Mexico has suffered seriously the past couple of weeks. A hurricane dropped tons of rain up and down the coast as far north as Southern California. A 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck on Sept. 19, the anniversary of deadly quakes in 1985 and 2017. A tsunami was generated and hit western Mexico’s coast.
Meanwhile President Andres Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is running around in circles and surrounding himself with uniformed army and navy officers who suck up to him so they will be rewarded with lucrative multi-billion dollar construction projects.
Additionally, the president has ordered the army and navy to manage ports of entry and to act as customs officers assigned to collect customs duties that amount to billions of pesos.
The army has built an inadequate national airport that doesn’t work and is too far from its market. It is building the 950-mile “Maya Train” in the poorest part of Mexico, the five states of Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatan, Chiapas, Oaxaca and Tabasco, the last of which is Lopez Obrador’s home state. It is doing so without court approved environmental studies.
Unlike the American Army Corps of Engineers, Mexico’s army has little experience in the assignments from Lopez Obrador. The army needs work to do because it faces no international conflict and the president has relieved it of responsibilities it previously had of making war on the narco cartels.
Lopez Obardo prefers to implement a “hugs not bullets” policy that orders the army to not hunt and fight the narcos.
The results of three years of “hugs not bullets” are obvious. More people have been murdered under President Lopez Obrador than ever before, and army generals are richer than ever because they are stealing from construction projects while under cover of “national security.”
Yes, Lopez Obrador has slapped a “national security” label on the army projects so that no court or government agency can demand expense reports of any sort. No one knows what the airport cost, what the Maya Train is costing or how much is being spent on Lopez Obrador’s national bank with thousands of buildings being erected for local bank branches.
To sweeten the army’s pot and create more opportunities to steal everything not nailed down, Lopez Obrador has ordered his water carriers in the Congress to bypass the Mexican Constitution and switch the new National Guard from civilian control to management by the army.
When Lopez Obrador announced the guard’s command transfer to the army, legal experts loudly proclaimed that the Constitution prohibited this. To change or amend the Constitution requires a two-thirds super-majority in the two houses of the Mexican congress.
Lopez Obrador doesn’t have a two-thirds majority so he simply sent the Chamber of Deputies a regular congressional bill that it passed with a simple majority. Sent to the Senate, the bill is on shaky ground and may not pass.
The problem, however, is that Lopez Obrador simply ignored “regular order” — constitutional order — to try to legalize his unconstitutional aim. He is a blatant outlaw.
As the world knows, Mexico celebrates independence from Spain on the night of Sept. 15/16, the night 212 years ago when Fr. Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla declared independence from Spain. Mexican presidents traditionally reenact Miguel Hidalgo’s cry for independence from a balcony of the national palace on the gigantic Zocalo town square in Mexico City.
Surrounded by army officers and an estimated crowd of 140,000 people, Lopez Obrador waved a large Mexican flag and enthusiastically shouted Fr. Hidalgo’s call for independence from Spain.
He added cries of “death to bad government,” “death to corruption,” “death to classism” and “death to racism.”
Imagine that from an autocrat who ignores the constitution and supports Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Raoul Lowery Contreras is a Marine Corps veteran, political consultant and author of the new book White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPS) & Mexicans. His work has appeared in the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.