by Thomas Wash
Although many populist movements today, especially in the West, are viewed as a recent phenomenon, it is worth noting that Latin America has had a long history with populism. Populists in South American history include Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Juan and Eva Perón, along with Nestor and Cristina Kirchner, in Argentina, Juan Evo Morales in Bolivia, and Alan Garcia in Peru, just to name a few. It should then come as no surprise that the leading presidential candidate in Mexico is also a populist.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who goes by AMLO, is no stranger to the presidential election process. He has run for the Mexican presidency twice, in 2006 and 2012, losing both highly contested elections by a margin of 0.59% and 6.62%, respectively. Prior to running for Mexico’s highest office, he was the mayor of Mexico City, where he left office with an 84% approval rating. His supporters, especially those located in the southern region of Mexico, view him as their champion.
In Part I of this report, we will examine the history of Mexico to understand AMLO’s appeal and relevance in Mexico today. The report will be divided into four sections: 1) Mexican Revolution; 2) Nationalization of PEMEX; 3) Post-Cardenas Period and the Mexican Miracle; and 4) The Lost Decade. This historical background will help readers understand the rise of AMLO, which will be discussed in Part II next week.