Friday, September 29, 2023

Five years of government: a balance sheet

Last Friday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador presented his fifth government report in Campeche, amid a political situation no less complex than on previous occasions, but with the added component of a presidential succession led by the president himself, who has acted as the main promoter such an expected pre-campaign, which ultimately dragged the opposition with its inertia. In this climate, where the partisan parameter simplifies and makes invisible the diversity of political positions in the face of reality, it is worth pausing after five years of the 4T and taking a critical and measured stock.

The report highlights achievements such as raising the minimum wage by 88 percent in real terms and a low unemployment rate; general pensions for older people and support for young people; maintaining a healthy and stable macro-economy that has been strengthened despite the pandemic; the reduction of poverty and inequality, the development of the Southeast and the commitment to energy autonomy.

From the foregoing, it is certainly necessary to take into account the good performance of the Mexican economy, especially if we start from the situation of a world crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and later aggravated by the Russo-Ukrainian war and its consequent surge became geopolitical tensions on a global scale and the resulting impact on the supply chain. It is fair to acknowledge that labor reforms and increases in the minimum wage, as well as social policies that rely on direct transfers, have had a positive impact on families. Data from Inegi and Coneval show a decrease in poverty of 7.6 percentage points compared to 2020 and 5.6 percentage points compared to 2018.

However, despite the relevance of the progress, poverty reduction continues without being reflected more deeply and lastingly in the structures that perpetuate inequality in the country and in which, particularly recently, it has anchored the dynamics of social and political polarization, which has undermined the channels of citizen dialogue; All this constitutes a favorable breeding ground for the reproduction of violence. What is missing is that the social policy of the 4T does not seem to have a medium and long-term strategic framework so that poverty reductions are truly progressive, supported by a structural perspective of income redistribution, which over the care policy goes beyond.

On the other hand, the violence has maintained an ascending dynamic, insensitive to changing political sign, and is spreading everywhere, exceeding the institutional capacity to deal with it. The number of homicides in the current six-year term is already 165,000, while the number of missing and unfound is over 111,000. Despite the plateau in homicide statistics, no security strategy can be called successful while more than 90 people are killed every day.

A government that has promised a change in public security strategy and an end to impunity has in fact opted for the continuity of a militaristic policy that pinned its hopes on the armed struggle to pacify a country and forgets to devise public policies to strengthen it Justice as a privileged way to build comprehensive and lasting peace. The current strategy has deepened a dangerous militarization of many other areas of a civilian nature, without producing results that ensure the relevance and effectiveness of this policy.

Hand in hand with militarization, alarm bells have been raised about the fragile democratic balance of our institutionality. The President’s speech in his fifth report contained a new reference to the judiciary, adding to previous attacks aimed at stigmatizing autonomous bodies, thereby once again undermining the principle of the separation of powers and the necessary balance of checks and countermeasures essential to democracy and health. INE, INAI, CNDH and Conahcyt are some of the organizations whose advocacy capacity has been diminished by both the exclusions against them and the systematic budget cuts.

It is impossible to close this review without emphasizing that the current government lacks a vision for caring for the common home. The development projects in the Southeast, as well as the commitment to fossil fuel-based energy autonomy, have represented an apparent departure from the climate and environmental agenda. Peasant and indigenous peoples and communities were only marginally involved in the decisions to design and implement these projects, thus maintaining the predominance of a notion of economic development anchored in the same extractivist practices of the past. According to the FAO, Mexico ranks fifth in the world for deforestation.

A year after the conclusion of the government of the self-proclaimed 4T, the balance is bright and dark. It is inevitable to recognize the steps taken towards poverty and inequality, but equally the remaining 13 months do not seem long enough to resume a course of authentic peace-building with justice that confirms the new way of governance promised by López Obrador It is believed that that governance becomes civic rather than militarized in order to consolidate not only a stable electoral democracy but also a social and legal democracy with real capacities to repay the Mexican state’s historic debt to society.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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