The New Mexican Revolution
July 3, 2018

By Adalberto Méndez López

Mexico has been marked by resistance movements since its origins. During the XVI Century the Aztecs and Mayan fought against the Spanish conquerors who invaded the country. The Mexican War for Independence began in 1810, and one century after it, the Mexican Revolution in 1910. Mexican history has been written through the resistance of its people. In recent years they have been fighting against a corrupt government, and on Sunday the resistance bore fruit in a spectacular way.

Late on Sunday, the official results for the Mexican elections were announced, and Andrés Manuel López Obrador was elected as the next President of Mexico. This was a historical election in so many ways, including that López Obrador won 53% of the votes in a field of five candidates, more than double those of his closest rival, Ricardo Anaya.

This is the first time that a leftist candidate won an open election in Mexico, which has been governed during the last century just for two political parties, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and National Action Party (PAN). The PRI was in power for 77 of the last 89 years, and the PAN, for a period of twelve years. An amazing fact is that the political party of López Obrador, named MORENA, was created in 2014; just four years were needed by the emergent party to win the elections in Mexico.

This is the third time that López Obrador has run for the presidency, being defeated in 2006 by Felipe Calderón and in 2012 by the current President, Enrique Peña Nieto. During his campaign he stated that if he lost a third time, it would be his last. 

But once again, Mexican people showed how resistance makes change possible. The ruling PRI lost every single gubernatorial election and obtained the lowest national vote total in its history, with just 15% voting for their candidates. The PRI is now in a deep crisis. 

It seems that a new revolution has emerged in Mexico, with votes in place of violence. The new Mexican Revolution started by defeating the old regime, asking for a new, legitimate government. López Obrador just became in the first openly elected leftist President of Mexico while earning the most presidential votes in Mexican history.

And this new revolution goes further. The elected mayor of Mexico City is Claudia Sheinbaum, an international well recognized scientist specialized in climate change and first woman mayor of one of the biggest metropolises in the world. Additionally, the cabinet presented by López Obrador are half women, becoming the first-ever parity cabinet in the history of Mexico.

Finally, these elections were the first with independent candidates running for President. Jaime Rodríguez Calderón, the only independent candidate, obtained around 5% of the votes. Again, Mexican voters showed that they want change outside of the traditional, corrupt party systems. Sunday’s elections were oxygen to Mexican democracy in more ways than one.

Now, Mexico and the entire world will watch to see how the newly elected President (who takes office in December) will deal with the security problems of the country, severe social inequality and the delicate economic situation. López Obrador and his new cabinet will have their work cut out for them.

López Obrador announced his victory in the main square of Mexico City in front of tens of thousands of voters. In his speech, he promised that his government will be marked by three basic principles: (i) not lying, (ii) not stealing and (iii) not betraying the people. Great words without a doubt – and voters have shown that they will hold him to account. The Mexican people have demonstrated, once again, that they are stronger than corrupt institutions, that the blood of the revolution still runs through their veins.

Adalberto Méndez López is the Justice Travel Country Representative in Mexico.