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Monday, July 9, 2018

Good article about AMLO AND NAFTA WIN IN OCTOBER, Financial Times

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico's homespun firebrand

The silver-haired populist poised to head Latin America's second-biggest economy
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Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) Save Save to myFT Jude Webber JUNE 29, 2018 Print this page22 Six years ago, Andrés Manuel López Obrador was watching a documentary about his wafer-thin defeat in the 2006 Mexican presidential election with Elena Poniatowska, one of the country's foremost leftist intellectuals. The film, 0.56%, followed him on that first unsuccessful campaign, including the 1m people who packed Mexico City's historic square, the Zócalo, after he claimed the election was stolen from him. But it closed with a shot of a provincial rally attended by just a few bored-looking women. "I told him ending on that was a bit sad," the author recalled. "But he said, 'Elena, that's politics. You can always start over'."  On Sunday night, the leftist nationalist known as Amlo is planning to head back to the Zócalo. After defeats in 2006 and 2012, all the signs are that this time, he will arrive in triumph — a testament to what Ms Poniatowska calls "a tenaciousness like nothing you've ever seen".  The silver-haired southerner, who appraises his rivals with a wary look, charms crowds with a humble message of hope. He also promises a peaceful yet profound social revolution for a country fed up with its ancien régime if, as polls indicate, he is elected president of the nation on Donald Trump's doorstep.  Amlo, Mexico's favourite for president Some investors are spooked at the prospect of Mexico lurching to the left and fear that even if he starts out prudently, he will spend himself into trouble and end up destabilising Latin America's second-biggest economy.  Mr López Obrador, who went back to criss-crossing the country after his 2006 defeat, has led this race from the outset and has a 25-point lead over his rivals. But his victory nonetheless looks likely to shatter the status quo. Out with reliance on US-trained technocrats whose neoliberal recipes have delivered three decades of disappointing growth. And out with the corruption and violence that, Mr López Obrador says, are the only things flourishing these days. In with a man-of-the-people president on a mission, a rebel with a cause: to eradicate graft and get the economy moving.  He not only has a homespun style but a "100 per cent shopkeeper's mindset" says Luis Rubio, president of the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations. It is a product of his upbringing in the tropical southeastern state of Tabasco where his parents ran a village store selling everything from foul-tasting parasite medicine to machetes.  The principle of never spending more than you earn remains drilled into him, Mr Rubio says, arguing that the candidate's view of how Mexico should look is "stuck in the 1960s". During those halcyon days of his childhood, Mexico enjoyed rapid economic growth and a manufacturing boom before descending into currency devaluations and economic crises. Mr López Obrador's unshakeable conviction in his own judgment worries critics. They believe he is at heart intolerant and authoritarian, not to mention the same firebrand who led social protests two decades ago and paralysed Mexico City for months with a sit-in after the 2006 election. They fear he will turn Mexico backwards and inwards.  Allies maintain Mr López Obrador, who is widely regarded as having done well as mayor of Mexico City from 2000 to 2005, reflects deeply and is open to advice. "He's stubborn, insistent, a strong leader, but not aggressive and not an ideological radical at all," says John Ackerman, a law professor whose wife, Irma Sandoval, is Mr López Obrador's pick for government comptroller.  Another friend insists "he's the most conservative man in the world," highlighting his vows not to increase Mexico's debt or run a budget deficit. Indeed, Mr López Obrador promises to pinch pennies by halving top bureaucrats' salaries and selling the presidential plane to fund pensions, student bursaries and apprenticeships. His down-to-earth passions are coffee, baseball and history. To "Amlovers" — including the woman who once ran up to him and pressed an urn containing her husband's ashes into his hands — Mr López Obrador is nothing short of a saviour-in-waiting. But business leaders remain wary— although he broke the ice with a longstanding foe at a recent meeting by chatting about the St Louis Cardinals, the baseball team they both support.  However, as victory has appeared increasingly inevitable, Mr López Obrador appears to have garnered a grudging respect even among some skeptics. He was initially viewed as a quixotic figure charging across the country tilting at the corrupt "mafia of power" that he says is holding Mexico back. But he built a political party from the ground up, by visiting every municipality at least once and having an army of volunteers to knock on doors. Morena, which was only registered four years ago, now looks set to demolish both the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party and the opposition National Action Party.  Morena — an acronym of National Regeneration Movement — remains inextricably linked to Mr López Obrador himself. But it has garnered unprecedented support in Mexico's north, which was previously hostile to him. Polls show his popularity cuts across ages and social classes. His biggest fan base is university graduates and his support is fractionally higher among the rich than the poor. "There's no doubt he'll win," says Jesús Pérez, a shopkeeper in Mexico City's tough Tepito district. "As for radical change, we'll see. One person can't change a whole country." The writer is the FT's Mexico correspondent

A post shared by Olga Lazin (@drolgalazin) on

When our Ph.D. student fromUCLA was working

THE ANTOCORRUPTION UNIT IN MEXICO CITY, he tried to kill JUAN MORENO PEREZ, to burn down his house. He sent peope, an authpritarian type, but he learned to bring it into check now, somehow.

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