aspects of Mexico and Mexican society for the past decade. Some of these articles are about Mexico's political scene, history and culture, tourism, and Mexican emigration as viewed from south of the border, which you can read on his website at AllanWall.net.
Click HERE for more articles by Allan Wall.