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AMLO vs. New York Times, Mexico-Canada migration talks, presidential candidates register, March for Democracy

Lauren TerMaat

President López Obrador is under investigation after disclosing New York Times journalist's contact information during press conference, thousands gather in Mexico City for a March for Democracy, Mexico and Canada begin talks on migration and asylum requests, presidential hopefuls officially register as candidates. (Week of 02/18/2024 - 02/24/2024)

Week of 02/18/2024 - 02/24/2024

President López Obrador under investigation after disclosing NYT journalist’s phone number during press conference

On Thursday (02/22), President López Obrador shared during his morning press conference that his spokesperson had been contacted by a journalist from The New York Times, Natalie Kitroeff, to comment on a report about an alleged link between drug cartels and individuals close to the President. 

While discussing this report, López Obrador projected on a screen an email from Kitroeff that displayed her phone number. This action is now being investigated by the National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information, and Personal Data Protection (INAI), since the personal contact information of the journalist was publicly exposed.

The report from Kitroeff and her co-author, Alan Feuer, was published on Thursday (02/22) by the New York Times, and cites investigations by the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) into links between López Obrador’s allies and cartel members during the 2018 electoral cycle. Earlier this month, a report by American journalist Tim Golden of ProPublica investigated a link between AMLO and drug cartels during his first presidential campaign in 2006. President López Obrador has vehemently denied all of these allegations, and he has dismissed both reports as slanderous.

Thousands gather in Mexico City on Sunday for a March for Democracy

The Mexico City government estimates that 90,000 Mexicans gathered on Sunday (02/18) in the Zócalo, Mexico City’s main square, for a “March for Democracy,” specifically in support of democratic institutions like the National Electoral Institute (INE), Mexico’s election oversight body. The demonstrators wore pink, the color of the organization, to show their support. 

Notably, the presidential candidate for the opposition coalition, Xóchitl Gálvez, was not present at the demonstration. She emphasized, as did the leaders of the march, that it was not about politics as much as it was about protecting the democratic institutions that allow for fair and free elections. 

Throughout his administration, President López Obrador has expressed his dislike for the INE and frequently has attempted to cut the organization’s budget and undermine their authority. In his most recent reform package presented on February 5th, AMLO proposed an overhaul of the INE and a popular election of electoral judges. Those who participated in the march emphasized that such interference with the institution and the electoral process is putting democracy at risk in Mexico. 

Mexico and Canada begin talks on immigration, asylum requests

On Tuesday (02/20), President López Obrador announced during his morning press conference that his administration would begin conversations with the Canadian government on Mexican migrants in Canada.

López Obrador mentioned that this conversation was initiated by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the APEC summit in San Francisco, California, in November 2023. Trudeau had expressed concern over the growing number of asylum requests from Mexicans arriving in Canada. The Canadian president also cited violence from organized crime in Mexico as the potential reason for the increase in asylum requests. AMLO assured that the Canadian and Mexican governments would work together to analyze the situation, and he noted that he expects good cooperation between countries during the meetings. 

Presidential hopefuls officially register as candidates

This week, the three top presidential hopefuls officially became candidates by registering with the National Electoral Institute (INE), in preparation for Mexico’s June 02, 2024 elections. 

Claudia Sheinbaum, the candidate for the incumbent Morena party, registered with the INE on Sunday (02/18). In her brief speech at the INE, Sheinbaum emphasized that she will continue the progress of President López Obrador’s political movement, known as the Fourth Transformation, especially in terms of the economy and of social diversity. She dismissed as “hypocrites” the 90,000 Mexicans who gathered in Mexico City for the “March for Democracy” on the same day. 

Xóchitl Gálvez, Sheinbaum’s main competitor and the candidate for the opposition coalition, registered on Wednesday (02/21). She noted the importance of protecting the democratic institutions like the INE in her speech, and she recalled President López Obrador’s history of not accepting electoral results. She called the President a “sore loser” and told him to prepare to accept the electoral loss of his protégé, Claudia Sheinbaum. 

Jorge Álvarez Máynez registered on Thursday (02/22) as the presidential candidate for the Movimiento Ciudadano party. He also emphasized the need to protect democratic institutions like the INE, and he stated that the traditional class of politicians had worked for their own self-interest, which has led to Mexico’s current issues like corruption and violence. 

About the Author

Lauren TerMaat

Lauren TerMaat

Staff Assistant Intern, Mexico Institute
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Mexico Institute

The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. A binational Advisory Board, chaired by Luis Téllez and Earl Anthony Wayne, oversees the work of the Mexico Institute.   Read more