Despite the strong diplomatic and economic alliance forged between the United States and Mexico over the past century, the two countries remain at unfortunate odds with one another.
With the United States apparently loath to relinquish their domineering grip on the puppet strings of power, Mexico is understandably tired of being bullied and strong-armed by their big northern brother.
The past two years have only provoked this antagonism. A deluge of alarmist assumptions and elitist rhetoric have concocted a distorted “division” between our countries, a fabrication used by figureheads to justify American statements (and policies) that gratuitously demean and alienate our southern neighbors.
Part of the problem is that we as a country have grown used to getting (and hearing) what we want; our relationship with Mexico has existed largely on our terms, diplomatic blunders dwarfed to inconsequence in the face of immense economic incentive.
That looks like it is about to change. Finally fed up with the absurd threats and petty taunts wafting downwind—from an “ally” with the means and influence to impact positive and lasting change, no less—Mexico has come together and elected to their presidency a leader who (on paper at least) has the fortitude, resolve and charisma to command and demand the respect his country deserves.
The triumph of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (or AMLO)—a radical victory that needed 12 years steeping before the people decided the time was ripe—is a truly momentous occasion in Mexican history.
Mexico’s multiparty democratic system began in 2000, an imperative response to 71 years of monopolistic and hierarchical reign by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
Despite losing the presidency in the year 2000, however, the PRI retained an immense amount of political and social power; the shadowy tendrils of corruption and suppression tug just as insidiously in the dark. Seventy years of influence doesn’t just disappear in a day.
But maybe, just maybe, 18 years is enough time. Not only did AMLO’s progressive, anti-establishment National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) achieve a convincing (and perhaps overdue) victory over the PRI in the presidency, but the PRI lost all nine gubernatorial seats up for election. At long last, their chokehold has been pried away from the country’s throat.
Just as rampant crime and corruption, entrenched economic disparity and a record-high homicide rate threatened to tear the country asunder, Mexico has seized the opportunity for a fresh start.
For the first time in modern history, Mexico has a leftist leader and a government free from the stealthy shackles of the elite “power mafia” that have called the shots for far too long. AMLO’s pledges to social reform ring of liberation; they promise reconciliation and peace; they demand change.
Their closest ally has scorned them, neglected them, rejected them. But Mexico does not need us, not like we think they do—and they’re taking the first step out from under our shadow and into the light.