Peter Zeihan

Geopolitical Strategist

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Commentary

Is Mexico’s new president just a puppet for Obrador?

Jun 5

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Peter Zeihan

Geopolitical Strategist

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In a historic victory, Claudia Sheinbaum is projected to become Mexico’s first female president and the first Jewish person to hold this office. Sheinbaum, a climate scientist and former mayor of Mexico City, faces a list of challenges as she assumes power. In her victory speech, Sheinbaum thanked outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) as “a unique person who has transformed our country for the better.”

Watch the above video as Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan explains the positive and negative aspects of AMLO. Zeihan argues that President Sheinbaum is a “true believer” in AMLO’s causes and will likely continue his unsuccessful policies.


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The following is an excerpt from Peter’s June 5 “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter:

The most recent Mexican elections have resulted in the victory of Mexico’s first female — and— Jewish leader, Claudia Sheinbaum. She will be succeeding current populist President AMLO, but how much change will this actually bring?

President López Obrador has a bit of a Robin Hood complex, spreading wealth to the poor and neglecting security concerns. These financial transfers gained him favor with the people, but he did this with no regard for sustainability. In addition, while he was spending all his time people-pleasing, the cartels were able to seize control of large parts of Mexico.

But won’t all this change when Claudia Sheinbaum steps into office? Well, AMLO and Sheinbaum are close allies, and it would appear that AMLO will be sitting behind the scenes playing puppet master. So, her ability to address these concerns will all depend on how much string AMLO gives her…

Hi, everyone, Peter Zeihan here coming to you from Vegas where I had to get up early because it’s going to be 180 billion degrees today. Anyway, we’re going to talk about the Mexican elections. We’ve had a sweep by the ruling, we’re in a party, Claudia Shinbun, who is a woman and was Jewish will be the first woman of the first due to rural Mexico. There’s a long lame duck period, there’s gonna be a few months before she’s officially in charge. But I think it’s best for us to get ahead of this, you have an idea of what is coming. She’s taken over from a guy by the name of Amarillo, who is a populace. He likes to call himself a leftist. He’s really not he’s really just kind of a well, really arrogant thug think of him as kind of combining the worst attributes of Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump. There are two sides to anvil one of which is broadly positive, what versus broadly negative first, the positive. The way that Mexico has developed a lot of people have been left behind has a very high rate of poverty. It’s one of the most unequal economically countries in the world. And he wrote the poor people to electoral victory with his election machine. And he’s ruled with them in mind, basically, that huge amounts of financial transfers from the state to the poor purchasing loyalty, certainly. But he hasn’t done it in a way that makes it self sustainable, he has been spending more and more and more money, and has not really built out the development possibilities for the places of the country that are poor. So if the money were to stop for any reason, we basically go back to where we were pre AMLO. So you know, maybe an A for effort, or at least an A for intentions, but it hasn’t really worked out very well. The other part, which is negative has been a disaster. That’s been his complete ignoring of any sort of security issues as being security issues, just denying that they exist. And this has allowed the cartels to seize huge swaths of Mexican system. In essence, there’s four Mexico’s in the north, the northern states have integrated with Texas, primarily in the United States to a lesser degree as part of NAFTA and done very well economically, and have solved a lot of the societal issues that have plagued the rest of Mexico for the entirety of the history of the Republic. Then in the center, you’ve got the area of Mexico City, which is about half the population, which has this kind of sprawling megalopolis, which has all the pros and all of the cons of such a region. Down in the south, you’ve got the poor areas that are not linked into either the industrial heartland of the South or the American Lake section of the North. And then you’ve got the countryside, which is not like me with think of the countryside in the United States. Mexico in the south is jungle and Mexico in the north is a desert, all of it is pretty mountainous, so you don’t have a really dense population in the hinterlands. Just speckling of small communities. Well, amylose choice to ignore the cartels and ignore the security situation has allowed the cartels to largely take over in the south where the state was weakest and in the countryside where the state was already non existent. So you’re talking upwards of a quarter of the territory of Mexico is now not ruled by Mexico, it’s ruled by the cartels. They levy taxes in the form of extortion payments, they provide protection rackets. They’ve branched out of the drug industry and gotten into agriculture and tourism and property taken over local government in this most recent batch of elections. And dozens of political candidates were shot while they were running for office, because the cartel thought that they couldn’t control them. They basically have set up a parallel governing system that the Mexican government has not challenged. And in the best of circumstances, and these are not those are rooting up that sort of alternate system is going to be very difficult, very violent, very time consuming, and very expensive. Which brings us to the new leader shine balm, she has a better record than AMLO of admitting that security issues or security issues, and she’s actually been reasonably competent and running Mexico City where she was mayor, in terms of beefing up security. The problem is she’s not just part of the band. She’s a cult leader. When it comes to AMLO. She She really is a believer in his cause. And AMLO has made it very clear that he has no intention of stepping back from power, he intends to rule indirectly through her something that she seems to be broadly okay with. So continuing the transfers of funds to the poor, that makes a certain amount of sense, especially if she can bring her more scientific acumen into the process in order to actually build out long term potential for these people to earn money for themselves. But on the security issue, it’s a question of how forceful will AMLO be in making what he wants to happen happen? Will he be a quiet really behind the scenes or he’s going to just treat me like a puppet we were not going to know that for the better part of a year. But the danger is very, very clear. AMLO is one of those leaders who has definitely left the country in a worse position than when he took it over and he is now seeking to use unofficial means to continue his rule Just that’s not great

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