Speech by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in his Second Government Report 2019-2020

Translation: Leif Jacobsen

09/01/2020

Friends:

I was among the first to argue that Mexico’s main problem was corruption, and now I have no doubt: the plague of corruption originated the crisis in Mexico. That is why I have proposed to eradicate it completely and I am convinced that, in these times more than in others, to transform is to moralize.

This government will not be remembered for being corrupt. Our main legacy will be to purify the public life of Mexico. And we are moving forward: we have not undertaken factional persecutions or political revenge, but neither do we cover up for anyone or allow impunity. The robbery of those above is over, but official banditry has yet to be completely banished.

Republican austerity is a reality. They are facts, not words. There are no longer any luxuries in the government and all that is saved goes to the welfare of the people. According to official calculations, by not allowing corruption and by having an austere government, we have been able to save around 560 billion pesos during our administration.

It is not to brag, but at the worst moment, we have the best government. We are facing two crises, at the same time, health and economics, and we are moving forward.

The pandemic is not a political issue but a public health issue. That is why I have entrusted the decisions in this matter to a team of professionals with great experience and ability. The coronavirus has left us pain, sadness, and hardship, but it has also strengthened love in families, has demonstrated the humanism and dedication of health workers, and has highlighted the well-known brotherhood of our people.

There is no doubt that we will emerge from the pandemic with a better health system. We received the government with 401 abandoned, looted or half-built hospitals, and with a deficit of more than 200 thousand medical professionals. In a few months we have converted, with the support of the state governments, the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of Defense, 969 hospitals to treat patients with COVID-19, 32,203 beds have been installed and 10,612 with ventilators; Likewise, 47,000 general practitioners, specialists, nurses and other health workers have been hired.

We proposed to the UN and an initiative was approved almost unanimously to make medicines and vaccines non-profit. Mexico participates in the main international efforts to develop a vaccine against COVID-19. I specifically highlight the commitment we made with the University of Oxford, with the AstraZeneca laboratory, with the Carlos Slim Foundation, and with the government of Argentina. We hope that this agreement will produce results from November and that we can start applying the vaccine no later than the beginning of next year, universally and free of charge.

The global health emergency experienced this year has posed very serious problems for all countries and will force us all to rethink and change many things. In addition to the tremendous pain that the pandemic has caused, it has been proven that its effects are more serious if we suffer from hypertension, obesity, diabetes. That is why we must take care of our diet and not consume junk products with excess sugars, salts, and chemicals; for our health, we must practice exercise and sports to strengthen our immune system and lose weight.

We are facing the economic crisis caused by the pandemic with a different, peculiar, heterodox formula, I would say unique in the world. Now, all the support and credits are delivered directly to reactivate the economy from the bottom up. Big companies and banks are not given priority. Now, for the good of all, the people are rescued first.

It is a source of pride to be able to say that in seven out of ten families at least one benefit or something is coming from the public budget, which is everyone’s money; In addition, for the peace of mind of our conscience and the happiness of each and every one, 100 percent of the indigenous communities and the poorest in the countryside and the city benefit from at least one of the social programs. Here I remember what Adam Smith maintained, which could well constitute one of the foundations of the moral economy that we are applying; He said: “No matter how selfish man may want to suppose himself, there are obviously some elements in his nature that make him take an interest in the fate of others in such a way that their happiness is necessary for him, even if he obtains nothing from it unless being the pleasure, the immense pleasure of witnessing it. ” In other words, the joy of others is our own happiness.

However, they have reproached us for not undertaking an elite economic rescue to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. But it is a mark of pride to be able to say that we help, through social programs, 23 million families. Imagine how many older adults have been able to observe the sanitary confinement for having the right to receive a pension, even if it is modest.

Article 4 of the Constitution has already been amended to convert the support for the elderly and children with disabilities, as well as the granting of scholarships to students from poor families and free medical care and medicines, into priority and mandatory social rights. From now on, the government must comply with this mandate, regardless of the party.

This year, due to the pandemic, older adults, as well as children with disabilities, received their pensions in advance; you only need to pay November and December; In eight months, 115 billion pesos have been allocated to these programs for the benefit of 9 million people. It is not an expense but an investment; They are not gifts, it is justice.

Before young people were turned away, they were discriminated against; now they are guaranteed the right to education and work; They are no longer “ninis”, as they were disparagingly called; now they are scholarship students or apprentices hired with minimum wage so that they can train and get ahead. We will not let young people be hooked on crime. They are not alone, with them we are building the future.

