AMLO during the closure of his presidential campaign. Wikimedia Commons.
Among the inordinate challenges that new Mexican president Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) must face up to, violence and corruption come out on top.
With more than 25,000 homicides (70 per day), 2017 was one of the bloodiest years in last decades in Mexico, a country which is among the 10 most violent in the world according to the International Institute of Strategic Studies.
The issue of corruption is also of extreme importance. According to the Global Index of Corruption, Mexico is ranked 135 out of 180 countries evaluated regarding their approaches to tackle the problem.
The task facing the new president therefore is monstrous. How can AMLO put an end to these two problems that plague Mexico today, and Latin America as a whole?
AMLO intends to undertake 12 legal reforms, including an austerity plan that proposes reducing salaries, eliminating certain institutions and decentralising authority.
The Republican Austerity Plan
In an ambitious move that would reform the entire structure of the state, AMLO intends to undertake 12 legal reforms, including an austerity plan that proposes reducing salaries, eliminating certain institutions and decentralising authority.
The idea is tackle the issue of salary gaps, controlling public spending, and dealing with impunity that acts as feedstock for corrupt officials.
Eliminating immunity and privileges
Article 108 of the Mexican Constitution prevents any president from being put on trial for charges of corruption. Additionally, the concept of immunity in Mexico prevents the likes of senators from being put on trial during their terms in office.
One of the priorities of AMLO is to end immunity and political privileges thus opening a path for government employees to be punished for crimes relating to corruption whilst in office.
Increasing or reducing sentences
Neutralising the wave of violence that has torn through Mexico is essential if AMLO is to govern with success. One of AMLO’s proposals in an attempt to tackle violence is to change the focus from repression to prevention, by promoting policies that deal with poverty and inequality as a way to decrease violence.
A key element of this new policy would be the decriminalisation of drugs, starting with marihuana. It is believed that the war on drugs and clashes between different drug gangs are the main causes of violent deaths in Mexico.
“Violence can’t be tackled with more violence” says AMLO. These words show that his strategy could lead towards what he himself has referred to as a “plan of peace and reconciliation”, including some amnesties.
There are still many uncertainties regarding how, in practical terms, this would work in which narco-violence is the rule of law.
With a left-wing government that wishes to place its citizens at the centre of its political pursuits, Mexico has a greater opportunity now more than ever to tackle corruption and violence.
Reducing gender based violence
Mexico is also at the top of the list of countries in which femicide is most prevalent around the world. According to UN Women, there are more than 7 femicides every day in Mexico, an alarming revelation that should be a concern for the next government.
Entities such as the National Citizen Observatory for Femicide have asked AMLO to declare his strategy to tackle this terrible and cruel manifestation of hatred towards women and those who do not conform to gender norms.
Mexico, whose GDP is among the 20 biggest in the world, is affected by issues that plague the poorest countries of the world that have been devastated by wars.
However, with a left-wing government that wishes to place its citizens at the centre of its political pursuits, Mexico has a greater opportunity now more than ever to tackle corruption and violence in a different way from the two previous administrations that have only worsened these grave problems.
AMLO will have to prove from day one his capacity to live up to the promises of his campaign and create true structural changes, making violence and corruption eradication policies a reality with the world watching.
Will AMLO be the one to implement these changes that have been so eagerly anticipated by Mexicans for decades?