SPEECH BY ANDRÉS MANUEL LÓPEZ OBRADOR, PRESIDENT OF MEXICO, ON THE THIRD ANNIVERSARY OF HIS TAKING OFFICE, 2018-2021
As in the best of times, we are once again gathered in this democratic Zócalo square of the capital of the Republic. Today we complete three years in office and we are on our feet. In spite of the pandemic that has caused us so much pain, despite the economic crisis triggered by neoliberalism or neoporfirismo (TN-1), we are on our feet. We have resisted adversity and we continue to advance in the transformation of Mexico’s public life.
We are moving forward because of the cultural strength of our people, who have always saved us in the face of calamities, but also because of the formula we have been applying of governing with honesty and placing all our attention on the well-being of the people.
It is an enormous joy to be able to say that almost all the communities in Mexico have received assistance, support, to alleviate poverty and keep hope for the future alive.
We are now fulfilling our promise to increase the financial subsidy for 9 million senior citizens above the age of 65 in the country.
We will increase the financial subsidy for children with disabilities and we are reaching agreements with state governments to extend it to all ages, to make it universal.
Starting in January of next year, we will increase the number of scholarships for students from poor families, from preschool to higher education, so that at least in the last three years, the inflation rate will be incorporated in the amount provided. These scholarships benefit 11 million low-income students. We are investing -because it is not an expense, it is an investment- 75 billion pesos a year; it is a program without precedent in Mexico.
Guaranteeing public health care has been a challenge. Corruption in the health care sector reached the point where a small group of pharmaceutical suppliers, which included politicians from the old regime, sold medicines not only at exaggeratedly high prices, but also adulterated or of very low quality.
In addition, during the neoliberal period, public education was so neglected that unfortunately we do not have the doctors the country needs. We should have three doctors for every thousand inhabitants and we only have 1.2.
The control of the pandemic is allowing us to return to our original four-point plan to improve health care services: doctors, medicines, good facilities, and regularizing the salaries and job status of the sector’s employees.
The training program for general practitioners is underway and positions for residents or specialists have been expanded. The creation of new medical schools, such as the medical school of the Mexico City government and the 40 medical and nursing schools of the Benito Juarez education system, have enabled us to have more spaces available to put an end to the absurd policy of rejecting the admission of those who wish to study.
We have opened new training spaces in hospitals of the Ministry of Health, State Employees Social Security and Services Institute (ISSSTE), Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the Ministry of Defense (Sedena), and the Navy. This has enabled us to go from 8,000 doctors who were admitted for specialization training in 2018 to 18,000 in 2021; and together with scholarships that we will grant to study abroad, by 2024, the deficit in medical specialists will be reduced by 25 percent.
We will continue with the consolidated purchases of pharmaceuticals in Mexico and abroad to perfect the supply and distribution system without intermediaries or corruption. Just as we did with vaccines, in January we will begin a general pharmaceutical distribution plan, supported by the Armed Forces with land and air transportation to deliver medicines to the most remote health care centers and hospitals in the country. By the same token, we will comply with the regularization of the job status and salaries of the 80,000 health care workers, as was our original commitment. I anticipate that all those who were hired to address the health crisis will retain their jobs. In short, the dream that I want to turn into reality is that at the end of our administration, the public health system will allow any person, regardless of their economic, social or cultural condition, to be attended to as they deserve, with doctors, specialists, free studies and medicines, and that health care will cease to be, in short, a privilege and become a universal right of our people.
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As we all known, the pandemic also wreaked havoc in the field of education. Even though we immediately and effectively initiated an extensive distance education program, nothing can replace in-person education, not only because it is a more effective form of learning but also because it allows for social interaction in school. For students, school is their second home. That is why we planned to begin the return to in-person classes with the new school year, and today 23.5 million students at the basic level are attending classes with the support, and I wish to acknowledge and thank them for this, of 1.8 million teachers.
