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Mexico: From the Mayans and the Aztecs to Claudia Sheinbaum and the 4th. Transformation

It is not coincidental. It's in the annals. The Mexican people did it once again as on many other occasions throughout history. It is true that Hernán Cortés was accompanied by a Malinche (last Sunday there was also another courting the past) but memory reminds us of Atotoztli, Tomiyahuatl, Eréndira and Tecuichpo, great women who forged the Aztec nation. In the 21st century there is another: her name is Claudia Sheinbaum. As she herself says, “I come from a Jewish family and I am proud of my grandparents and my parents,” but she does not forget that “I was raised as a Mexican.” In the sister country there are many Claudias. I know several of them.

Despite this, in his morning press conference on June 3, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) pointed out precisely who had been the protagonist of the day and who had played the main role in the process of evolution of his country started in 2018: AMLO said: “…I helped in the transformation of the country, as millions of Mexicans have done because I am not the only one; It was my turn to build a process, but the main actors, the main protagonists of this change were millions of women and men who have been fighting.”

This is the essence of what the oligarchy does not understand about what is happening: the people have been the protagonists of the events and the main interpreters of the events that led to the extraordinary electoral results of last Sunday.

And as I said at the beginning, from the resistance of the Aztecs and Mayans to Spanish colonialism marked by the triumph of the “Sad Night” and the organization of the defense of Tenochtitlán that established unprecedented levels of resistance only surpassed by savagery, contempt , and the barbarism of the Spanish and their superiority in matters of war, the Mexicans have not stopped fighting. The resistance was defeated, and it had a high human cost, but it generated a feeling of pride for what was one's own that still lives in the souls of Mexicans today. There is contempt for Malinche and haughtiness for past history.

The Aztec and Mayan empires disappeared despite their great scientific and technological development, far superior to that of the Europeans in astronomy, medicine, hydraulics, agriculture and architecture, among others. But as Moisés Morales, the great wise man and guide from Palenque in Chiapas, told me: “That the Mayans disappeared and what am I and?” And what are all these people around us? Are they not the descendants of those who founded these great cities with a flourishing economy? He was referring to Palenque, Toniná, Chichen Itzá, Tulum, Tikal and Copal among other marvelous cities that were already huge developed cities when Paris and London were still miserable villages.

“Here we are,” Moisés told me, unfortunately he died a few years ago and here is today the Mexican people, heirs of great traditions, taking charge of their destiny. Like other territories in the region and in unison with Venezuela and the Río de la Plata, in 1810 the insurrection broke out, the peasants and indigenous people summoned by the priest of the town of Dolores, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, began the fight for the independence of the Spanish yoke. Like Venezuela, in 1821, after the entry of the Trigarante Army into Mexico City, the fight for independence culminated. Before, between 1811 and 1815 José María Morelos tried to give social content to the struggle, assuming more radical positions in defense of the humble and national sovereignty.

But as in all of America, independence was not complete. In Mexico, it was up to Benito Juárez to establish a body of laws and institutions that would lead to truly building the Mexican State and he did so at a time when the country was struggling with internal and external conflicts that weakened power. The fragile institutions built in the post-colonial period could not prevent the United States from stealing 55% of Mexican territory. Juárez not only built the new State but modernized it and made it more solid.

But modernity did not bring the desired prosperity for the majority, the internal struggles did not manage to give stability to the country, the ownership of land in the hands of a few and the disturbing activist role of the Catholic Church did not help to create a climate that contributed development. A sharp struggle broke out in the country, in which the líderIt is peasants Emiliano Zapata and Francisco Villa who faced the remnants of the long dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz and led, along with others, the Mexican revolution of 1910, which had significant popular participation. Mexicans never stopped fighting until 1917 when a new Constitution (still in force today) was approved, which for the first time incorporated a series of social rights in favor of the most humble sectors of the population, converting the Mexican Magna Carta an example to follow for all of Latin America.

