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Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador leads massive march in support of himself in the midst of a controversial term
Andrés Manuel López Obrador has undoubtedly become one of the most controversial Mexican presidents.
López Obrador was elected president in July 2018. Since then, AMLO (popular acronym for López) has not ceased to cause controversy for his very particular way of governing México. The Tabasco-state native is known for his center-left politics. His trajectory and ideology is extremely interesting.
Early life and political career
Andrés Manuel López Obrador studied Political Science and Public Administration at the National Autonomous University of México and started out as a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party. After assuming the position of party president in Tabasco, he quit, to support the presidential candidacy of Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas of the PRD.
During the 1990s, López Obrador became the PRD’s national president and in 2000 he was elected head of government of the Federal District, a first step to later seek the presidential candidacy as part of this party.
Progress and achievements of Andrés Manuel López Obrador
Andrés Manuel López Obrador has had several successes as the most important political figure in Mexico. He managed to promote innovative social programs, such as a pension in favor of the elderly, financial support for single mothers and unemployed people, educational support, and the creation of urban development projects and transportation infrastructure, gaining millions of followers and great popularity.
Previously, he had attempted to be elected President for several terms, in the 2006 and 2012 elections.
The 2006 Mexican culture elections were infamously extremely close, resulting in Felipe Calderón elected president only by a slight majority of votes. Because of this, López Obrador supporters held a protest to demand that the votes be reviewed. And although Calderón was confirmed to the presidency, López Obrador led a public ceremony in Mexico festival City’s Zócalo where he named himself as the “legitimate president of a parallel government” in front of hundreds of thousands of people.
In the 2012 elections, when López Obrador ran again as a candidate, he lost this opportunity again and Enrique Peña Nieto became president, despite the fact that Andrés Manuel López Obrador again denounced electoral irregularities, excessive spending in the campaign of Peña Nieto and vote-buying.
It was until the year 2018 when he became president, an important event in Mexican history by itself, as it took almost 90 years of democracy for a left-wing candidate to occupy the presidency.
López Obrador was elected 12 years after his previous bid for the presidential chair, now leading the recently-formed Morena party. It is worth mentioning that this party won four of the six races for governor in the midterm elections, now controlling 22 out of the 32 states of Mexico; this represents a very important advantage for the candidates of Morena in the 2024 presidential elections.
Once leading the Mexican people as president, AMLO aimed to use his campaign promises to favor Mexicans. During his speeches, he said that his presidency would allocate millions of pesos to eradicate corruption and promote social programs. A large part of his projects had to do with austerity programs.
By order of López Obrador, an office was set up for the leftist leader in the National Palace instead of at the official residence of Los Pinos. Before this presidency, the family home of the leaders was the official residence of Los Pinos, but the man from Tabasco commented that he would not occupy the luxurious property.
Despite his popularity with a vast majority of the Mexican population, López Obrador is not exempt from scandals and accusations.
In 2004, he was accused of ignoring a court order by authorizing the construction of an access road to a hospital through private property, although his followers believed this was a way of disqualifying him as a presidential candidate.
This originated a huge march in 2005, where thousands of sympathizers supported him. After this, then-president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, ordered the dismissal of the trial of the politician from Tabasco.
Another action by Andrés Manuel López Obrador that caused great controversy occurred in 2006 when he held a sit-in on Paseo de la Reforma. At the time, López Obrador managed to get his supporters to block the important highway for 47 days to protest the elections that allowed Felipe Calderón Hinojosa to become president, resulting in millions of pesos as losses for shops, businesses, and diverse companies in the area.
Most recently, in 2022, another controversial event by López Obrador was held. When he completed four years in office as president of Mexico, thousands of people marched in central Mexico to endorse their commitment to the controversial politician.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador led an impressive number of participants out in a massive march through the center of Mexico City, enlivened by mariachi music in a party atmosphere. In this march, his supporters arrived in hundreds of buses from different parts of Mexico and although López Obrador was accused of forcing some Mexicans to participate, some of the protesters questioned said they had come voluntarily.
Former mayor of Morena, Gaby Contreras, assured: “we are here to support the president,” while lawyer América Verdugo pointed out: “I came from Sonora by plane and I paid my ticket.”
Allies of López Obrador participated in this movement as a response to the great opposition march that took place two weeks earlier. The motivation for thousands of Mexicans who marched was to oppose an electoral reform. The opposition even called a massive protest against López Obrador, resulting in a concurred protest.
Many Mexicans have harshly criticized the policies of López Obrador and the so-called “Fourth Transformation.” He is still under the microscope, about the high incidence of crimes in Mexico, his decisions against Covid-19, and his agreements on the electricity reform.