Mexico’s president holds massive rally ahead of 2024 election
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador held a large rally in Mexico City’s main square on Saturday, attended by tens of thousands of people.
Though it was called to commemorate Mexico’s 1938 expropriation of the oil industry, many at Saturday’s rally agreed that it was the de facto opening salvo to the 2024 election that will select the president’s successor.
Perhaps aware of recent tensions with the United States over overdose deaths from fentanyl smuggled in from Mexico, López Obrador spent part of his speech praising former American Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who despite many of the Firms not actively opposed to the 1938 oil expropriations were American.
“The best example of the authenticity of his ‘good neighbor’ policy was his respect for our nation’s sovereignty,” López Obrador said of Roosevelt.
It could be one of the last rallies to be led by López Obrador, known for his folksy style and charisma. The process of nominating a presidential candidate for his Morena party will begin later this year. After that, the party’s candidate should be the focus.
However, most agree that few of the presidential nominees can match the popularity of a president whose approval ratings routinely top 60%. This is particularly true of the Morena party, which was largely built around López Obrador.
Alberto Martínez, 59, said he hopes Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum will become the party’s nominee. “We like their education, their level-headedness,” Martinez said. But he would settle for whoever Morena chose.
Most polls show Sheinbaum leading the race, followed by Secretary of State Marcelo Ebrard.
“It is important that the ideology of López Obrador persists,” said Martínez. “This train is already moving, someone just has to get on and drive it.”
Former President Lázaro Cárdenas, one of López Obrador’s heroes, wowed Mexicans when on March 18, 1938 he expropriated the largely foreign-owned, privately operated oil industry.
One of López Obrador’s key policy initiatives was to save the state oil company founded by Cárdenas from debt crushing and low oil production.
Those attending the Zocalo rally wholeheartedly agreed with López Obrador, who took a nationalist stance and drastically curtailed the ability of US anti-drug agents to operate in Mexico.
Blas Ramos, 69, an electrical engineer, held up a sign that read, “Get out of Mexico, FBI, CIA, gringos!”
He said the president is right to oppose US calls to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations or to use the US military to crack down on the gangs.
“They are hypocrites,” he said of US politicians calling for such action, “because they are doing nothing to reduce drug use in the United States.”
The synthetic opioid fentanyl, which kills about 70,000 Americans each year, is manufactured primarily in Mexico using precursor chemicals smuggled in from China.
López Obrador has claimed that Mexico doesn’t produce fentanyl – something most experts disagree – and that the US has a fentanyl problem because American families don’t hug their children enough.
Ramos expressed confidence that the presidential movement, which he calls “Mexico’s fourth transformation,” would not end when he leaves office in September 2024.
“This is a movement that started a long time ago,” he said. “We’ve spent our entire lives waiting for this movement.”
“This movement is not over in six years,” Ramos said, referring to the president’s tenure in Mexico. “It’s a process that will take 30, 40 years.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/andres-manuel-lopez-obrador-ap-mexico-united-states-mexico-city-b2303729.html Mexico’s president holds massive rally ahead of 2024 election