Although a certain stability was established and the struggle for power was manifested within the framework of the system, Mexico was unable to take off in its development. In 1934, Lázaro Cárdenas was elected president of the Republic, marking a turning point in Mexican history by making decisions that challenged the traditional mechanisms of politics inaugurated after the revolution of 1910. Cárdenas appealed to the need to establish a political and economic system that guaranteed equality among all Mexicans, for which it was essential to establish an educational system that provided access to all. Likewise, he proposed to make workers and the people play a more participatory role in national life, establishing alliances with union organizations. Workers' cooperatives were created, with the government assuming policies that aimed to improve the working conditions of workers, favoring their struggles against national and, above all, foreign businessmen.

A key moment of the Cárdenas government was in 1936 when the law of expropriation of foreign oil companies was approved in compliance with the mandate of the 1917 Constitution, which in its article 27 established the nation's right to property over its natural resources. Thus, in 1938, through a decree, that law became a reality.

A new period of “stability” was inaugurated within the framework of representative democracy, now protected by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which had been created in 1929 and governed consecutively from 1930 to 2000. The sui generis model established by The PRI, which was characterized by total control of politics internally and the defense of national sovereignty without interfering in the affairs of other countries, externally, generated important social advances in the country, but, in its final years, The system became centralizing, corrupt and neoliberal, deepening external dependence on the United States and the poverty situation of the vast majority.

Under these conditions, AMLO becomes president in 2018 (previously, his victory had been stolen in 2006 through a gigantic electoral fraud) and begins the Fourth Transformation, which is much more than carrying out a series of political measures that any government makes when comes to the administration of a country. Now it was about giving continuity to history to produce the changes that the country needed. President AMLO himself explained it in his speech during the 75th session of the UN General Assembly on September 22, 2020.:  The first three transformations were: “… independence, […] reform and […] revolution and now we are determined, committed to carrying out the Fourth Transformation of the country's public life, without violence and in a peaceful manner.”

Today, when Claudia Sheinbaum has been elected president of Mexico, Latin America celebrates this event with joy. Since the wars of independence, Mexico's destinies have been inextricably linked to that of its southern brothers. Colombia (the Great), founded by the Liberator Simón Bolívar, was the first country to recognize the independence of Mexico, the first to send a diplomat and it was the first country with which Mexico signed a treaty of Union, League and Confederation.

Bolívar's efforts for Latin American unity had Mexican President Guadalupe Victoria and his Foreign Minister Lucas Alamán, his strongest allies. In Tacubaya, Mexico, an attempt was made to continue the efforts that had not materialized in Panama in 1826.

However, the neoliberal governments (under Washington's mandate) that began to govern Mexico at the end of the 20th century led to an obvious distancing of the country from Latin America. It was precisely President López Obrador who took up the ideals of regional integration that Bolívar and Victoria advocated.

There is his imprint: recovery and revitalization of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) under the integrationist mantle of the Liberator Simón Bolívar; absolute rejection without restrictions of the illegal US blockade against Cuba: non-acceptance and refusal to interfere in the internal affairs of Venezuela; supreme effort to safeguard the personal integrity of Bolivian President Evo Morales after the 2019 coup d'état, allowing continuity to the political process of that country; breaking of relations with Ecuador due to the illegal incursion into the Mexican Embassy in Quito, violating all the precepts of international law; unrestricted support for all democratic processes in the region without interfering in internal political dynamics; exaltation and immeasurable respect for Salvador Allende as an icon of popular democracy and the defense of national sovereignty in our region...and there is much more.

In the third debate between the presidential candidates, held on May 19, Claudia Sheinbaum, quoting Mario Benedetti, recalled that “the south also exists.” In that sense, she stated that, “…we are going to continue expanding relations with Latin America and the Caribbean, and strengthening CELAC.” This is what the countries and peoples of the south expect because, as Bolívar wrote to the líder Mexican Agustín de Iturbide in letter dated October 10, 1821:

 “In evil luck united us; courage has united us in misfortune; and nature, from eternity, gave us the same being so that we would be brothers and not strangers…”

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