Monday, January 21, 2013
Times Loser of Mexican Presidency, AMLO Forms his Own Party
By Kent Paterson
Undeterred by the official rejection
of his legal challenge to the July 2012 election results, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador presses on with his opposition movement.
Like he was still on the campaign stump, the left opposition leader is touring Mexico and building up his new political party,
the National Movement for the Regeneration of Mexico (MORENA), as the latest political force on the scene.
In remarks made this month in the southeastern state of Campeche, Lopez Obrador countered rumors
that he would meet with new President Enrique Peña Nieto. He repeated criticisms that the Mexican political leadership
was plunging ahead with the neo-liberal policies of the past few decades.
are no indications that the situation is going to improve,” Lopez Obrador said. “On the contrary, Mexico will
sink as a people and as a nation because of the imposition of an economic policy designed to benefit a tiny minority, one
percent of the population, at the expense of the suffering of the remaining 99 percent.”
The immediate objective of Lopez Obrador’s current trip is to oversee the formation of
251 MORENA municipal committees in the states of Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Campeche, Chiapas, and Veracruz.
“We are a party-movement, close to the people,” is how Carlos Gomez, finance secretary
for MORENA in the state of Jalisco, described the organization. In an interview with FNS, Gomez said MORENA intends to sign
up 1.5 million members, an amount far higher than official Federal Electoral Institute requirements for registering a new
“This is not much for us, but a lot for
(parties) that don’t have strength,” Gomez insisted, pointing to Lopez Obrador’s nearly 16 million votes
in the 2012 race, a showing which officially put the former Mexico City mayor in second place and represented about one million
more votes cast for the candidate than in his first, unsuccessful run for the presidency in 2006.
In another example of the transnationalization of politics, Gomez said MORENA is organizing
in the far-flung Mexican Diaspora, especially in U.S. localities including California, Chicago and El Paso, Texas.
Abandoning his center-left PRD party to focus on MORENA last year, Lopez Obrador has since been
regularly assailed by detractors from across the spectrum. Facing a challenge to his party base, former PRD President Jesus
Ortega, who clashed with Lopez Obrador over tactics, strategy and vision, was quoted in the Mexican press this month predicting
that MORENA would constitute an “extremist, polarizing left.”
a recent column, political analyst Humberto Aguilar Camarena termed Lopez Obrador a “cheap product easy to sell.”
But Lopez Obrador’s greatest challenge, Aguilar wrote, was “father time,” or the nearly six years remaining
until the next presidential contest that could render the politician irrelevant.
Although the Tabasco native has been dismissed as a political has-been on more than one occasion, he has shown
a remarkable ability to not only survive but expand his base as well.
is headed up by a 30-member national executive committee that counts among its ranks well-known activists and political personalities
including former labor organizer Bertha Elena Lujan, PRD co-founder Marti Batres, and human rights pioneer Rosario Piedra
MORENA and Lopez Obrador are emerging as the most visible
critics of the Pact for Mexico, the labor, energy, security, education and social reform package promoted by President Peña
Nieto and endorsed by the leaders of the PRI, PAN and PRD parties. If the pact succeeds, MORENA and its leader could be politically
isolated; if on the other hand it flops, the left opposition could get a big political boost.
In an editorial published in the current edition of its monthly newspaper, titled “The
Pact against the People,” MORENA blasted the agreement as meaning “more sacrifices for Mexicans and more privileges
for the same ones as always.” The January 2013 issue features cartoons that ridicule the other political parties, refute
the notion of Mexico as a democracy, and take on energy reform, criticizing initiatives to open Mexican oil fields to foreign
investment as surrender to the dictates of Washington and multinational corporations. One cartoon strip depicts the succession
of PRI and PAN Mexican presidents from Miguel de la Madrid to Enrique Peña Nieto riddling the barrel of the national
oil company Pemex with weapons ranging from knives to bazookas.
its corruption and dismantlement, Pemex continues to be strength for the country,” reads the cartoon’s text. “It
contributes 1.2 billion pesos a year to the state, close to 40 percent of the national budget….”
According to MORENA activists, the movement plans to distribute millions of copies of its newspaper
Although it is in the process of reorganizing
as a political party, MORENA is not rushing to participate in the state and local elections scheduled for July of this year.
Instead, the nascent party plans to compete in the 2015 congressional races.
Jalisco MORENA leader Carlos Gomez said his organization will spend the next two years registering new members
and “raising consciousness.” Asked what differentiates MORENA from other political parties in the eyes of a politically-skeptic
public, Gomez said the party-movement’s statutes and rules will be very strict in regulating the behavior of its elected
representatives, with anti-corruption a fundamental principle.
Obrador could be judged on anything, except corruption,” Gomez maintained. “People know he’s not corrupt.
There’s never been a politician more attacked in Mexico than him, but he remains on the scene after two election attempts."
Gomez is also wagering that the public will identify with MORENA if and when potentially unpopular proposals, like an expected
increase in the sales tax to the 17-22 percent range, are unveiled.
only opponent to this will be MORENA, because all the other parties signed a pact of complicity,” Gomez added. “We
are a very noble country. People are hit time [and] again, but there is a limit. We are trying to change in the most peaceful,
electoral way, because we don’t want violence.”
Kent Paterson is the editor of Frontera NorteSur. Reprinted with authorization from Frontera NorteSur, a free, on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news source.
Frontera NorteSur (FNS)
Center for Latin American and Border Studies
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, New Mexico