Amassing more than half of the total number of votes in yesterday’s election, which saw the biggest voter turn out in Mexican history, Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador became Mexico’s president-elect following two failed attempts in 2006 and 2012.
Running on a platform against corruption and in defense of the country’s most vulnerable communities, AMLO (the acronym often used to refer to him) reinvigorated the Mexican left and earned support in overwhelming numbers from all segments of the population.
For those unfamiliar with AMLO’s origin story and decades-long journey to victory, a quick rundown can be found in the 75-minute documentary Esto soy, available to watch for free on YouTube in its entirety. Directed by Verónica Velasco and Epigmenio Ibarra, the biographical project is narrated by Lopez Obrador himself, as we follow him from his hometown of Tepetitlán, Macuspana in the state of Tabasco to the streets of Mexico City where he and his supporters never gave up the fight.
“A palacio o a la chingada,” he declares in the opening sequence while pointing to Mexico City’s National Palace – noting that this time around it’s all or nothing for him. AMLO also takes the audience to the humble house where he grew up, the rural area where he played as a kid, and shares anecdotes about his days in college that were made possible thanks to a scholarship. One major point that’s reiterated throughout the movie is his commitment to marginalized indigenous groups and the need to address their economic hardships.
Erroneously deemed a “Trump-like” candidate by United States media, in what’s more a ridiculous assumption solely based on his populist stance, AMLO has been embraced and supported by notable stars like Gael García Bernal and independent filmmakers such as Max Zunino and Marcelo Tobar.
During the campaign however, the opposition also used audiovisual materials to incite fear towards his policies by constantly comparing Mexico’s future to Venezuela’s current situation and equating him with Hugo Chavez. In the five-episode docuseries Populismo en América Latina those arguments are discussed at length with an ominous tone. The program touches on failed governments across the continent and jumps to the conclusion Mexico is next to suffer the consequences of electing a leftist candidate.
Only time will tell how AMLO’s government is judged by the Mexican people, but for now, an air of hope and the promise of change are palpable.