After the amazing turn of events in the July polls, an anti-establishment leftist has taken office as Mexico’s President. In a revolutionary twist, neither of the two major parties that ruled for 89 years could stem the popular tide behind Andres Manuel Lopez Obraodor and his fledgling party. Despite Central America’s socialist experiments, it was unimaginable that capitalist America would get a southern neighbour with such leanings. It will be interesting to see how AMLO gets along with Donald Trump at a time when the tricky migration issue had developed into the Trumpian call for a border wall. Astonishingly, one of the Mexican President’s first acts was to sign pacts with three Central American nations on a plan to stem the migrant flow to the US, even as a caravan of Honduran migrants threatens to “invade” America.
The northern neighbour isn’t Mexico’s only problem. Its new President defied convention by participating in a formal anointing by indigenous groups at his oath-taking. Among the major tasks facing AMLO is to end the marginalisation of such poor communities. Also, he has to heal the wounds of a fractious election in which around 130 people were killed. He started on a bright note, winning brownie points by opening up the sprawling presidential palace Los Pinos, said to be 14 times bigger than the White House, to the public and the ostentatious lifestyle of past rulers was made immediately apparent. AMLO has already taken many decisions — like selling the presidential jet — to show how his administration will be closer to the people. But how the economy fares, amid his appeals to Mexicans to buy local, is yet to be seen.