AMLO’s Heat Level: AMLO’s hot initiative is welcomed by the UN

  • + AMLO’s hot proposal was introduced at the UN where it became a UNGA resolution
  • + Thus, AMLO’s proposal has gained international recognition
  • + The resolution implies that all humanity shall obtain the Covid-19 vaccine for free
Source: AMLO Official Site

Why is AMLO’s heat level hot?

Answer: Although his approach was tagged as slow and lax regarding the pandemic, AMLO’s initiative was approved by the United Nations General Assembly.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (better known as AMLO) proudly announced that his proposals made at the G20 Extraordinary Leaders Summit were welcomed by 160 member states in the United Nations (UN). One of his proposals soon evolved into General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 74/274, entitled “International cooperation to ensure global access to medicines, vaccines and medical equipment to face COVID-19” supported by 179 member states. Overall, it states that all member states have equal access to medicines and medical equipment, because of the ongoing pandemic, some countries with an economic advantage have hoarded medical resources.” Moreover, the resolution wanted to avoid speculation of medical supplies to attend the Covid-19 pandemic.

AMLO also stated in one of his proposals that the UN shall intervene whenever nations desire to profit from medicines and limit the access of special medical equipment to avoid any economic speculation regarding the purchase of such. With this resolution the General Assembly asks all member states to immediately prevent the limiting of provisions, the hiding or limiting of access to the products necessary to contain and treat the pandemic. Furthermore, the resolution also encourages members to increase funding for vaccine and drug research. This heats AMLO’s temperature since now he can proudly witness how his proposals materialize in international parameters, more importantly, within the UN. 

What is changing AMLO’s temperature?

Answer: the support of 160 states and the UN has legitimized AMLO’s ideology as well as fostered further international cooperation.

AMLO’s proposals originate from the premise that the poorest countries are also the most affected by the pandemic; which accentuates the lack of fair and equal access to medical resources. Therefore, a global and cooperative response to fight the pandemic is imperative. The initiative reaffirms AMLO’s leftist and socialist agenda yet, at an international level of recognition. Reminding many domestically and internationally that his government motto has always been (and will seemingly always be) “first the poor.” 

AMLO and Marcelo Ebrard, the Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations, emphasized that this initiative is historic as Resolution 74/274 has been the first resolution to be adopted in the midst of Covid-19. Moreover, Mexico has joined as the only country in all of Latin America to cooperate in the historic initiative launched by the UN, the European Union, and the World Health Organization to start working jointly in search for a vaccine against the latest Coronavirus; promising to make it available for every citizen in the world.  Furthemore, this crisis has even promoted stronger cooperation with the US (Mexico’s eternal frenemy) as a strong partnership between the United States and Mexico can ensure greater safety at the border. Joint decisions; such as restricting non-essential travel and mandatory health checkups, were made by both AMLO and Trump to ensure that the measures taken will protect everyone’s interests in matters of economy, trade, health and security.  

Ultimately, AMLO and the Mexican delegation have been very proud to take a leading role in the international arena when it comes to fighting Covid. Nevertheless, like many of AMLO’s domestic proposals, his resolution lacks specific actions and methodology to achieve the desired outcomes. Thus, some criticism has been made as many argue that it lacks political elements to make the resolution more tangible and accountable. However, more  conditions would also imply trouble to reach a global consensus particularly in times of crisis. Time will tell which outcome will prevail.

Despite AMLO’s success at the UN, international media have reported AMLO’s management of the pandemic at home as largely inefficient. Many publications have questioned the official figures on infections and deaths caused by Covid-19 as well as criticized AMLO statements. “There are those who say that because of the coronavirus, we shouldn’t hug. We must have to hug, nothing happens” he once said. On other occasions, he has not followed the rules of keeping a safe distance, as he has been out in public kissing, hugging, and shaking hands with people, including children and the elder. To this, AMLO has responded by accusing international media networks such as The New York Times, of lying and lacking ethical coverage

What does this mean for you? 

Answer: As a global citizen, you may view Mexico as an outstanding player in this pandemic. However, if you are a Mexican citizen, you might think differently. 

The fact that the UN adopted an initiative led by AMLO provides him a certain degree of international legitimacy. So, as a citizen from any other nation, this initiative might endorse Mexico as a key global player and a model nation when it comes to holistically handling the Covid-19 pandemic. AMLO has even ensured that his reflective text, “Some lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic,” has been received by other nations in the hope to inspire a message abroad. 

While internationally Mexico (especially AMLO) seems to be a model nation managing the pandemic, the Mexican population obviously does not feel the same way. Surveys show that AMLO’s popularity has dropped significantly since the pandemic broke. An enkoll poll showed that the popularity of the President dropped from February to May, from 67% approval to 44%. The same poll reports that on a scale of 1 to 10, citizens gave a rating of 4.5 to the general management of the pandemic by the President. As a result of the people’s dissatisfaction, protests demanding AMLO to resign occurred in at least 70 cities at the end of May this year. In order to keep the norms of social distancing, people protested in circling vehicles. The protests are mainly due to the lack of optimal solutions from the government, specifically, the lack of governmental action and massive mismanagement of medical supply and medicines. Due to the lack of federal regulation concerning Corona, many Mexican citizens have actually adopted self-isolation or have chosen to work from home, making confinement largely voluntary. Moreover, the doctors and medical staff have not been paid their salaries; there have not been any financial aid or subsidies for people or small companies; and there are no economic recovery measures being introduced or implemented. This lack of regulations has revealed a starkly different situation in Mexico than that proposed in AMLO’s initiatives. Ultimately, AMLO can make ambitious proposals in the international arena, but it can barely sustain its ongoing domestic problems, much less handle a crisis. 

Mexican citizen or not, the package of measures led by AMLO and adopted in the UN is far more platonic than practical as they are unlikely to ever take hold. First, because it would require all the member states to adopt them domestically and actively work to make the resolution happen. And second, because AMLO is largely known for engaging in cheap talk. According to Forbes Mexico, because AMLO made very optimistic promises in his campaign, he had to change his discourse and even contradict himself once he became president as he began to realize how unrealistic his original promises were. Unfortunately, political analysts have affirmed that AMLO has promised what he cannot deliver on at the UN level as his objectives are usually ambitious, with little to no formal action. Thus, AMLO’s hot proposal is likely to freeze over soon enough.

Isabel Barquin

Research and Analysis Intern