We spoke to Jose Luis Granados Ceja, Mexican journalist, about why Mexico’s government has drawn attacks recently from international media and the European Union.
The EU parliament has been passing resolutions condemning the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) labeling him as authoritarian. What’s going on here?
Like with many things, the real issue is energy policy. The war in Europe has made the issue of energy even more pressing than before. Europe depends on hydrocarbons from Russia, without it their citizens freeze in their homes. So they want to diversify where they buy energy from, Latin America is one possible alternative.
One problem is that Europe continues treating us as a colony. Their aim is total control of our natural resources for European capital, specifically Spanish capital in this case. Mexico is in the process of transforming and taking back control of its natural resources and having greater control so as to meet our own needs. Of course, Mexico will still sell to the international market, but what will change is that those who control it will be state company PEMEX and the Federal Electricity Commission. Spanish corporations were brought in to do this by the last government with contracts that benefited the corporations but hurt Mexico. AMLO’s policy of rebuilding PEMEX and the Federal Electricity Commission has affected the interests of European capital and that’s what drawn this interventionism against Mexico.
The EU is using the pretext of ‘human rights’ to do this. Yes, Mexico absolutely has a problem of insufficient protections for journalists and human rights defenders, and we should demand that the government do more. However, these EU parliamentarians have used this for colonial scolding as if they are our mother country. Who was the first parliamentarian to speak on this resolution? The father of Leopoldo Lopez, the Venezuelan coup leader. That says it all.
With these energy reforms, is AMLO’s government entering a second phase in which we can expect more changes?
Yes. In Mexico we have ‘sexenios’, which means an elected government has six years, then the president must find a successor and hope they can continue your policies. This results in the sexenios being divided in two. For AMLO, the first three years can be characterized as a rescue operation, rescuing the state from the destruction wrought by the neoliberal period. An example of that, just this week we saw a new international airport built for the capital, and soon our own refinery in Dos Bocas will be finished, this refinery is about reaching that energy self-sufficiency that I mentioned. The foundations have been laid, what is left? A pivot towards the masses.
In April, we’re having a recall referendum, a new rule where people will vote on whether to maintain or remove the government halfway through the sexenio. If this rule had existed in the neoliberal governments of Calderon or Pena Nieto then they would have been removed. What it can mean now is a renewal of AMLOs mandate. What happened when Chavez won his recall referendum? It was a mandate to deepen the revolution. If AMLO can win, which he will because his approval rating is incredibly high and the opposition doesn’t want to participate, then AMLO will emerge strengthened. I would hope to see a radicalization of the government as a result of that. The past three years have been about ensuring peace with the dominant classes but now is the time to advance and meet the expectations of the people.
International media is hammering a message about democratic backsliding in Mexico, their only evidence seems to be AMLO being mean to journalists and oppositionists in his morning press conferences.
The coup in Bolivia didn’t start with the 2019 elections, it began with the fake news campaign inventing non-existent children of his, with the false claim that Evo was burning down forests. This campaign of boring away has its effect since they can’t attack the government based on what it does, since its policies are popular, it resorts to pure gossip.
A recent case is a story by the ‘journalist’ Carlos Loret de Mola. Together with ‘Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity’, which is a USAID funded NGO, published a piece claiming that AMLO’s son has a mansion in Houston belonging to the owner of an oil company that has contracts with PEMEX, the implication being that he was given this house to curry favor with the government. That was debunked with just a tiny bit of investigation, it turned out that his partner rented it through a realtor and had no contact with the owner. Furthermore, the owner didn’t work with Mexico, he dealt with the company’s business in Canada. The story was a fabrication, but it has an effect, especially among the middle class who then say that AMLO is just the same as the others on corruption when that’s not true. The aim is to implant these for when there is confrontation, when the government goes after elite interests, then they can use these smears to call for the government to be brought down.
By Kawsachun News