With an estimated 53.6 percent of the vote, Andrés Manuel López Obrador will be the next Mexican president. And whether people agree with his politics or not, he is undoubtedly making history in the Latin American country. He is the first non-PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) and non-PAN (Partido Acción Nacional) candidate to win the presidency in a long time, and he received an unprecedented amount of votes. AMLO – who narrowly lost in 2006 and came in second in the 2012 elections – energized the country with his promise to champion the poor and move away from the establishment. For many, AMLO, the founder of Movimiento Regeneración Nacional (Morena), offers a shift in the corruption and impunity that has gone unchecked. But even as some view him as a symbol of hope, others see him as the beginning of more problems.
With young Mexican voters helping to tip the election in his favor, we reached out to a few that could talk about what they hope an AMLO presidency will bring. Here’s what they had to say.
Frida Díaz Gastairdo
It’s the first time in my whole life that an election isn’t altered by the government. Even though polls had AMLO in the lead from the beginning and there was talk about the jadedness toward the PRIAN everywhere, I didn’t expect it. After two fraudulent presidential elections tan descarados, anything could have happened. I’m originally from Oaxaca. Since I can remember, governments have come into power through everything but votes.
I voted for AMLO, even though there are certain things that I’m not 100 percent convinced of. I can’t deny that I’m excited about the idea that for the first time there’s gender parity in the cabinet – 8 women in charge of resolving problems that affect us as a society. I felt assured of my vote when I learned that Olga Sánchez Cordero – a progressive with more than 20 years defending the rights of women and minorities – would be part of the government if AMLO won the presidency.
Another reason that I voted for AMLO for the third time is that in his speeches, he prioritized Indigenous groups. Many confuse it for populism, but in my case – where I have seen all types of social, health, and educational inequalities caused by systemic poverty in the south of the country – I can’t picture an ideal and progressive government without having equal opportunities.
I dare say that Mexico is thirsty for change. With AMLO’s victory, hope is born that we’ll finally have a government that fights for the real needs of our society. We don’t want any more corruption, femicides, violence, or poverty. We want to stop thinking that it can always be worse, that seeing dead people every day is normal; I want to believe in a society where todxs are part of the future.
The results of the election represent a victory for democracy and el pueblo. Although we have to keep our feet on the floor, for me, it represents a new hope and I know it’s the same for millions of Mexicans. AMLO’s victory was surprising because as has happened in the past in Mexico, there was the risk that election fraud would be committed again. For me, it was difficult seeing the reality of the country and feeling comfortable voting for el PAN or el PRI or their respective coalition as they have caused the country so much damage. To me, AMLO has always represented the left that Mexico needs. And on top of liking him, I think that his proposals for our country was one of the best and most realistic as they took the real needs of Mexicans into consideration. Another thing that truly convinced me was his cabinet. It’s the first cabinet that has a woman as the secretaria de gobierno, that has eight women shaping it, that all the secretaries are intellectuals, scientists, or high-level politicians devoted to what they know.
I want the deaths and the disappearances to stop, to give a voice to minorities, and to punish those who have done so much damage to the country. We don’t want un narcoestado anymore. And someone outside of those parties is the only one who can face all those corrupt and privileged priistas and panistas. I’m concerned about raising the economy of the country, recovering el campo, and doing something about unemployment and education, especially with the issue of education reform. Obrador has always said “por el bien de todos, primero los pobres,” and I think it’s something very important considering that the majority of Mexicans live in poverty of extreme poverty.
I didn’t vote for him. In the beginning, I saw him as not a bad option, but his insistence on being president and the unsustainability of his proposals made me rule him out. I believe that Peña Nieto’s government was one of the worst if not the worst, so perhaps my hopes with AMLO is that he stabilizes the country or fulfills his promises and improves many areas of need.
His victory is important because it’s change that people hoped for two presidential terms ago. Many people who were affected by various crises during the government of Enrique Peña sought a radical change. The problem is that people get married to a party and do not really vote for a candidate. They do not look at proposals. They do not seek information, and in this case, many people voted in their majority or totality for Morena.
I wasn’t surprised. I guess people got enough of the actual government. At some point, I felt that it was like a natural reaction; we had tough times under the PRI and PAN parties. I read through ALMO’s proposals, and what caught my attention was the social work that his part wants to get done. We live in a system that desperately needs peace and justice. I hope that with work, we can achieve some of it. I hope that this time, vulnerable people get an improvement of quality of life.
AMLO’s victory surprised me, because I thought that electoral justice and democracy in Mexico were almost impossible. Still I find myself asking, “Why did he win?” There’s always corrupt interests involved, and this time the president won that was chosen by the people. He was up against the rightists, conservatives, neo-liberals, etc who have governed the country for more than 70 years. It’s difficult to digest.
In Mexico, there’s a huge political mafia. On top of his proposals, I think AMLO is the one who has the least blood and corruption on his hands. Mexico needs a change for the better, and AMLO was the only candidate who could succeed or intend to do it in earnest.
What I most host is that the new government/cabinet is more conscience of social equality and that it diminishes la guerra del narco. One of the topics that seems most urgent to address is the violence against women. I hope that the femicide rate decreases significantly. I want a more just country for women. Also, the issue of “privatization,” the use and marketing of water to private national and foreign companies is very important.
Now it’s lxs ciudadanxs turn to act. We elected an apparently responsible government, and we have to be responsible citizens. I hope that people become conscious of many issues and act. The fight will now not be against an unjustly imposed government, the fight will now be with ourselves. At least that’s what I want to believe.
AMLO is a very empathetic politician – persuasive and persistent, a leader which in some ways is what we are looking for as Mexicans since past presidents have been everything but. Also, he had been in this campaign for years. I did vote for him, because I read every one of his campaign proposals and compared them with the other candidates’ and they created a good impression on me because he takes into account Mexico’s actual problems and he proposes a rather realistic solution, unlike the other candidates. I still have some doubts and fears, because we’re used to electoral fraud in Mexico and, in general, the fact that all political parties end up doing whatever they want because unfortunately, organized crime and corruption are huge day-to-day issues within the government, no matter which party. The only thing that motivates me is that hopefully, there will be support for and recognition to those who need the most, which are millions of Mexicans, mostly Indigenous people, who don’t have access to the basics, like food or education, let alone respect for their human rights.
We’re the first generation who managed to not have PRI or PAN in government, and the fact that this happened increases hope and trust in our people again, and knowing that if we unite we can achieve great things as a nation. There are too many issues that have to be solved – a never-ending list – but the most important thing, besides the obvious (extreme poverty, water shortage, low salaries, etc), is education. The government still has in its best interest that people stay ignorant in many ways. If we manage to eradicate this problem, a massive change would be easier to achieve.
It was a little bit of both: Surprise because I still do not believe there was no electoral fraud and not surprised because AMLO’s advantage over other candidates was evident. I supported him for many reasons. His cabinet is a great cabinet, because he always supported minorities and not just as part of his campaign. You didn’t see an actor responding questions in the debate. You saw a candidate that was more human and closer to the people.
My main concerns are the strengthening of culture and technology – which feels closer to our modus vivendi – in addition to more economic support to schools and universities. Another important issue is the equality of minorities, Indigenous communities, and those in the queer community.
This victory is important because it matters immensely for the democracy in the country and in the next sexenio, and living in this moment being young and not newly discouraged again – as in 2012 and 2006 – no tiene madre. Goodbye to PRIAN, which has caused us so much damage.