Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador marks one year in power in Mexico

World Today

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador marks one year in power in MexicoMexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador arrives for his daily morning press conference at the National Palace in Mexico City on November 21, 2019. – President Lopez Obrador marks one year in office next December 1. (Photo by Pedro PARDO / AFP)

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador marks one-year in the office on December first.

Despite widespread support, Mexico still faces troubling social issues, including drug violence and a slumping economy.

CGTN’s Franc Contreras reports from Mexico City.

After two previous failed attempts at winning the presidency of Mexico, overwhelming public disdain for other political parties helped sweep Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to power in 2018.

One year after taking office, public opinion polls show he still has powerful support across Mexico, with more than 60 percent of Mexicans favoring the President’s leadership of this, the world’s most-populous, Spanish- speaking nation.

For decades, the National Palace in Mexico City’s public square was mainly used as a museum. A century earlier, it was the home to authoritarian leaders who behaved like monarchs. His supporters say he’s different.

Critics say the President often gives the impression that he isn’t proactive; hat he only reacts to problems as they emerge. For his part, Lopez Obrador this week listed what he considers his Administration’s top achievements, so far.

“First, that we are ending corruption. Next, there is no longer government spending on needless luxuries. Imagine how satisfying it is to be able to say that the previous presidency spent $3.6 billion pesos on such things. So far, we have cut government spending by $2.4 billion pesos, President Lopez Obrador said.

AMLO, as the President is widely known, says besides austerity measures, his government is investigating alleged corruption by former officials, including a Supreme Court judge, who recently resigned, and a former union leader at the powerful state-run oil company PEMEX.

But drug-related violence still plagues parts of Mexico. The highest-profile cases have been the cartel counter attack in Sinaloa State, as police tried and failed to arrest the son of jailed drug kingpin Joaquin ‘EL Chapo’ Guzman.

And the cartel massacre in northern Mexico of nine U.S. citizens belonging to a Mormon community.

Mexico’s stalled economy is another target of criticism. Opposition parties say AMLO’s decision to block the construction of an international airport project scared off foreign investors. AMLO says: not true.

Political analyst Javier Aparicio says security and the economy are the issues that worry most Mexicans.

“When you ask people about specific themes his approval ratings are much lower. Things like: How is the economy doing? Or what about security and corruption? Then, his popularity on those issues is far lower,” Javier Aparicio, a political analyst said.

When it comes to fighting widespread poverty, a majority of Mexicans support Lopez Obrador. They believe he’s taking steps to lift the poorest among them, who make-up more than 40 percent of the population.

Eduardo Arcos discusses AMLO’s first year in Mexico

To better assess AMLO’s year in office, CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg spoke to Eduardo Arcos. He’s a Mexico analyst at the consulting firm, Control Risks. He was first asked about the President’s promise to tackle cartel violence with ‘hugs not bullets.’