Mexico’s presidency is going communist, following in the footsteps of Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega, and Hugo Chávez. But Mexico is not a thousand miles away like Venezuela or tiny like Cuba and Nicaragua. It’s huge — one-third the size of the U.S. — and shares a long border with us.
In the Mexican elections, scheduled for July 1, voters are apparently going to choose an authoritarian socialist — Andrés Manuel López Obrador (nicknamed AMLO) — as their new president.
AMLO leads the field with 51 percent of the vote, trailed by the PAN candidate Ricardo Anaya at 25 percent and the PRI nominee Jose Antonio Meade at 22 percent.
(I have worked for the PAN candidates in the past three elections including successful nominees Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderon. In the Calderon campaign, I worked hard to defeat AMLO. But I am not involved in this campaign).
AMLO is as radical as they come. He is a true Fidelista or, in more modern vernacular a Chavista (after Hugo Chávez of Venezuela) or a Sandinista (after Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua). National Review called AMLO a “Chávez wannabe.” He described Fidel Castro as “a giant,” who “knew how to steer his people and achieve authentic, true independence.” He is a dedicated socialist who we can count on being inveterately hostile to the United States in general and Donald Trump in particular.
Already the blame game in the U.S. has started. The Atlantic headlined its story about AMLO’s likely victory “Mexico’s Revenge” saying that “by antagonizing the U.S.’s neighbor to the south, Donald Trump has made the classic bully’s error: He has underestimated his victim.”
Just as Senator Joseph McCarthy enlivened the early fifties with the question “who lost China?” so we will hear a lot about who lost Mexico. The left will attribute AMLO’s victory to President Trump’s harsh rhetoric on immigration and his threat to build a wall on the southern border. But AMLO is winning, not because of Trump, but because Mexican voters feel they have no alternative. Twice they have looked to avoid AMLO, in 2006 voting for Calderon and in 2012 electing Enrique Peña Nieto. Now, they feel they have nowhere to turn but AMLO.
This is his third race for president. Mexicans have wisely rejected him twice before. In 2006, he narrowly lost to Felipe Calderon and refused to recognize the vote count. He held his own inauguration and egged his supporters on to occupy the entire downtown of Mexico City for months, blocking traffic and stopping Congress from meeting.
AMLO backs amnesty for drug kingpins and, when asked in 2006 about their beheading of police officers, would only answer “love and peace.” Interviewed by the Mexican media, he kept repeating his mantra in this exchange:
– Aren’t you worried about what is happening with drug trafficking?
– I’m not answering that, we are in truce. Love and peace.
– The narcos left a message to the government. What do you say?
– I’m not going to answer. I offer apologies to all. Love and peace.
– Are you afraid to provoke the drug lords?
– I’m not going to answer, because if I say “a” or “b” they can misinterpret.
– But aren’t you worried about the climate of violence?
– What happens is that right now I’m at peace with my conscience.
– Are you going to be able to fight the narcos?
– Well, this municipality is called Tenosique, it borders with Guatemala and Chiapas. We go later to Balancán and later we will go to Ciudad del Carmen so you can rest, because you deserve it.
– What does that matter when blood is running?
– I offer an apology, but the truth, the truth, the truth, the truth, the truth… You have the right to ask; but right now I’m on a voluntary media blackout.
– And the drug trafficking?
– Love and peace.
But after the bloody war waged by PAN president Calderon which saw over 120,000 people killed, mostly by the cartels, during his term in office, the PAN could not hold back the AMLO avalanche. The corrupt PRI, chosen in desperation by Mexican voters to avoid AMLO or PAN winning, has gotten so larcenous that it has no hope of winning, even as some of its worst leaders jump ship to AMLO’s allied National Regeneration Movement Party (MORENA) Party.
Like Fidel Castro did when he took power, AMLO downplays his leftism and uses the words of democracy and capitalism to lull us into complacency. But he is our enemy and devoted ideological foe.
American businesses, lured to Mexico by the promise of NAFTA, should reconsider their investments and pull out now while the getting is good. Confiscations and nationalizations are very likely to come soon after AMLO takes power.
We have enough problems with Mexico over NAFTA but when AMLO takes over, they are bound to worsen. Indeed, AMLO would clearly scrap NAFTA entirely if he could get away with it. As it is, Trump’s intransigence will probably give him the excuse he needs to kill it.
Mexicans also may not be able to get rid of AMLO when his constitutional term of six years (with no re-election allowed) is over. He will likely seek, as the other Marxist rulers in the hemisphere have done, constitutional change to permit re-election. This July 1 may be Mexico’s last free election.
We have never faced so clear a danger on our border as we will after July 1. It is entirely too late to avoid it. AMLO is certain to win.
And, then, la deluge!
Dick Morris is a former campaign adviser for President Bill Clinton, and worked with presidential campaigns in Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, and Guyana. He is also a political author, pollster, and consultant. His most recent book, “Rogue Spooks,” was written with his wife, Eileen McGann.