Andrés Manuel López Obrador has declared war on the press. Apparently unhappy that the Mexican and world press has been actually quoting his childish statements, following his quijotic, self-proclaimed "alternative" government and reporting on the ever dwindling size of the crowds hanging on his every word, AMLO has sicced his followers on reporters and photographers.
Friday, AMLO led what had previously been feared would be a disruptive mob on a march to the Auditorio Nacional to interfere with Felipe Calderón's inaugural address. Not to worry, only about 5000 showed up to march. The Mexico City government, in AMLO's pocket, dutifully reported 30,000. The press, which counted all the feet and divided by two, came up with the far smaller number. AMLO is angry.
At a speech in Monterrey yesterday, he got down to specifics. He called the Mexico City daily Reforma "the official mouthpiece of the PAN (Calderón's party).
It's very sad, it's shameful the role that the communication media is playing; the written press, television and also radio that in other times acted as the champions of liberty. What a sad role they are playing now, the role of gossipmongers for the right, gossipmongers for the regime.He said that he would "mobilize" against any "antipopular act or sellout by Felipe Calderón" (hence, the press).
And AMLO "mobilized" his followers in Saltillo when a crowd of 400, the most he could scrape up yesterday, attacked reporters from Televisa and TV Azteca during his speech. Then, after the speech, the PRD partisans resumed the beatings of reporters. AMLO's own security detail attacked photographers who were trying to get a photo of the Little Emperor.
The photographer pictured above just thought he had a problem with the guy in the red shirt. When the hog in the foreground of the photo got into the scrum, the photographer got squashed. At least he didn't simply get murdered as the PRI would have done -- and still does, from time to time.
Oh, and AMLO also managed to insert into his speech his favorite term, "pelele". A pelele is a puppet or a vertriloquist's dummy. AMLO uses that word at least once in every speech he gives. He has called Vicente Fox a pelele of business interests, the rich and George Bush. He labels Felipe Calderón the pelele of Vicente Fox, business interests, the rich and George Bush. Now he calls the Mexican press the pelele of Felipe Calderón, Vicente Fox, business interests, the rich and George Bush.
I think it not wise for AMLO to slap Reforma around. Reforma is the leading independent newpaper in the country and one of the best, if not the best in all of Latin America. I would wish that Reforma had a duplicate staff that published everything they write in English as well as Spanish. It would make for quicker reading. Then they would be able to consider setting up an operation in the United States and give us a truly non-aligned source for the printed news. If you are unfamiliar with Reforma, watch the movie Man On Fire. You get the idea from the movie that Reforma reporters have a shorter life expectancy than a Hebrew living in the middle of Sadr City.
I remember in the early to mid 90's when the PRI declared war on Reforma. You never knew whether you could buy a copy or not. The Reforma delivery truck might be overturned and burning at the side of the Mexico-Puebla highway or the newspaper vendor might be in the hospital -- or morgue. The unionized newspaper sellers in Puebla, in the pocket of the PRI, refused to even sell it. Restaurants and stores that offered it would see 2 or 3 thugs march in, pick up every copy and then march off with them, not even bothering to leave a tip.
AMLO is really only pissed at Reforma for turning over several rocks from his stint as mayor of Mexico City. From beneath those rocks crawled several multi-million peso frauds by trusted members of AMLO's administration. AMLO had won the mayoralty on promises to stop that kind of activity which he blamed, and righfully so, on the previous PRI administrations. It turned out that AMLO's corrupt administration was just as corrupt as all the previous corrupt administrations as well as present and future corrupt administrations.
AMLO is also pissed that Reforma is reporting that Mexico City's public debt has increased ten fold during the PRD years. That's a pretty neat trick by the city's PRD governments. They run up a massive public debt that the federal government has to pay. I used to do that to my dad until credit cards got shredded.
If AMLO gets Reforma seriously on his case, he's finished, not that he's not fast approaching that point on his own accord.
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TAGS: Mexico City, AMLO, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Reforma