Mexico’s next president, AMLO, to be sworn in Saturday

World Today

Mexico's next president, AMLO, to be sworn in Saturday

The next President of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, will be sworn into office on Saturday. Foreign dignitaries will be at the inauguration, including the presidents of Cuba and Venezuela and officials from China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

CGTN’s Franc Contreras gives us a close look at Mexico’s next president.

The night of his landslide victory Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador promised to govern for all Mexicans, especially the poorest ones.

“This will be a government of the people, for the people and with the people. We will apply these three basic principles: No lying, no stealing, no betraying the people,” said Lopez Obrador on the night of his victory.

That last line has won him the trust of most Mexicans. His critics say it’s proof that he’s a populist.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was born November 13, 1953 in fishing village of Tepetitan. It’s located in the gulf coast state of Tabasco. A river named after the town runs through here.

Mexico’s next president was raised by middle-class parents in this maroon-colored home. They were merchants.  As with most traditional Mexican families, Lopez Obrador as a boy spent long afternoons in this home sharing time with his grandparents.

Baseball is the favorite past time here. Lopez Obrador played center field, third base and catcher. His talent as a home-run hitter earned him the nickname “The Grinder.”

Lopez Obrador’s childhood friend, Victor Reyes Torres was the pitcher who once purposefully threw a wild pitch that struck AMLO, forcing him to walk to first base.

 “As a boy, Lopez Obrador was really good to us. He did not treat us as less than him, even though his family had more. He spent time with us even after he left to study in Villahermosa,” said Reyes Torres. 

Lopez Obrador’s political career began when he joined Mexico’s ruling party, the PRI in 1976. He made two failed attempts to become governor of Tabasco state, the first in 1994.

He left the PRI in 1996. Four years later, he won the mayor’s race in Mexico City. In 2004, President Vicente Fox accused Lopez Obrador of breaking a law, and tried blocking him from running for the presidency.

In 2006, he lost his first run for president by the slim margin of point 58 percent of the vote. Lopez Obrador lost again in 2012, this time to his nemesis, the PRI.

But years of visiting most of Mexico’s cities, towns and villages raised his profile. He founded the MORENA party in 2014. In Tepetitian, Maria Cruz Dominguez, one of AMLO’s former neighbors, hopes he will not forget his home state, now that he has reached the highest seat of power.

Residents are waiting to see if Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will keep his one special promise to build a dock here on the shores of this river, where he once played as a boy.