With the School is Ours program, by the end of this year we will have provided direct support to parents’ associations for the maintenance of 60,000 schools, 30 percent of all public schools, and we will continue to move forward with this until we reach the figure of 100 percent of the country’s schools.
We cancelled the misnamed educational reform that was imposed without the agreement and support of teachers, who are the ones who transmit knowledge in the classrooms. By amending this absurdity and treating educators with respect, listening to them and resolving their just demands, we have avoided conflicts and have relied on teachers and parents to expand the scope and improve the quality of education.
With the new National Council on Science and Technology (Conacyt) we will have more researchers and scientists making contributions such as the one that meant the creation of ventilators to treat seriously ill COVID patients; and next year, if all goes well, we will have the Patria vaccine.
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It is appropriate to recall that as long as we are in office, the entry of transgenic corn into the country will not be allowed; fracking will not be used for the extraction of crude oil; new mining concessions will not be granted; aquifers will not be overexploited; the felling of rain forests and woodlands will not be allowed; the installation of toxic or hazardous waste dumps will not be authorized; no company that does not have a sewage treatment plant will be permitted to operate; violations of the air quality standard or any activity that damages health, destroys the land, or affects the environment will not be approved.
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I have no doubt that soon, very soon, we will finish emerging from the economic crisis. On what do I base my optimism? First, on the fact that we did not get into debt, we did not get into debt as occurred in other countries; second, that we did not experience a drop in tax revenue collection, the income in the Public Treasury. This will allow us to maintain healthy and sufficient public finances to continue driving growth and job creation with public work projects such as the Mayan Train, the new refinery, the two new airports, the development of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and the highways; with the growth in oil production, the modernization of the refineries and the hydroelectric plants; with the recovery of the national electric power industry and other actions financed with the public budget, without contracting debt. Other factors, good and favorable elements, are the great potential for growth in the agricultural sector, the increase in tourism, and the exceptional advantage of the trade agreement with the United States and Canada to attract foreign investment, create jobs, and promote the country’s industrial development.
There are factors that will greatly help to continue producing food and reverse the abandonment of agriculture. One of them will be the policy to continue benefiting small producers, communal farmers, ejidatarios (TN-2) and small landowners with guaranteed prices, the supply of free fertilizers, and production programs for well-being.
We will also boost the economy with the incorporation of 100,000 hectares of irrigation canals that will be completed in 2024, which we are building in northern Nayarit and with the Santa María and Picachos dams in Sinaloa, as well as the new irrigation program for the Yaqui communities (TN-3).
In the energy sector, we will achieve the goal of no longer purchasing gasoline and diesel fuel abroad; we will produce and sell these fuels in the domestic market. This will imply not exporting crude oil and transforming all our raw material here in Mexico- To this end, by the end of 2023, we will be processing 1.2 million barrels per day in the six refineries that are being refurbished; an additional 340,000 barrels in the refinery we purchased from the Shell oil company and the same amount, another 340,000 barrels, in the new Dos Bocas refinery in Paraíso, Tabasco. In general, we will have the capacity to refine around 1.88 million barrels per day of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, which is equivalent to guaranteeing our national consumption.
With the new constitutional reform that we are sending to Congress, the new bill, we will recover the balance lost with the neoliberal energy policy which, perversely and contrary to the public interest, sought to ruin the national electric industry and leave the market in the hands of private, mainly foreign, companies. This bill also includes the stipulation that lithium should be the property of the nation.
In order to guarantee sufficient electric power generation, we have initiated a program to modernize turbines and other complementary equipment at 16 hydroelectric plants. Likewise, the construction of six thermoelectric plants is being put up for bidding and the building of the solar energy generation park in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora is about to begin. All this, plus other actions that, when added together, will make it possible for us to continue producing what is required for domestic and business consumption, avoiding technical problems or blackouts, with better control in the management of transmission lines and, most importantly, maintaining, in real terms, the cost of electric energy for consumers without increases.