Three million farmers and fishermen are being supported; They are granted resources directly, they are helped with wages to cultivate their lands, they are given free fertilizers and guarantee prices were established to buy corn, beans, rice, wheat, and milk from farmers in the field. It is a minimal act of justice. As the poet, Carlos Pellicer said: “Let those who feed us eat”.

Now, as I said, all the supports are delivered directly without intermediaries. To this end, the Banco del Bienestar has been strengthened, so that the people of the most remote communities can receive what they are entitled to, without having to travel long distances. In 2021, there will be 2,700 branches throughout the country. Currently, with the support of military engineers, 226 have been built.

Similarly, the Internet for All project continues to advance. There is already connectivity in 26 thousand 789 locations and, in 2021, there will be a signal throughout the national territory.

The so-called educational reform was canceled and now we are walking together teachers, teachers, mothers and fathers, students and authorities. 11 million scholarships are being awarded to poor students at all school levels; the government collaborates in the maintenance of the schools and it has become clear that education is not a privilege but a right of all the people.

Thank you, thank you, thank you very much to our migrant countrymen. Now that they have been needed the most is when they have helped their relatives in Mexico the most. Despite the pandemic in the United States, remittances have grown 10 percent compared to last year and I estimate that they will reach 40 billion dollars by the end of the year, a record benefitting 10 million families.

With the increase in remittances that our countrymen send from the United States to their families, with the welfare programs and the credits that we are granting to those below, the pandemic has not led to famine or food shortages or assaults and the People of Mexico have resources for their basic consumption.

I predicted that the economic crisis caused by the pandemic would be temporary; I said it will be like a “V”, that we would fall but that we would come out soon; fortunately, this is happening. The worst is over and now we are going up; The lost jobs are already recovering, production is slowly returning to normality and we are already beginning to grow.

In the month of August, 93 thousand new jobs were created; the peso appreciated at less than 22 pesos to the dollar, after having been at more than 25; the Mexican oil mix went from zero to $ 40 per barrel; the consumption of basic products, instead of decreasing with the pandemic, increased by 9.5 percent in real terms, compared to last year. Tax collection remained practically the same as in 2019. The same happened with foreign direct investment: during the first half of the year it reached 17,969 million dollars, the same as in 2019; The fall of the economy, despite the world disaster, was 10.4 percent in the semester, but even with the debacle the damage caused by the economic crisis that is affecting us was less than what is being registered in other countries such as Italy, Spain, France, and the United Kingdom. I should add that almost all the countries used credit and increased their debts by very high percentages. In contrast, we have faced the pandemic and we are going to get out of the economic crisis without contracting additional debt and without allocating public money to immoral “bailouts”, that is, to those who do not need to be rescued.

But it should not be forgotten that by focusing on government solidarity on the poorest, we also indirectly benefit sectors that have some or a lot of saving capacity. Social programs have allowed millions of beneficiaries to preserve some of their purchasing power and consumption capacity. And that is why the market has not been closed to thousands of companies and businesses.

The relationship with the businessmen has been good and respectful. Despite the crisis, the majority did not lay off their employees; One piece of information is enough: before the pandemic, 20 million 500 thousand workers were registered in Social Security in nearly a million companies. In the most difficult moments, a million jobs were lost and we are already recovering. How many jobs were kept despite the pandemic? 19 million 500 thousand jobs. Most of the companies kept their workers.

Mexican entrepreneurs comply with their contributions; Last year they agreed to raise the minimum wage 16 percent, this year 20 percent to the minimum wage, and voluntarily decided to contribute more to better workers pension. In addition, private hospitals have helped us to face the pandemic and the television stations of private companies are supporting us to broadcast classes on radio and television to 30 million students. I just have to say: thank you on behalf of the government and our people.

Mexico is a country, without a doubt, with a future and a world example of how to make progress a reality with justice. The main wealth of a nation is not in its infrastructure or in its finances and not even in its natural resources, but in its population and its cultures, in the people that make it up and give it history and existence. Invest in it, in the population, in Mexicans, in the people; Investing in their diet, their health, their education, and their well-being, in general, is the best thing that can be done to guarantee the strength of the country and its present and future development.

Since last July, the new trade agreement with Canada and the United States came into force. In these moments of crisis, the agreement we signed means boosting productive activities, getting more foreign investment, creating more jobs, and achieving more well-being for our people. It is in this context that my visit to Washington to meet with President Donald Trump should be seen, who treated us with respect and, most importantly, praised our fellow citizens who live and work honestly in the United States of America.

We maintain good relations with all the peoples and governments of the world. In matters of foreign policy, we adhere to the constitutional principles of non-intervention, self-determination of the peoples, peaceful settlement of disputes, and cooperation for development. As is well known, Mexico was the country that obtained the most votes to be part of the UN Security Council.

