This speech was delivered by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on July 1, 2021. It was his second quarterly report of the year. In his speech, the President addresses how the government has responded to the COVID pandemic, the country’s economic performance a year into the health-control measures, public safety, and the recently concluded mid-term elections.
SPEECH BY ANDRÉS MANUEL LÓPEZ OBRADOR, PRESIDENT OF MEXICO IN HIS SECOND QUARTERLY REPORT 2021
In the three months covered by this report, there have been encouraging signs of recovery from the health and economic crises.
From April to June, the number of infections dropped considerably and, most importantly, fewer deaths from Covid have been registered during this period.
Although this is a global trend and the application of new medications, especially the vaccine, is beginning to take effect, we should not fail to recognize the joint effort made by the people and the government to gradually return to normality.
Let’s not forget the responsible attitude of many Mexicans who have taken care of themselves, either in their homes, or those who have the vital need to go out in the streets to seek their daily sustenance. Let’s not forget the way in which the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases were cared for in the family.
Let’s thank those who closed a business, but didn’t fail to pay their workers; let’s express our gratitude to the doctors, nurses, and health workers who risked their lives to save others. All these gestures of love and true solidarity have helped us to bear the sacrifices and suffering. Solidarity has also been present for those who lost their loved ones to the terrible Covid pandemic.
As for our own actions, we have done everything humanly possible to confront the pandemic and save lives. It is public knowledge that we provided information and responded in a timely manner, that we organized the public health system, which was in ruins, at the right time. We did not hesitate to allocate resources to address the pandemic. In 15 months, the health budget has increased by 70 billion pesos. Construction of hospitals was completed, and they were converted, and equipped; more than 70,000 health workers were hired and trained. In short, no one who was sick was left without a bed, ventilators, or health personnel to care for them. Even though in these sensitive and sad times it is not correct to make comparisons, I would limit myself to saying that our country is not among the top places in COVID mortality, either in the Americas or in the rest of the world.
The National Vaccination Program has worked effectively. To date, we have received 57,336,595 doses of Pfizer, Sinovac, Sputnik, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Cansino vaccines. They have come from pharmaceutical companies and foreign governments that have demonstrated, in action, their solidarity with Mexico. I would like to highlight the support of Cuba, Argentina, the United States, Russia, China, and India. We have vaccinated 35 percent of the entire population over the age of 18; we have already completed this important preventive work in Baja California and I would like to reiterate our commitment to vaccinate everyone over the age of 18 in the country with one dose by October, so that we can begin winter better protected.
Having 19 states in a green COVID stoplight, 8 in yellow, 5 in orange, and none in red, is also a good sign for the normalization of the country’s productive, educational, and social activity. The countryside is churning out agricultural production without limitations. Last year agricultural production increased 2 percent, and has done the same so far this year. The industrial sector is in full recovery and so are commerce, tourism, restaurants, aviation, and other services.
Almost all forecasts for this year agree that the economy will grow around 6 percent. We have not taken on additional public debt, something that has not happened in three decades. The peso has not been devalued during the first two and a half years of our administration, and the minimum wage has increased by 44 percent in real terms, a situation that not been seen in 36 years. We have not increased, in real terms, the prices of gasoline, diesel, and electricity. Natural gas prices have increased above inflation; we are soon going to correct this. Since we took office to date, the stock exchange index has risen by 20 percent; inflation remains stable, the interest rate set by the Banco de México has been reduced during our administration by 3.75 percent. The Banco de México’s reserves at the end of the last administration, on November 30, 2018, stood at slightly below 173.76 billion dollars, today they are at almost 192.89 billion dollars, that is, they have increased 11 percent. It is also gratifying to report that of the more than 20.61 million workers enrolled in the Social Security and Health Care system before the pandemic, almost 1.40 million jobs were lost, but we have already recovered 957,248 jobs, 69 percent, so that we only lack 438,156 jobs, 31 percent, in order to be we were at before the health crisis began.
What is most important is that the pandemic did not lead to a crisis in consumption. Thanks to remittances and the support of social welfare programs that reach and are applied from the bottom up, from the poorest to the top of the population pyramid, it has been possible to avoid scarcity of food and other basic necessities. (Just today, the Banco de México announced that remittances that entered the country in May reached the record figure of more than 4.51 billion dollars. Thank you, fellow countrymen and countrywomen.)
There have been no violent attacks on businesses or acts of vandalism or desperation due to hunger or lack of attention to people’s basic needs.
