A new center-left political movement, called the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) has emerged on the Mexican political landscape. Formed by losing presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and his supporters, MORENA will continue the fight against incoming President Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) who will take office on December 1.
MORENA has held packed assemblies in every state across Mexico since the conclusion of the general elections on July 1, electing leaders and executive committees. The movement, according to Lopez Obrador, who is otherwise known as AMLO, will fight for the interests of the poor, the working class, the farmers, women, the indigenous people and gay and lesbian people, as well as promoting the democratization of the country. It will also resist measures that Peña Nieto plans to take to privatize the state oil company PEMEX as well as the electrical industry, and to increase sales taxes on food and medicine.
MORENA contents that the PRI as well as the National Action Party (PAN) of outgoing conservative president Felipe Calderon have created a “mafia state” that “concentrates economic and political power in Mexico” in the hands of a minority instead of the majority.
MORENA seeks to change the neo-liberal capitalist model of development that it says the PRI imposed on the country in the 1980s. “The neo-liberal model imposed for 30 years has only benefited a minority at the cost of impoverishing the majority of Mexicans. The economy is in the hands of the monopolies, the industrial base is destroyed, there are millions of young people without opportunities to study or work, the countryside has been abandoned and thousands of immigrants cross the border each day, in spite of risks and persecution” according to MORENA’s declaration of principles.
Among other things, MORENA proposes to rebuild Mexico through state led economic development, supporting domestic industry, breaking up monopolies, assisting farmers to foster greater agricultural production, and the implementation of a wide range of social programs to eliminate poverty and reduce crime.
“MORENA members are inspired by the historical fight of the Mexican people. There are three principal transformations that have taken place in our country: Independence, Reform and Revolution. MORENA aspired to foment a fourth transformation in the history of Mexico.
MORENA does not recognize Peña Nieto as Mexico’s legitimate president. According to the movement, he won the elections on July 1 through a massive vote buying scheme, handing over corporate and public money, pre-paid gift cards, building and farm supplies, and tax forgiveness to the poor in exchange for votes for the PRI.
MORENA proposes to change Mexico through peaceful struggle and electoral means.
With the formation of MORENA, Lopez Obrador has made his final break with the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD). AMLO was elected governor of the Mexico City region on the PRD ticket for 2000-2006 and was the party’s candidate for president in 2006 and 2012. In recent years, he has voiced displeasure with the PRD leadership for, among other things, forming coalitions with the PAN in some states to block the PRI from winning elections. AMLO has reiterated that the PRI and the PAN are “the same” in their policies and outlook. Lopez Obrador has also criticized the internal factionalism that has wracked the PRD.
AMLO, as an important leader of the left, has a broad following across Mexico. In the July 1 elections, he got 16 million votes and came close to winning the presidency.
MORENA delegates voted at a weekend convention in Mexico City November 19-20 to register the movement as a political party and run candidates in the next elections. The 1,700 convention delegates attending the convention also elected the movement’s president, secretary general and leadership bodies. Already, several high profile PRD members and elected officials have defected from the PRD to MORENA.