On Thursday, April 7, just three days before the recall referendum scheduled for this Sunday, April 10, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum led a rally at the Monument to the Revolution, in support of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). Sheinbaum criticized the councilors of the National Electoral Institute (INE) who, despite having placed as many obstacles as possible to make the referendum fail, continue to enjoy privileges including exceptionally high salaries.
Before a congregation of 80,000 people, Sheinabum gave a a speech criticizing the electoral councilors “because they lack moral authority” ever since the 2006 elections, when the electoral fraud in favor of Felipe Calderón went unpunished by the INE. As for the recall referendum, “they [the INE] have hidden the location of polling stations and have not informed the public on the referendum,” said Sheinbaum. She stated this in reference to the fact that the INE has not advertised the referendum nor provided relevant information to the public. It has also refused to install the number of voting stations mandated by the General Law of Recall, claiming that the institute was not provided enough funds. There would be localities where not a single voting center would be installed. It has been alleged that this was a deliberate move on the part of the INE, so that voter participation does not reach 40% of the electoral roll, a number that is necessary for the process to become binding.
Sheinbaum highlighted the importance of the recall referendum, which the future presidents of Mexico will not be able to ignore, since every three years they will be subjected to the will of the people. Just before her speech, documentary producer Epigmenio Ibarra addressed the crowd and stated that if such a referendum had been applied to Calderón, “how many lives could have been saved from the war on drugs?”
“From the Monument to the Revolution we tell the president that slander will not defeat him—nothing will because the people are with him,” declared Mayor Sheinbaum during her speech. “President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is not alone.”
The thousands who attended the event did not stop shouting “me!” every time the mayor asked the crowd “who is going to participate in the referendum on Sunday?”
The national leader of ruling party MORENA, Mario Delgado, and the president of the organization Que Siga la Democracia [May Democracy Continue], Gabriela Jiménez, urged people to show their support for the president in order to continue with the process of political transformation that began in 2018.
The crowds gathered all the way from the Monument to the Revolution to the Paseo de la Reforma avenue. Disregarding the summer heat, attendees marched and waved flags in support of AMLO and the Fourth Transformation movement.
This event was branded as a meeting to defend the president’s electricity reform proposal. Mayor Sheinbaum called on the Congress representatives “to make history,” to leave behind partisanship as well as ex-President Enrique Peña Nieto’s 2013 reforms by voting in favor of the new reform.
Sheinbaum asked the crowd: “What are we going to gain with President López Obrador’s reform? Sovereignty, social security, a future, and hope. Do we want renewable energy? Yes, of course, but without the plundering of peasants’ land. Do we want clean energy? Of course, yes, but not at the cost of subsidizing energy transmission to large transnationals.”
Earlier in the day, Sheinbaum stated that, as head of the government of Mexico City, she does not have to shut up about her opinion on the electricity reform, in her role as an expert on energy and also as a member of a political movement. However, she did not rule out that there have been claims by the INE against her explicit comments, as the electoral authority declared some weeks ago that no government official could comment on the recall referendum.
Morena Congressman Miguel Torruco explained the benefits of the reform that would modify three articles of the Constitution. This would imply the strengthening of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), the transition to cleaner energies, and the safeguarding of lithium in Mexico.
Aerial images of the meeting showed empty chairs that were supposed to be occupied by special guests, but these guests preferred to go up on the stage and show their support for Sheinbaum and the Morena leadership. Among these were members of the federal and local cabinets, other mayors, legislative representatives, and leaders of social organizations.
Dozens of people arrived in buses from Xochimilco and Tlalpan, shouting “we come here of our own will.” Maricruz and Elizabeth, two participants at the meeting, said that President López Obrador must have the people’s support for the reforms to ensure that the government support that they had not received during previous administrations but are receiving now continues, such as scholarships for poor students and financial support for single mothers. The buses had parked before 4 pm on Tolsá street and reached all the way to Balderas Avenue.
Featured image: About 80,000 people filled the square and the streets around the Monument to the Revolution in Mexico City on April 7 to show their support for the electricity reform that is being promoted by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The meeting was led by the Chief of the Government of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum. Photo: Luis Castillo
(La Jornada) by Sandra Hernández García, with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune