Saturday, October 1, 2022
HomeGlobalWho commands here?

Who commands here?

The message had a high political and economic cost, but it was resounding. Now, however, that forcefulness softens.

On October 30, 2018 –two days after announcing the cancellation of the Texcoco airport and a month before assuming the presidential power–, Andrés Manuel López Obrador made three things clear: it would not be a vase, it would not be for decoration and he brought a mandate. Even so, and in case there was any doubt, on the table next to the president-elect, the book was arranged, like someone who does not want the thing: Who’s in charge here?: The global crisis of representative democracy. That compilation of essays, with a prologue by the Spanish Felipe González. The message was clear. If the electoral triumph was recognized, forced to accept the political consequence. The Tabasco would not be the clown of the slaps.

That position was reiterated halfway through the mandate, despite the chiaroscuro that had already marked and marked his management ever since. Three years after exercising presidential power, on the baseboard, the president ratified his creed: no running to the center, staying well with everyone, weighing anchor on principles, blurring or zigzagging. He slightly varied the formulation of the posture, but it was practically the same.

The president did not change, but the context did. Hope began to fade. The handling of the pandemic left something to be desired. The balance of the intermediate elections expanded the territorial domain of Morena –not in the capital of the Republic and other cities–, but reduced it to the district level, losing room for maneuver in the Legislative. The announcement without presentation of new constitutional reforms deepened the uncertainty. The expectations generated –with the exception of the labor and tax spheres– have not been met so far. Some postulates of the project collided with powerful interests or in disagreement with important social sectors, imposing a brake on investment and reducing the momentum of government action. The mistake of precipitating the succession race vitiated the governmental and legislative task. The lawsuits between important collaborators or the clash of their personal interests, revealed a crisis in the president’s close team. The context changed, but not the posture, since the moment required an adjustment.

Today, the presidential command resents this circumstance. When he does not incur in contradiction, he stumbles or misaligns himself and, unintentionally, restates the question that Andrés Manuel López Obrador wanted to answer even before taking presidential power as his own. Faced with such confusion, the president acts as if nothing were happening or pretending to believe that there is no confusion.

The field where the setbacks, contradictions or confusion are most notorious is in the diplomatic field.

In the face of the conflict unleashed by Russia, one is the foreign policy that tempts the Presidency, another is the one that fortunately deploys the Foreign Ministry and one more is the one promoted in the Chamber of Deputies, which gives rise to the excesses of the ambassadors of the United States and Russia, Ken Salazar and Victor Koronelli. The State is in a bad, very bad situation. What is the foreign policy?

That issue adds a complication to the economic, trade and environmental relationship with the United States. The electrical reform causes acrimony with the neighbor to the north, which is sometimes revered as a business partner and sometimes seen as the evil empire. And, in the lack of definition or contradiction, it forces the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to juggle.

What is the priority in that relationship and who sets it? In other words, who’s in charge there? The questioning does not appeal to impose discipline and demand loyalty before the presidential dictate, it urges to put into play intelligence, useful for the purpose of solving problems without giving up principles.

Something similar occurs with public security policy.

Now more gunshots are heard than hugs are seen and the poor and unacceptable justification for the massacres is revived, attributing them to the dispute between cartels or gangs. At the same time, a shift in the role of the Armed Forces is becoming more and more evident, they went into action or, at least, to try to rescue places devastated by crime and, perhaps, for this reason, they are now arresting more criminal kingpins. There is thus a change in practice even if not in discourse.

In the midst of this adjustment made in silence, it is ensured that the strategy works and a contradiction emerges: if so, why reform the Constitution again to assign the National Guard to the Army? Why fix what isn’t supposed to be broken? It sounds absurd. In any case, if this reform were carried out, without the Guard, what would be the point of the Secretary of Security? The poor faculties and remaining functions could be returned to the Interior.

What’s the plan? Who rules there?

Nothing else happens in the policy of the Executive before the Legislative.

In the last month of the ordinary period, the president urges him to draw up the electricity sector initiative in his terms and announces that he will shortly send the reform of the electoral regime that, without a doubt, will increase the tension between the parliamentary groups allied or opposed to the regime. And, according to this, the presentation of the reform related to the National Guard is imminent. In all cases, without counting the qualified majority to approve them.

Such hounding at the end of the legislative period reveals an absence of legislative priorities. In short, a clear command.

The question that Andrés Manuel López Obrador thought he answered even without assuming power, today he himself rethinks when exercising it: Who’s in charge here?

Recent posts