The Cuban Roots of Mexican Presidential Candidate Lopez Obrador

Andrés Manuel López Obrador is the favorite to win the Mexican elections this Sunday. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Ruben Cortes, Mexico, 28 June 2018 — It is impossible to separate Cuba from the political essence of Mexican presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, often referred to as AMLO. In his 50s, he has only left Mexico twice: both times he went to Cuba

“López Obrador will be the person with the most moral and political authority in Mexico when the system collapses and, with him, the mafia of power,” Fidel Castro wrote before dying. “Commander Fidel is a social and political fighter of great dimensions,” said AMLO after the death of the Cuban dictator.

And the populist roots of AMLO come from Cuba, from Fidel’s political preceptor: Eduardo Chibás.

So just 130 miles from Cancun there have been no elections since 1947, thanks, precisely, to Chibas, one of the first populists of the continent and from whom AMLO takes his slogan of “Valiant Honesty.”

In 1945, with the motto “Shame versus money,” Chibás burst into Cuba’s democracy, the first in the continent to achieve the vote for women, eliminate racial segregation by law and establish the eight-hour workday, as well as benefits for the workers.

Populist and demagogue, Chibas fought against corruption and verbally assaulted his adversaries, riling up the crowds against institutions that had held seven free elections when, for example, in Mexico, there had been none.

The same institutions that had turned Cuba into one of the most prosperous countries in the world, and legalized the Communist Party, while 90 miles away in the United Statest the party was persecuted and some of its members were fried in the electric chair by McCarthyism.

But the populist Chibas insisted on the need for a “fourth transformation” in Cuba, leading the crowds as a great sower of distrust and suspicion in the already thriving Cuban democracy of the 1940s.

The flamboyant discourse of Chibás destroyed the political class and Cuban democratic institutions forever. As a systematic sniper at the system, he psychologically prepared the Cuban people for the acceptance of the end of the democratic life that had been built since 1902.

Chibás committed suicide on August 5, 1951, shooting himself in the stomach on a live a radio program, because he could not present evidence of corruption against a minister. With the end of his life the political party he had created with friends and family to win the presidency also ended.

And Cuba fell into chaos: Batista’s coup on March 10, 1952, Fidel Castro’s dictatorship in 1959, political persecutions, purges, exiles…

Today, AMLO revives that Cuban movie from Chibás, with his idea of the “fourth transformation of Mexico.” And those “transformations” (let’s not forget) are always demagogic ways of naming different types of dictatorships.


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