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A Changing México

Por: Mimmi Lounela  •  11/5/2019  •  Exam  •  1.365 Palavras (6 Páginas)  •  20 Visualizações

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Changing Mexico

This paper is going to examine and compare the political strategies of the recently chosen president of Mexico, AMLO, and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, EZLN. Both, MORENA and AMLO as well as the Zapatistas have a clear ambition to transform Mexican society and politics, also sharing many objectives - the strategies to pursue these political goals however differ greatly. AMLO and his new party MORENA have brought change to the electoral field of Mexican politics by winning the presidential elections and getting a majority in the Mexican legislature as a complete newcomer. The Zapatistas, conversely, have been known for their strategy of staying out of electoral politics and pursuing societal change through other methods.

The Zapatistas are a mostly indigenous group from Chiapas, southern Mexico, that rose to fame 1.1.1994, when they seized Chiapas cities grabbing arms in response to the NAFTA agreement. As many Latin American social movements the EZLN was born out of frustration towards neoliberal globalisation - agribusinesses and ranching were threatening their livelihoods and high-birth rates were putting more pressure on land. The indigenous population of Mexico together with the other Latin American indigenous peoples have been excluded from politics and marginalized in the society for centuries, thus the frustration is not surprising. (Hellinger, 2015, p.380, Stahler-Sholk, Vanden, Becker, 2015, p.19-23)

After the armed conflict of 1994 that lasted 12 days, the Zapatistas have remained a peaceful strong social movement with transnational allies. The EZLN has since used different forms of resistance to achieve their political objectives of anti-capitalism, indigenous rights and social justice. They have created autonomous municipalities, carachols, in Chiapas area, used internet to spread their message and created their own way of doing politics - staying outside the race for state power. (Stahler-Sholk, 2010)

The recently chosen Mexican president Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador, with the nickname AMLO, is a seasoned politician. He started his political career from PRI, then switching to PRD before creating his own political “movement” Movimiento Regeneración Nacional, (MORENA). He ran for president in 2006 and 2012 as a PRD candidate, losing with a very small margin (1% and 6%), before winning the 2018 elections as a MORENA candidate. (Macip, 2018, Stevenson, 2018, Hellinger, 2015, p. 362)

MORENA and AMLO do share some central objectives with the Zapatistas. They are also against neoliberal economic policies and emphasize inclusivity, pluralism and social justice for the oppressed. Some of the more difficult objectives to achieve are the ones related to stopping drug related violence through integration and ending corruption once and for all, as well as creating generous social security systems without raising taxes. (Stevenson, 2018)

The outcomes of AMLO’s presidency are to be evaluated in the future, but his strategy and the undeniable reshaping of Mexican politics can already be assessed. It has to be noted that the Mexican political arena has been very stagnated for very long - it has been a three party system ruled by the ‘dinosaurs’, PRI and PAN, together with the PRD, that, while starting from a coalition of small leftist parties and unsatisfied previous PRI members, resembles nowadays more and more of the old parties. (Hellinger, 2015, p. 358-359, 362)

AMLO came to the 2018 elections with a party that was almost disguised as a social movement. The reality is, however, that MORENA is a highly personified party, built around Lopéz Obrador, who is a seasoned politician - not a social movement rebel. (Macip, 2018) The coalition behind MORENA brings about another mindworthy detail: while MORENA claims to be a new leftist movement, there are also for example conservative evangelical groups in the mix. (Stevenson, 2018)

The success of this strategy is unquestionable - the people disappointed and frustrated by the “old game of politics” voted for a new alternative, and thus AMLO together with MORENA was able to change the political map in Mexico, adding a completely new party into the parliament. The populist tendencies cannot be ignored however. MORENA seems to be a catch-all party, built around AMLO’s charisma. Lopéz Obrador himself is regarded almost as a political vanguard, a saviour, whereas many critics see his promises as thoroughly unrealistic. Time will tell, but many times the new revolutionary movements have become tamed versions of themselves when inside the political system, as happened to AMLO’s old party, PRD. (Stevenson, 2018, Macip, 2018, Hellinger, 2015, p.362)


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