AMLO and the Failure of Populism

Andrés Manuel López Obrador colloquially known as AMLO was elected Mexico’s latest president as part of the global wave of populism. Ordinary people feel that the political process is finally acknowledging their needs. Many of Donald Trump’s supporters feel that they have been neglected, thus they voted for Trump. Brexit was also the result of voters voting to get acknowledged. AMLO was elected to weed out corruption and bring violence down in México.

But like Donald Trump, AMLO has failed in the delivery of one of his core promises. It is to get control of the violence in México. AMLO recently deployed the National Guard, a federal militarized national police force that purports to weed corruption out and end the rampant violence across the country. The national guard was activated in June and immediately deployed across the country.

However, instead of focusing on their stated mandate of controlling narco-violence, AMLO’s national guard has instead been deployed to intercept and stop migrants from using México as a springboard to the United States. AMLO did this as the result of Donald Trump’s threat to force México to accept a third-nation agreement for migrants crossing México to get to the U.S.

AMLO took the national guard he planned to use to control violence and instead deployed them to stop Central American migrants from reaching the U.S.

AMLO did this to avert punitive tariffs threatened by Trump. AMLO’s focus is national policy and does not want nor does he care about dealing with international issues. It follows the populist notion that a county should first focus inward instead of engaging on foreign policy adventures.

Unfortunately for populism, the world is no longer isolated countries able to survive by looking inward instead of globally.

This is especially true for México.

Today, many Mexicans have a very distasteful view of former president Carlos Salinas de Gortari. The fact, however, is that it is de Gortari that should be credited by everyone for keeping México from becoming Venezuela.

De Gortari was the architect – on the Mexican side – for NAFTA. Although NAFTA hurt the economies of many Mexicans, hence the populism that got AMLO elected, it is NAFTA that has reduced the need for many Mexicans to migrate to the US for work and the reason the Mexican economy is not dependent on an oil economy today. Today, Mexico’s economy is one of the top twenty economies in the world.

This is because if NAFTA.

Prior to NAFTA, it was populism that kept the Mexican economy dependent on agriculture and oil. It is populism that has destroyed the Venezuelan economy.

It is also populism that is using immigrants as pawns for AMLO’s domestic agenda and Donald Trump’s hatred of immigrants.

However, homicides in México are surging even though the national guard has been deployed. Instead of controlling narco-violence, AMLO has let it get out of control.

AMLO capitulated in the name of populism and has relinquished the government’s multi-year effort to bring narco-violence down across the country. AMLO turned his back on the most vulnerable – immigrants – so that he could keep the illusion of populism alive in México.

The problem is that populism always fails because it is selfish and ignores the reality of today’s global environment.