We have also made progress in the area of public safety. Even with the complexity of the problem we inherited, the crime rate continues to drop. In the time we have been in office, homicides have decreased by 2 percent; vehicle theft is down by 40 percent; kidnapping by 41 percent; home robbery by 26 percent. Nevertheless, we still have seen increases of 14 percent in femicides, 9 percent in individual robberies in public transportation, and 26 percent in extortion.
As always, I am grateful for the support of the Security Cabinet that every day, from Monday to Friday, as of 6:00 a.m., meets and receives daily reports from all over the country and takes measures to achieve peace. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the members of the Cabinet and the institutions that have conducted themselves in accordance with the circumstances for their support. This is a team of women, of men, who have proven to be authentic public servants, hard-working, honest and, something that is very important, with deep social convictions.
Even with the crisis of the pandemic and the economy we were able to hold one of the most participated in and competitive elections in the history of Mexico, without major problems and consolidating the democratic system and method.
Guided by the Maderista ideal (TN1) and by our convictions in favor of the cause of democracy and against electoral fraud, we pledged that the federal government and the budget would not be used to benefit any candidate or party. And we complied with this pledge; that is, as rarely before, on this occasion no elections were held under the tutelage of the state. There was still the shameful buying of votes with money, bank cards, or gift baskets of food, but there were no massacres nor was violence unleashed against innocent citizens to instill fear.
In Guerrero, for example, no candidate was subject to violence, and practically the same thing occurred in most of the states. On June 6, some 162,538 polling stations were opened, 99.98 percent of the programmed number, and only 32 polling stations were not installed due to the atmosphere of violence in some places in 7 municipalities around the country. Voter participation for a mid-term election was not bad, 52 percent of the 93 million registered voters cast their ballots. And something very important: in spite of the fact that, as in all elections, tempers flare, on this occasion, there were no post-election protests due to accusations of fraud.
There were no significant demonstrations in the country’s streets or public squares, full liberties have been guaranteed, without the political, media, or police repression of other past times.
As for the results, I feel it is necessary to analyze the fact that, due to the transformation we are implementing, a conservative bloc openly opposed to the government I represent and to the public policies we are putting into practice has been formed. First of all, I would like to point out that this reactionary group will always be respected and will be free to exercise their right to dissent. They are adversaries, not enemies. We will not treat them as they treated us when we were in the opposition. We do not see them as enemies to be destroyed but as adversaries to be defeated. We simply defend and represent different and opposing national projects.
In this bloc, businessmen, media owners, right-wing journalists and intellectuals, political party leaders, leaders of the so-called civil society and politicians of the old regime, among others, have legitimately joined together to confront the transformation project we are implementing to put an end to corruption and inequality.
As was to be expected, our adversaries focused their batteries basically on preventing us from obtaining a majority in the Chamber of Deputies, whose exclusive power it is to approve the budget, they did everything they could, they even resorted to waging a dirty war, but fortunately they did not achieve their objective. The “Together We Make History” alliance, which defends our transformation project, won in 186 of the 300 congressional districts in dispute, while the conservative bloc obtained 107 seats and the Citizen Movement party, seven. If we add to this the distribution of proportional representation seats, the caucus of those who are with us will have a comfortable majority.
In other words, there is now certainty that the budget earmarked for the country’s development and the welfare of the people will be approved. They were beaten in a good fight, because the people are wise. They will not be able to stop the assistance and support earmarked for the poor. They will not be able to eliminate, as they wanted, the stipends for the elderly, for children with disabilities, the scholarships for students from poor families, nor the free medical attention and medicines.
Nor will they be able to stop the Sembrando Vida program (TN2), nor the Jóvenes Construyendo el Futuro program (TN3), nor the Felipe Ángeles airport (TN4), nor the Mayan Train (TN5), nor the Banco del Bienestar (TN6), nor the Internet for All plan, nor the Isthmus of Tehuantepec project, nor anything that is directed to the poor whom they abhor because, with honorable exceptions, conservatives are classists, racists, and hypocrites, as President Juárez rightly said in one of the few times he dealt with the subject. I would like to quote him verbatim: “The rich and the powerful do not feel, much less try to remedy the misfortunes of the poor… it may happen that at some time the powerful agree to raise their helping hand for a poor, oppressed people, but they will do so for their own interest and convenience. That will be a possibility that should never serve as a surefire hope for the weak.”
However, I neither possess nor aspire to have a monopoly on absolute truth, that is why I want to reiterate: our adversaries will always receive from the government I represent, the respect and freedom, to which they are entitled, to express themselves without limits, repression, or censorship.
