AMLO and Uncertainty

The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Carlos A. Montaner, Miami, July 14, 2019 — Mexico is trembling. It occurs every once in a while. AMLO is the acronym for Andrés Manuel López Obrador, its president. The word that best describes all that is happening there is “uncertainty.” No one knows what could happen. When societies are in this situation, generally the worst occurs. The cloudy forecast paralyzes investment and influences negative outcomes. Mexicans overwhelmingly elected a peculiar personage and there will be consequences there.

The stock market and the peso have fallen. Carlos Urzúa, a notable economist, moderate and reasonable, resigned from AMLO’s cabinet and the fire started. He was, until a few days ago, the Minister of Finance. Like well-mannered suicides he wrote a letter in which he explained, more or less, his reasons. Evidently, he has not killed himself. He’s returning to academia, which is a form of taking one’s own life, at least the public one.

AMLO is a person comfortably installed in the past. He wants to develop Mexico with the political vision of 1906, 113 years ago. But his model is the general Lázaro Cárdenas, nationalizer and anti-imperialist, who occupied the presidency in the six-year term of 1934 to 1940, a mere 85 years ago. That foolishness appears in the papers of the MORENO sect, created by López Obrador to aspire to the presidency.

Another crazy idea. Isn’t the tragic performance of Pemex, the state-owned petroleum company, enough for AMLO to understand that it makes no sense to promote once again the entrepreneur-state? The era of trying out nationalization was that of Cárdenas and it has already been seen where that led. Does AMLO realize that it is impossible to eradicate corruption by widening the perimeter of the State and giving officials greater discretion?

The terrible corruption in Mexico, begun in the colonial era, but exponentially increased during the Republic, is the result, precisely, of the nexus between the State and the productive apparatus. When AMLO affirms that in his Government “the long neoliberal night” ended, he is not only reiterating a corny, empty phrase that the epigones of the Forum of Sao Paulo (Hugo Chávez, Rafael Correa, Evo Morales, Daniel Ortega) were in the habit of repeating, but also demonstrating his incapacity to understand the disastrous relationship between public spending and good government.

What AMLO called “the long neoliberal night” was the result of the inflation, the loss in purchasing power of the currency, and the rampant corruption during the terms of Luis Echeverría (1970-1976) and José López Portillo (1976-1982). How is it possible that AMLO thinks, seriously, that the evils of our republics can be cured with a larger dose of state interventionism and control if those were, precisely, the evils that have traditionally poisoned our public life?

The good Governments of the first term of Óscar Arias in Costa Rica (1986-1990), of Luis Alberto Lacalle in Uruguay (1990-1995), of César Gaviria in Colombia (1990-1994), of Ernesto Zedillo in Mexico (1994-2000), of the second term of Carlos Andrés Pérez in Venezuela (1989-1993), and also of the fourth term of Víctor Paz Estenssoro (1985-1989), who started in the fifties leading the first populist project of Bolivia and, three decades later, put forward and carried out the first liberal Government of national salvation, were the result of the awful consequences of Keynesianism applied in Latin America.

On that list of benign reformers would have to be included the Argentinean Carlos Menem (1989-1999) because of his privatizations. If he had kept public spending under control, which would have prevented the devaluation of the peso and the subsequent evil history of the “corralitos,” a new day would have dawned in Argentina. Ultimately, he would have buried the disastrous Peronism and the band of Kirchner and her 40 thieves would have remained in their cave without reaching the Casa Rosada.

What happened in Latin America starting in the eighties and nineties was what happened in Israel with Likud’s arrival to power (1977), in England with Margaret Thatcher (1979), in the United States with the ascension of Ronald Reagan (1981), and in Switzerland with the triumph of Carl Bildt (1991). They put an end to the “long socialist night” (we allow ourselved to be corny in just vengeance), because the example of what was happening in Chile in the economic sphere was decisive, even though what was happening in the political sphere sickened us.

I conclude where I began: AMLO and uncertainty. If he does not improve he will do much damage to Mexico. I fear the worst. It’s what usually happens.

Translated by: Sheilagh Herrera


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