Series

How did AMLO do?

Link in Bio with Jenny and Alejandro
The president of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, or AMLO, has been called both Mexico’s Hugo Chavez and Mexico’s Donald Trump – he loves attention and often says things just to troll his haters. But how did he do? Prof. Rudy Alamillo of Western Washington University weighs in on the controversial leader’s record.
Show transcript
00:00
So the president of Mexico,
00:02
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador or Amlo,
00:05
as many people know him has been called both Mexico's Hugo
00:10
Chavez and Mexico's Donald Trump.
00:14
Oh, he loves attention and often says things just to troll
00:18
his haters. Yeah.
00:21
So thankfully here to explain how the election is going is Professor
00:25
Rudy Alamillo of Western Washington University.
00:29
Hi, Rudy, welcome.
00:32
Hi. Thank you for having me.
00:34
Thank you for coming on.
00:36
So we wanted to ask you what is am low's track record
00:40
as president. So Amlo is certainly a populist in the
00:44
vein of, of a Donald Trump or,
00:45
or a Hugo Chavez has this strong anti elite message.
00:49
And when we compare Mexico's presidents in the most democratic era.
00:54
So from 1994 until,
00:56
until Amlo came into office in 2018,
00:58
many of them were focused on strengthening democracy and not so much
01:02
on delivering social services to the people in Mexico.
01:05
And when Amlo came in as this outsider,
01:09
he not only established this very broad safety net by
01:13
establishing pensions for the elderly pensions for the disabled apprenticeship programs for
01:18
young people, but he did that by in fact cutting the
01:20
salaries and benefits of politicians.
01:23
So day one in office,
01:24
he cut his own salary by 60%.
01:27
And then his party passed a law saying that no member
01:31
of, of government,
01:32
no one who works for the government can have a higher salary
01:34
than the president. So immediately we see all of these elites
01:37
taking like these these salary pay cuts.
01:39
And I think relative to someone like Hugo Chavez or even Donald
01:42
Trump here in the United States,
01:44
Amlo certainly walks the walk and and delivers a lot more on
01:47
these promises. So for his supporters in Mexico,
01:50
he has been doing a fantastic job these last six years
01:53
Interesting. No.
01:55
Yeah. So he took a pay cut but there's still like
01:57
allegations that he's taking money from like,
02:00
you know, drug traffickers.
02:01
Do you think have always responded at all to that fact
02:04
or those allegations I think am low has,
02:08
has done an excellent job of presenting his critics as,
02:11
as folks who are attacking him because of all the changes that
02:16
he's tried to make in Mexico with regards to,
02:19
to bringing up the the poor and middle classes at the expense
02:22
of the wealthy. So any criticism you you levy at Amlo
02:25
whether it be a sexist comment he made about someone running
02:28
for president or, or ties supposed ties with,
02:31
with Narco traffickers, Amlo can just easily just kind of like
02:34
shrug it off his shoulder and say no,
02:36
that's not me. That's,
02:37
that's what my rivals are saying.
02:39
And in this case where we have,
02:41
you know, specific allegations being made by the DEA it's very
02:44
easy for Amlo to say,
02:46
well, of course,
02:46
the United States doesn't like me.
02:48
The DEA is somehow working on behalf of the United States
02:51
in order to, to tarnish my legacy.
02:53
So am low's opponents are certainly trying to capitalize on.
02:58
But Amlo supporters, I think when,
03:00
when you look at folks who have been the the beneficiary of
03:03
of these substantial social spending programs,
03:06
nothing is really going to to tarnish their image of him
03:09
because he's just delivered so much to the people in a way
03:12
that no real president in Mexican history has going back until at
03:16
least like the 19 fifties.
03:17
I wanted to ask one last question.
03:19
It's only been about 20 years since Mexicans really had multiple parties
03:24
and candidates to choose from.
03:26
How is democracy working out?
03:28
That, that's an excellent question.
03:30
I think when Mexico transitioned to a democracy,
03:34
one of the the hard lessons for Mexico to learn coming from
03:38
a dictatorship was that in democracy,
03:40
as we know here in the United States,
03:41
things move very, very slowly because you have divided government when
03:45
the dictatorship of the pri was in power from the 19 twenties
03:48
until about the year 2000.
03:50
If they wanted to get something done,
03:51
they just passed it and it was done.
03:53
It was a single party dictatorship.
03:55
But the interesting thing is from about 1998 until 2018 when Amlo
03:59
came into office, no one party in Mexico controlled the president
04:04
and both chambers of the legislature.
04:06
So there was divided government for about 20 years,
04:08
which essentially meant that that a lot of nothing got done in
04:11
Mexico until Amlo came in.
04:13
So Amlo is not only doing lots of things,
04:16
but compared to all of his predecessors,
04:18
he looks like someone who's delivering on democracy in a way that
04:21
that no one else really has.
04:23
It's very insightful. Thank you so much,
04:25
Professor Rudy. We really appreciate your time.
04:28
Thank you for having me.
04:28
It was a great time now.
04:30
When can people find you on social or?
04:32
absolutely, you can find me on Twitter and,
04:34
and my links to,
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to everything else will be on Twitter.
04:37
It's it's at my name,
04:38
so at Rudy Rudy Alamillo A L Ami Llo.
04:44
Thank you so much.
04:45
Thank you so much,
04:45
Rudy. Thank you.
04:47
Take care. Good one.