Special attention to south-southeast Mexico is changing the profile of development in our country. For example, the Mayan Train involves an investment to the tune of 150 billion pesos to build 1,500 kilometers of railroad tracks with fast and modern trains that will be able to take tourists arriving from Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum, Quintana Roo to the south of that state, to Yucatan, Campeche, Chiapas and Tabasco. There will be 42 trains with 243 cars, which will be manufactured by Bombardier and Alstom in Ciudad Sahagún, in the state of Hidalgo, by means of a contract, which we have already signed, to acquire 36 billion pesos from the public budget.
For the new Tulum airport, we already have the land – 1,200 hectares- and the technical project has already begun, with work slated to begin early next year and conclude in December 2023.
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Another important project for the development of the south-southeast is the Isthmus of Tehuantepec train, which will link the Pacific Rim countries with the east coast of the United States. The port of Salina Cruz is being modernized with docks, container yards, and warehouses, and with the construction of a breakwater one and a half kilometers offshore.
We are doing the same with the expansion of the port of Coatzacoalcos, in the Gulf of Mexico. Communication between this port and the port of Salina Cruz will be made via a railroad line, for cargo and passengers, which is being rebuilt to make the transfer from one ocean to the other in six hours.
The project contemplates the creation of ten industrial parks along the route from port to port, of which we already have eight of 320 hectares on average for each; there the companies will receive fiscal stimuli in VAT and Income Tax payments. The idea is that jobs will be created and this zone will become a window of opportunity for those who are forced to migrate from the south to the northern border in search of better living and working conditions.
The project also includes the rehabilitation of 310 kilometers of railroad tracks from Coatzacoalcos to Palenque, with a connection to the Mayan Train, plus a branch line from the Chontalpa station to the Dos Bocas refinery, as well as 472 kilometers of railroad tracks, also for cargo and passengers, from Ixtepec, Oaxaca, to Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas; that is, to the border with the sister Republic of Guatemala.
We have a huge tourist potential thanks to our geographical richness, and something we must not forget, thanks to Mexico’s cultures. Throughout the country there are incomparable natural attractions and a cultural diversity comprised of 62 ethnic indigenous groups.
And just as we are promoting the southeast and the Isthmus with the construction of airports, good roads, and modern trains, we are also attending to the coast of Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa, including the revival of the Islas Marías, which was once a dreaded prison and is now becoming a school for environmental protection and cultural and historical tourism. Next year we will also finish a modern highway from the city of Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido and Huatulco.
In 2023 we will finish the highway from the city of Oaxaca to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the road from the Isthmus to Acayucan, Veracruz, as well as some 250 concrete and stone roads, built by the women and men of the villages of Oaxaca, roads that are true works of art.
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On my recent trip to Washington I proposed three basic actions. First, an investment plan in North America and throughout the continent for import substitution; assistance for Central American countries to reduce migratory flows; and support for President Biden’s initiative to regularize the status of 11 million undocumented migrants, mostly our countrymen who live and work honestly in that country. I told President Biden with all frankness that we are going to be watching the behavior of the legislators of both the Democratic and Republican parties and that with all due respect and frankness we would speak out at the appropriate time to point out things that do not signify solidarity and at the same time acknowledge our gratitude for those who vote for that initiative.
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We have faced the most devastating effects of the pandemic with the fraternal and exemplary performance of health care personnel, from the humblest orderly and nurse to the most highly specialized physician. It also tremendously helped us that we had the vaccine in time. Today, 86 percent of Mexicans over 18 years of age are protected, almost all of them with two doses; we have already begun to vaccinate young people between 15 and 18 years of age and we are going to apply booster shots, starting with senior citizens.
The reduction in the number of hospitalized patients and, above all, the considerable decrease in deaths, not only alleviates human suffering, but is also positive for economic, educational and social normalization. Last year, despite the pandemic, agricultural production increased by 2 percent, and this year’s corn and bean harvests will be abundant thanks to the rains.
