OUR PRESIDENT-ELECT, a fellow best known by his initials, AMLO, and who takes office in about a week, won in a landslide* on July 1. I did not vote for him.
He is a “man of the people,” which is why so many people voted for him. He crushed the opposition on his third run for the presidency. He came close the other times.
Like Bernie Sanders above the Rio Bravo, AMLO is fond of promising “free stuff.” He’s promised free healthcare like “they have in Canada,” even though the Mexican healthcare system is already excellent and offers various low-cost or free options to anyone who wants to sign up for them.
He wants to give all students scholarships and all graduates employment. This sounds swell, of course, if you disregard the matter of who’s paying for the largess.
How do you promise jobs? You can’t unless you make everyone a bureaucrat.
One of his worst ideas is putting major economic plans to a plebiscite. This has already happened at least twice around the country even though AMLO still is not president.
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Don’t underestimate ignoramuses
“The people know best,” he opines, though they rarely do, of course. “The people” usually are ignoramuses.
The first plebiscite took place quickly after his election win.
The topic was the new Mexico City airport, which is sorely needed due to the current one’s having long since outgrown its britches. The new airport is already partially done, and was scheduled to open in 2020.
“The people,” in all their brilliance, voted against it. Wiser minds in the business community called the plebiscite “Mickey Mouse” and illegal. How this will play out remains to be seen.
Just this week, a senator in the president-elect’s Morena Party presented a bill that would require mining companies to get permission of indigenous people before opening mining operations. Common sense says indigenous people will always say no to such a thing unless a huge payoff is included.
Stocks in Mexico’s two major mining firms plummeted, a loss of $1.6 billion U.S.
Earlier this month, the Morena Party proposed another law to curb bank fees. That sent bank stocks into a nosedive, and it took much of the Mexican stock market with it.
Mexico’s economic growth prospects are looking questionable, thanks to AMLO. But not to worry! We’re gonna give all students scholarships and guaranteed jobs on graduation. And free healthcare all around, just like Canada!
And AMLO has not even been inaugurated yet. By the way, he’s invited Venezuelan despot Nicolás Maduro to the festivities.
ALMO is telling those invasion caravans from Central America who are passing through Mexico to stay here. He’ll give them jobs too! Latino solidarity, one supposes.
The mind reels.
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Felipe voices his opinion
I voted in a plebiscite on Saturday, which I happened upon by chance on our main plaza. There was a table with two ladies, ballots and a box to drop them into.
I flashed my voter identification card, in color, with photo, something Mexico requires to vote, as should all nations.
I opined on various topics. A Yucatan tourist train, yes. Doubling pensions for people over 68, yes. (I’m way over 68!) Scholarships to everyone, no. Free healthcare to everyone, no. Some other stuff, mostly yes to my surprise.
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Hold onto your sombreros!
AMLO takes office Dec. 1, and the term lasts for six years. No re-election is allowed, but since the Morena Party is the majority, they could change that. I’m sure AMLO would love it just as much as he loves himself, which he surely does.
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* Universal suffrage is a dreadful idea. Only certain segments of the population should have the right to vote. There should be educational limits. No one without a high school degree should be able to vote. Voters should be property owners too.
The Eyes of the Moon collects black-and-white photos of, mostly, my town. You’ll find shots of hippies, nuns, indigenous folks, ancient churches and buildings, Colonial rooftops, beautiful women, cute kids, and so on.
In colorful contrast is Satellite Moon where you’ll find stuff like Hacienda videos and Jerry Lee Lewis and even Phobe Buffay singing Smelly Cat. And short yarns and revelations.
And no politics!
There is plenty of sunshine, but there are lots of clouds and rain too, especially during June through October. And there is the huge lake which defines our part of the world. Alas, the lake is shrinking. People my age and even younger remember when it was significantly larger.
After we voted Sunday morning, we headed to a nearby village for lunch, and then we decided to take a drive, just for the sake of it. There is a two-laner that circles the lake, but at one point there’s an offshoot road that runs three or four winding miles, closer to the water — and high.
I had lived here for years before discovering this offshoot, and it was a bear to drive because it was dirt and potholes in the dry season and mud and puddles during the rainy months. But, Lordy, what a view! Not precisely the Big Sur Highway in California, but you get my drift.
And then it got paved. Even though it’s smooth now and offers stunning vistas, it is rarely traveled, another plus.
What a lovely place to live.
I stopped the Honda and snapped this photo. What you see down there is a community of the indigenous people of our part of Mexico. The women are notable for ankle-length, pleated skirts and very long, plaited pigtails.
The guys just look like guys.
We don’t live that far away. And I can travel this twisty stretch of mountain-hugging highway whenever I wish, and I’ll find almost nobody impeding me ahead or tailing behind. It’s my secret, this place.