Hundreds of thousands gather to hear Mexico leader’s state of union report

Mexico City, Nov 27 (EFE).- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador mixed for over five hours with hundreds of thousands of supporters who gathered on Sunday in this capital’s huge El Zocalo central square to hear his report on his administration’s fourth year in power.

“Love is repaid with love,” Lopez Obrador, colloquially known as AMLO, told the throng at the start of his address.

Without showing any signs of being tired despite just having made the long walk from the emblematic Angel of Indepencence monument to the Zocalo – where the National Palace, the presidential residence and the seat of government, is located – AMLO mounted a stage set up on the plaza at 3 pm to begin delivering his report, albeit four hours later than planned.

In his speech, which lasted more than 90 minutes, the Mexican leader touted the achievements of his administration, which began on Dec. 1, 2018.

“I’m very pleased to be with you all,” the president said, taking a few minutes to down a glass of water after having mingled with the ebullient crowd before he began his address, highlighting the presence of young people in the crowd and also mentioning those who could not be present.

“It really struck me and made me very happy that the majority of those who participated in the march (to the Zocalo) are young people. That’s a generational change,” AMLO said, smiling broadly.

He also said he wanted to dedicate this day to “those who went before,” noting that “They’re going to continue being with us forever. They’ve closed their eyes, but they’re still keeping watch, and they must be very happy. We dedicate this event to them.”

AMLO enumerated 110 “actions and achievements” by his government, saying that all of them were carried out with people “from below,” adding that he had never excluded anyone since coming to power and saying “First, the poor,” several times during his address.

He also said that much remains to be done, noting that some of these tasks will be completed before he ends his term in 2024 and others after he leaves but his party, the National Renewal Movement, continues its work, although he said, “No to re-election!”

He also mentioned issues like scholarships and other direct economic aid to the public that, he claimed, goes to 85 percent of Mexico’s families, and in particular the attention and respect being paid to the country’s indigenous peoples, and the 62 percent hike in the minimum wage during his tenure in office.

Lopez Obrador also emphasized the signature projects launched during his administration such as the Felipe Angeles International Airport, which is already operating although with only a few daily flights, and the Maya Railroad, the construction of which – he said – will only be completed after his term of office is over.

In addition, he used a considerable portion of his speech to emphasize the arrival of the “fourth transformation,” as his campaign to end political corruption is called. “To hell with all that,” he said.

And he criticized hard-line conservatism, saying that “The true doctrine of hard-line conservatism is hypocrisy.”

“Let’s continue making history,” AMLO urged the crowd, ending his address by saying: “Let’s continue pushing the revolution of conscience, let’s make Mexican humanism a glorious reality. Long live Mexico!”

The crowd went wild, shouting phrases like “It’s a honor to be with Obrador,” the slogan used by his presidential campaign before he came into office.

Otherwise, the day was relatively calm and without incident despite authorities’ concern for the president’s safety and how to manage the huge crowd anticipated to jam the Zocalo.

On Nov. 16, Lopez Obrador announced that he would deliver his report on his fourth year in office on Nov. 27, instead of on Dec. 1, in the huge Mexico City plaza after a march that he would lead himself.

The announcement was made just three days after thousands of people, most of whom opposed AMLO, took to the streets of the capital and other Mexican cities to defend the National Electoral Institute (INE), the country’s top election authority, and against the election reform policy being pushed by the president.

The reform, which AMLO presented in April and which will soon be debated in Congress, has sparked controversy because it would put the selection of the INE board and the judges on the electoral court to a popular vote.

AMLO has been a long-time critic of Mexico’s electoral authorities, accusing them of working to ensure his defeat when he ran for the presidency in 2006 and 2012.

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