Today we celebrate three years since the historic victory of our movement and I still remember when on December 1, 2018, on the way to the Chamber of Deputies to take office as President of the Republic, a young man on a bicycle approached our car and shouted to me “don’t go and fail us”. I believe, with the passing of time, that I did not disappoint the hopes of that young man or of those who voted for me three years ago.
Possibly there are those who imagined it would be otherwise or who have come to the conclusion, in the exercise of their freedom and their criteria, that they do not share my ideas and that they do not like my style of governing. But no one, in all honesty, will be able to say that I have not fulfilled my commitment to do away with corruption and use my imagination, experience, and work for the benefit of the people and the nation.
The achievements are there for all to see. Despite the pandemic and the suffering it brought in its wake, the people have not lost faith in a better future, there are full freedoms and slowly but surely we are pacifying the country without violating human rights and without repressing the people.
I am glad that this is how most Mexicans understand it. Three days ago a national telephone survey was completed and I would like to share with you some of its questions and responses:
– Compared to last year, how is your current economic situation?
Better, 15.3 percent
The same, 42.9 percent
Worse, 40.0 percent
Don’t know/no answer, 1.9 percent
– How do you think your economic situation will be in the next year?
Better, 38.4 percent
The same, 26.8 percent
Worse, 23.2 percent
Don’t know/no answer, 11.6 percent
– What do you think the country’s situation will be like at the end of this six-year presidential administration?
Better, 41.4 percent
The same, 23.9 percent
Worse, 26.9 percent
Don’t know/no answer, 7.8 percent
– In your opinion, how is corruption in the country in this administration compared to the previous one?
Greater, 19.7 percent
The same, 33.3 percent
Less, 43.0 percent
Don’t know/no response, 4.0 percent
– Do you think the current government represents an important change?
Yes, 64.7 percent
No, 31.1 percent
Don’t know, 2.5 percent
No answer, 1.6 percent
– Do you agree with this change?
Yes, 87.4 percent
No, 9.6 percent
Don’t know, 1.6 percent
No answer, 1.4 percent
– On a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 means very bad and 10 means very good, how would you rate the country’s president?
6. 7 on average
– The presidential recall referendum proposes that, if the people are not satisfied with the form of government of the president in office, they can vote for him to resign before the end of his six-year term. If today the consultation to evaluate the president’s work were held, would you vote for him to resign or to conclude his six-year term in office?
For him to continue, 72.4 percent
For him to resign, 22.7 percent
Don’t care, 1.1 percent
Don’t know or didn’t answer, 3.8 percent
In short, we are given good marks, but we aspire to convince more people that the best thing for everyone is to elevate honesty to a supreme value and to be proud of the great reservoir of cultural, moral, and spiritual values that we inherited from our forefathers. That is the greatness of Mexico.
Fraternity, as stated in the Ethical Guide for the Transformation of Mexico, means making the problems of others our own. Fraternity is the active and affective, but respectful commitment in the search for solutions to the problems of others. Ideally, it should be the guide of the social action of states, governments, institutions, societies, and individuals in order to overcome or alleviate the suffering, shortages, and helplessness of millions of people.
It is the collective duty of nations to provide each of their children with a cradle to be born in, a desk to learn at, tools to work with, a bed to sleep in, a table to eat at, a roof over their heads, a place in the hospital to be cured, and a grave to rest in.
And what is the reward we will get for devoting time, as much time as possible, to this noble task? It will be to be at peace with our conscience and with our fellow men and women, and to enjoy the immense happiness that comes from helping everyone to live in a freer, fairer, safer, more peaceful, and prosperous country.
I conclude, friends, Mexicans, by sending this brief message to the people of Mexico. Thank you for renewing your trust in me; I repeat, I will always be at your service and I will never, ever betray you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you very much.
National Palace, July 1, 2021
TN1 – The ideals of Mexican President Francisco Madero (1873-1913) and emblematic figure in the 1910 Mexican Revolution are democracy, freedom, and the no-reelection of government officials.
TN2 – Sembrando Vida (Planting Life) – social program that seeks to address the problems of rural poverty and environmental degradation.
TN3 – Jovenes Construyendo el Futuro (Young People Building the Future), social program aimed at young people age 18-29. Provides job training and a monthly stipend as well as health insurance for those enrolled in the program.
TN4 – The Felipe Angeles airport is being built in place of the costly, corruption-ridden, and controversial New Mexico City Airport imposed by the previous presidential administration.
TN5 – Mayan Train, a modern railway designed to bring tourism and development to southeast Mexico.
TN6 – Banco de Bienestar – a new government bank designed to expedite payments made through social welfare programs and to provide loans to family businesses.