To sit in the Chair, to wear the tricolor sash, to become El-Señor-Presidente-de-la-República. (Mister President of the Republic). To have that immense power that only a few have had (twenty in the last 100 years) and “to be part of history.”
That was the dream of Andrés Manuel, the most ambitious and obsessed individual, to reach the presidency that Mexico has ever seen. The narrow defeat of 2006 presented him naked: ready to stage a coup d’état with his troops occupying the Congress, designing the operetta of proclaiming himself “Legitimate President of Mexico” in the Zócalo. The authoritarian wolf in the sheep’s clothing of a democrat.
That disguise returned in 2012 and was successful six years later. The culmination of the 14-year journey, undoubtedly the presidential candidate who toured the country the most, who stepped on ranches and village squares that no national politician even considered visiting looking for the popular vote.
But those places left no mark. He contemplated poverty but did not see it; he listened but did not understand. Without advisors or experts then or now, he matured a series of erroneous diagnoses for which he designed equally erroneous strategies. That is, with the virtue of being easily understood by the masses, whom he never tired of hammering with his words. To this day, with the mornings, the passion for the microphone, the taste for the sermon embedded in incessant monologues. The conviction that to speak is to govern.
The set of easy solutions was to unleash the laughter of the most cynical politician on the electorate’s collective intelligence. Violence without control? Hugs, not bullets. Rampant corruption? It will disappear from day one, thanks to an honest President. Access to health care? A system like Denmark, with free treatments, medicines, and consultations. Money for these projects? Republican austerity and zero corruption. And always the chant: “first the poor.”
The simplism, the symbols that obfuscated so many: selling the airplane, closing Los Pinos, living in the Palace. The contrast with the corruption and the sumptuousness of Peña Nieto created the illusion and brought many votes.
Andrés Manuel is now living his dream intensely. The Republic’s problems are being taken care of with his thoughts’ superior wisdom now turned into action. The Secretaries of State are simple transmission belts. He has already demonstrated it since the resignation of the first Treasury Secretary: whoever does not like it, let him go, there will always be people with no capacity, but with loyalty, whom he can call upon.
The nightmare, which Andrés does not see as if he were putting on virtual reality glasses every day. The millions of new poor that have been added to the existing ones, the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by pandemics, other diseases, or by the incessant violence. The hungry without soup kitchens or mothers without childcare, the children without chemotherapy, all to extract and refine oil. The raterías of those who surround him, and who have shown that the Palace’s tenant is an enthusiastic promoter of corruption. There is only one condition: to shout to the four winds that one is honest. There, he preaches by example.
Andres is happy, his sleep rarely disturbed by denunciations in “filthy rags” or those now “cursed” social networks, stripped of his democratic skin AMLO is an authoritarian and messianic demagogue. So he will continue, while those who are not relatives or collaborators continue to live and die in a nightmare that no people deserve.
Sergio Negrete Cardenas – Econokafka
Professor – Researcher at ITESO Business School. B.A. in Economics (ITAM) and Communication (UNAM). M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics (Essex). Worked at the International Monetary Fund.