With the support of Pemex workers and technicians and the Federal Electricity Commission, we are rescuing these public companies, making them more efficient, cleaning them of corruption, and fulfilling the commitment not to increase the price of gasoline, diesel, gas, electricity, and we are going to sustain this throughout the six-year term.

Out of conviction, we have decided to take care of the environment as previous governments never did, and most interestingly, it was not demanded by the pseudo-ecologists who attack us so much. I just underline that we are implementing the most important reforestation program in the world, planting 1.1 billion fruit and timber trees.

The use of transgenic corn or fracking is not allowed; water is taken care of, and we have not awarded a single concession for mining. It cannot be forgotten that, in the neoliberal period, only in 30 years, from 1988 to November 2018, the five past administrations granted concessions for 118 million hectares for mining exploitation, the equivalent of 60 percent of the national territory. That devastating surrender is over.

By banishing corruption, Conacyt was able to focus on strengthening the welfare of the people of Mexico through scientific development. Thus, it has assigned scholarships with transparency and equity to 84 thousand 599 students and 34 thousand 447 academics with an annual investment of 19 thousand 132 million pesos; 14 percent more than in 2018. From the end of this year, we will make sure that doctors who want to specialize, are not rejected as has been happening and can be trained both at home and abroad. We are contemplating guaranteeing educational spaces and delivering, during our government, 70 thousand scholarships to these medical professionals, which will help reduce the deficit of specialists that our country has, and that prevents us from fully guaranteeing the people’s right to health. Likewise, the foundations of technological independence have been laid, achieving in a short time, among other contributions, the development and manufacture of the first 100 percent Mexican fans to save lives at risk from COVID-19.

683 thousand digital books have been downloaded for free from the Fondo de Cultura Económica. We have 45 reactivated bookstores of the Fondo de Cultura Económica-Educal network with counter sales and absolute sanitary conditions. Reading rooms and clubs have grown in communities and normal schools. We continue to produce translations and new books. The “Vientos del Pueblo” collection will reach 43 titles this week, with books ranging from 8 to 20 pesos, in runs of 40 thousand copies.

Just as we had committed ourselves and with a view to commemorating, next year, the 700 years of the founding of Tenochtitlan, the 500 years of the colonial invasion, and the 200 years of the consummation of our Independence, they have begun to enter into printing the titles of the collection “21 for 21” to be delivered en masse from next year in editions of 100,000 copies, produced by the Economic Culture Fund and financed by the Institute to Give Back to the People the Stolen, which include works by Guillermo Prieto, Elena Poniatowska, Octavio Paz, Emilio Abreu Gómez, Mariano Azuela, Vicente Riva Palacio, Martín Luis Guzmán, José C. Valadés, Luis Villoro, Emilio Carballido, Nellie Campobello, Carlos Monsiváis and Heriberto Frías.

I want to emphasize that, for the first time, an indigenous woman will be the head of the National Council to Prevent Discrimination and I also report that the preferential support program for indigenous peoples continues. For that purpose, we have just signed a justice agreement with the governors of the Yaquis peoples. In addition, we continue to promote art and all cultural expressions. We continue to restore temples and historical monuments, and the Ecological Park of Lake Texcoco and the artistic and cultural space of Los Pinos in the Chapultepec Forest are under construction.

We are going from strength to strength in the construction of the Felipe Ángeles airport. Progress is also being made according to the program in the construction of the new Dos Bocas refinery, Paraíso, Tabasco; Work has already begun for the Mayan Train. We are making the development of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec a reality to connect the countries of Asia with the east coast of the United States. In addition, these works will generate 150 thousand jobs in the course of this year.

We are making progress in the fight against crime. We have established a new strategy that begins by providing work, education, and well-being for people who are at risk of being recruited by criminal groups, especially young people. The fight against poverty, unemployment, and marginalization is accompanied by the deployment of the National Guard, a body of peace and proximity to the population, with a presence in all regions of the country, which already has 97 thousand well-equipped and formed. To house these people responsible for the security of the town, 79 barracks have been built, 34 are in process, and 135 more are about to be started, with which we will reach 248 barracks by the end of 2021.

There has been a decrease in almost all crimes compared to November 2018. There are fewer kidnappings, femicides, robberies from pedestrians, transporters, less vehicle theft, robbery in collective public transport, less robbery in individual public transport, less robbery from businesses, and less house robbery, in all of them there has been a drop of the order of 30 percent on average. Only two crimes have increased: intentional homicide and extortion by 7.9 and 12.7 percent, respectively; linked, these crimes fundamentally to the so-called organized crime.

