by Michael Dorfman
On this very pleasant Sunday morning in San Miguel de Allende, México, I would like to give you my perspective regarding the election of the new president in Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO).
As a resident of México for 40 years, I´ve been through several elections, dating back to the 1970s. Then, it was a forlorn conclusion that the PRI party would always win. That party, which was to be in control for seventy years, would just select it´s next president and the population would accept the decision. The PRI was never expected to lose. It was called the "dedazo", which meant that they would just have to point their finger at the presidential successor.
I remember when the PAN party won for the first time, in 2000. That was actually the first time that Mexicans saw a potential for change. However that didn´t "pan" out very well and the result was same ole, same ole.
During these past 6 years, under President Peña Nieto, the situation in Mexico has gotten much worse, with corruption, violence and crime reaching epic proportions and with social and wealth inequality among the worst in Latin America. More than 40% of the population is poor and 17% live in extreme poverty. The people were becoming fed up and begging for change. AMLO who had run for president twice and lost both times, finally achieved success.
Just as what happened with Obama, I consider this election a phenomenon. It was the perfect moment in time when something like this could happen. Everything was aligned. Just as Obama represented hope after the Bush years of wars, WMDs and economic crises, AMLO now represents hope for the millions of Mexicans that have been brushed aside for so many decades.
For the Mexican people, AMLO represents honesty, sincerity, compassion and empathy...qualities that very few politicians offer...anywhere. 63% of the population voted in this election, the most ever and he received 53% which more than doubled the nearest candidate: This landslide was so significant that less than 2 hours after the exit poles were counted the other candidates admitted defeat. This meant a lot with respect to the calmness that would follow...and still continues.
Of course it´s impossible to predict what will happen once AMLO becomes President on December 1st. One thing he has in his favor is that the voters gave him complete control of the Congress, so he has no excuses for not fulfilling at least some of his promises...of course with citizen participation. It amazes me that, wherever he goes, he doesn´t have bodyguards...no security at all. I watched his closing speech, three days before the election, at the Aztec Stadium in Mexico City, one of the largest soccer stadiums in the world, with a capacity of 100,000. The place was packed, with thousands unable to get in. AMLO walked alone towards the stage, shaking hands, signing autographs and even taking selfies with some of the crowd. At age 64 he´s relentless. In the months leading up to the election he literally visited cities and towns in every corner of the country, sometimes giving speeches in 3 or 4 cities in the same day.
For those that are not happy with AMLO, I believe that it´s time to accept that the wheels of change are in motion and the train has begun to move. We can either get on board, or we can continue to complain, as we have done during so many decades of frustration. After all, if we truly want peace and prosperity for all maybe, with a totally new perspective, and the changes that are to come, our hopes can finally become reality.
Michael Dorfman was born in Brooklyn, New York on January 6, 1942. He received his B. A. at Brooklyn College and completed 2 years post-graduate work in Educational Psychology at Queens College. Once he finished his formal education in 1964, he decided to travel through Mexico and ended up meeting his wife Delia in Mexico City, in 1969. Michael fell in love with Mexico and ended up spending 40 years of his life here. Before moving to San Miguel, three years ago, they lived 29 years in Cancún. Michael´s passion is whole food plant based nutrition. He became a vegetarian in 1976 and adopted a whole food vegan lifestyle 7 years ago. He is interested in providing the latest cutting edge information on the benefits of this lifestyle. Last year in San Miguel he gave interactive presentations in Lifepath Center, Via Orgánica, Mercado Sano and Sala Quetzal at the Bibliotéca. This year, the plan is to give presentations at the Veganfest, which will be a monthly event at Mercado Sano.
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