Ground Truth Briefing | AMLO's First 100 Days | Wilson Center
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Ground Truth Briefing | AMLO's First 100 Days

Event Co-sponsors

On March 10, 2019, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador completed the first 100 days of his six-year term. 
 
Much has already occurred: AMLO decided to definitively halt the construction of Mexico City’s New International Airport, the largest public works project ever undertaken in Mexico; proposed repealing the National Education Reform; suspended oil bids and auctions for renewables; gained congressional support to create a National Guard; launched a campaign to fight fuel theft; and raised the minimum wage.
 
AMLO’s popularity is high, hovering between 67-85%, depending on the polling firm. Nonetheless, markets and credit-rating agencies are apprehensive that the president's policies could have an adverse effect on public finances and investment.
 

Experts took stock of AMLO's first 100 days in office and looked ahead in this Ground Truth Briefing.

 

Selected Quotes

 

Duncan Wood

“We come to a very interesting point in the AMLO presidency. He appears to be doing extremely well – however, there are several bumps in the road ahead, in particular concerning the business community and foreign investors. It appears as though the economy is growing at a very disappointing rate, namely, only reaching 1.5% growth this year, where Andrés Manuel had promised to bring 4% growth. At the same time, foreign investors appear to be losing confidence in the Mexican economy… Recently, we saw, of course, that there have been a number of problems with PEMEX, the national oil company. How he navigates these challenges will, of course, determine his future success.”

María Amparo Casar

“What are we looking ahead to? I think that [AMLO] will continue, for quite a long time, monopolizing the public agenda, the public debate. I think the way that he communicates with laymen, or with the people, as he says, is – I mean, we have never see a president like that.”

“The worst that I have seen in these three months… or at least since the first of September, when his party got hold of Congress… is the confrontation he has provoked – the attempt to install a kind of single mindset, I would say.”

Jorge Buendía

“What we are seeing right now in terms of presidential approval is rather a measure of how people like him for what they see in López Obrador, and the question will be what will happen when he’s not able to deliver either on the economic side or the security side.”

“Once he has shown all his cards, what will people begin to do? Probably what we will witness is that demands [for] jobs, for public safety will begin to increase. And then, the key question will be, will López Obrador double down on his previous public policies or will he change? I’m not very optimistic about the possibilities of change in his policies that we have been seeing in the first three months in office.”

Jorge Suárez Vélez

“[AMLO’s] most costly mistake was the cancellation of the Mexico City airport… This decision, which defied economic logic, literally will cost more money to halt the construction and pay debt previously issued plus penalties than what it would have cost to simply finish the project. He does not seem to understand how tight the resources that he are available for him are. If he truly wants to increase social spending in a meaningful way – he wants to change the fiscal treatment of PEMEX and/or recapitalize it, and all while maintaining a primary fiscal surplus of 1% of GDP – he will not be able to accomplish it.”

“In my opinion, the accomplishments have been much more decoration than reality. I do think that López Obrador’s political pipedream will start showing its kinks when growth is nowhere to be seen and he does not have the resources to fulfill his promises – and I think this is going to happen sooner rather than later.”

Speakers

Introduction

Moderator

Speakers

  • María Amparo Casar

    Professor-Researcher, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE); Advisory Board Member, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center
  • Jorge Buendía

    Global Fellow
    Director, Buendía & Laredo
  • Jorge Suárez Vélez

    Mexico Institute Advisory Board Member
    Managing Director, Allen and Company, LLC