In this task, the professional and responsible support of the Armed Forces has been fundamental. In particular, I am grateful for the support, loyalty, and correct conduct of Admiral Rafael Ojeda Durán and General Luis Cresencio Sandoval González, secretaries of the Navy and National Defense, exemplary public servants.

Now there is justice for the poor and in terms of security organized crime no longer commands, as it was before. There are no more torture, disappearances or massacres; human rights are respected and the culprit is punished whoever he is. There are no longer officials like García Luna in the federal government.

I have maintained and will continue to maintain an institutional relationship with the authorities emanating from other parties. The governors and municipal presidents of any political sign find respect and equitable treatment in the federal Executive.

We have kept our promise to promote the true independence of justice institutions. The Office of the Attorney General of the Republic and the Judicial Power of the Federation act with absolute autonomy and the idea that everything was ordered by the President was over because the Executive was the power of the powers.

Look at how things have changed. I invited the Attorney General of the Republic and the President of the Supreme Court of Justice and they were unable to attend. In other times that did not happen because they have the arrogance to feel free; This is the change, this is the transformation.

In the cases in which former presidents of the Republic are implicated, I have proposed that the responsible authorities vent the matter with absolute freedom and that, if necessary, a consultation be held to find out the opinion of the people. I have said, and I reiterate, that I would vote not to subject them to trial because I maintain the position that I have held since my inauguration, according to which, “in the field of justice past mistakes can be punished, but the fundamental thing is to avoid the crimes of the future ”. However, if the consultation is held, I will respect the popular ruling, whatever it may be, because in a democracy the people decide, and out of conviction I have proposed to command obeying.

Like many Mexicans, I was a victim of electoral fraud and I am convinced of the tremendous damage caused by the imposed authorities. That is why the Constitution was amended and anyone who uses the public budget for the benefit of parties and candidates or tampers with the free and democratic nature of the elections will be punished with jail and without the right to bail.

Since Francisco I. Madero, never has a president been so attacked as now; Conservatives are angry that there is no more corruption and they lost privileges. However, they enjoy absolute freedom of expression and this is proof that freedoms and the right to dissent are guaranteed today. Political repression is in the past.

We are carrying out the Fourth Transformation of public life in Mexico and it is pertinent to remember that the first three transformations, the Independence, the Reform, and the Revolution, had to take over arms. Now we are doing it peacefully. There is opposition to the government, as it should exist in any true democracy, but the majority of the inhabitants of Mexico approve of our management. I thank you all for your trust. I will not fail the people of Mexico.

Friends:

This afternoon, as established by law, Olga Sánchez Cordero, Secretary of the Interior, will deliver to the Congress of the Union the Second Report of the government I represent.

Much has been done. Basically we really have little to define. Of the 100 commitments that I made in the Zócalo on December 1, 2018, we have fulfilled 95 and only five commitments are pending or in the process of being fulfilled.

Since the first day of my government, the Nation Project that we proposed to society has been applied and that obtained overwhelming support at the polls on July 1, 2018. Although unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic force us To make adjustments, we will not deviate, essentially, from the spirit of the commitment we have made. The government actions carried out are an expression of what we have dreamed, designed, and offered for many years; They correspond to a vision of the country and a vision of what a just and fraternal world should be.

Today, some critics ask that it be governed in a different sense, that we dispense with our ideology and our project, that we apply economic recipes against which we have fought or that we are tolerant of the corruption that we set out to eradicate. They ask, in short, that I betray my commitment to society, that I break my word, and that I renounce my consistency. And that, logically, is not going to happen.

The new economic policy based on morality, austerity, and development with justice is already underway.

The commitment to finish laying the foundations for the Mexico of the future by the first of next December, when two years of government are completed.

From then on, once the foundations have been built, the only task left will be to finish the work of transformation and continue to govern the people with righteousness and love to always have their support.

I am convinced that the best way to avoid setbacks in the future depends a lot on continuing with the revolution of consciences to fully achieve a change in mentality that, when necessary, becomes a collective will, ready to defend what has been achieved for the benefit of the public and national interest.

So let’s continue making history; So let’s continue making a homeland, for ourselves and for the new generations, who will know how to honor the dignity of our people and the greatness of Mexico.

 

Hurray Mexico!

Long live Mexico!

Long live Mexico!

Source: https://presidente.gob.mx/discurso-del-presidente-andres-manuel-lopez-obrador-en-su-segundo-informe-de-gobierno-2019-2020/