The industrial sector is in full recovery, as are retail trade, tourism, restaurants, aviation, and other services. We are receiving foreign investment as never before; in the first nine months of this year, more than 24.83 billion dollars have entered the country. We are the main trade partner of the United States. This year, remittances from our migrant countrymen and women –let’s have a round of applause for our migrant countrymen and women- what they send to their relatives in Mexico, will reach the record figure of 50 billion dollars. Today, incidentally, the Banco de México announced that this past October, remittances amounted to almost 4.82 billion dollars, 34 percent more than the same month last year, another historic record. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Almost all forecasts agree that the economy will grow around 6 percent this year. We have not contracted additional public debt; the peso did not depreciate during the first two years and eleven months of the current administration, something that had not occurred in three decades. However, due to external factors, in November, the peso depreciated 4 percent. In any case, there is no comparison with what occurred during previous presidential administrations. Our currency is stable.
Today, by consensus, the labor, employer, and government sectors agreed to a 22 percent increase in the minimum wage for next year. This means that during our administration, the minimum wage has increased 65 percent in real terms, something that has not happened in more than three decades. Furthermore, the minimum wage in the border area has more than doubled during the time we have been in office. We have not increased the prices of gasoline, diesel and electricity in real terms; natural gas has increased slightly above inflation, but maximum prices have already been established and Gas Bienestar (TN-7) was created, which will be expanded to guarantee fair prices. Since we took office to date, the Stock Exchange index has grown by 19 percent. Inflation has also increased recently, but remains at 7 percent, the same as in the United States. The interest rate set by the Banco de México has been cut by 3 percent, and if that institution had reserves of slightly below 173.78 billion dollars at the end of the last administration, they now reach 199.31 billion dollars, 25 billion dollars more, an increase of 15 percent.
It is also satisfying to report that we have recovered 1,395,000 jobs that were lost due to the pandemic, and 320,000 additional jobs have been created. As a result, we now have the highest figure in history in terms of formal employment, with 20,933,000 registered workers enrolled in the Mexican Social Security Institute and with an average salary, also unprecedented, of 13,000 pesos per month.
The pandemic, with the support of all Mexicans, because we govern with the people, that is democracy: government of the people, for the people, and by the people. What would our government be without the support of the people? Long live the people of Mexico! The pandemic did not lead to a consumption crisis; thanks -as I have already said- to the remittances and the support of the funds from the Social Welfare Programs that arrive and are applied from the bottom up, not as before, when first it was those at the top because they said that if it rained hard at the top, it would drip down, as if wealth were permeable or contagious. To hell with them and that story. Thus, we were able to avoid the lack of food and other basic necessities.
Even with the seriousness of the problem of public insecurity that we inherited, we have not fought violence with violence. We have accredited our humanist conviction with concrete actions, demonstrating, in practice, that evil must be confronted by doing good, that peace is the fruit of justice, that human beings are not evil by nature, and that it is circumstances that lead some to join the ranks of crime.
It may take time to pacify the country, but the surest formula is to address the root causes that generate public insecurity and crime, namely poverty, social disintegration, family dislocation, corruption, and inequality that trigger frustration and loss of cultural, moral, and spiritual values.
That is why we have made an effort to attend to young people. Let’s go for young people! Those who do not become students or enter the job market have opportunities to do so. They should not be left on their own to be sucked in by crime in exchange for money, fame, or cheap luxuries. The real confrontation with gang leaders, the real one, the profound one, the important one, is to prevent them from taking young people, to prevent them from recruiting young people, to take away their source of recruits, to prevent them from having a reserve army to commit crimes.
We are achieving this with the social welfare programs, guaranteeing support to young people and the opportunity to work and study. Every day we work for this purpose in a coordinated manner in the Security Cabinet, and in three years we have managed to reduce fuel theft, the so-called huachicol, by 95 percent and homicides by only 0.7 percent, because we inherited this situation with very high numbers and we had to contain the growth in this type of crime and we are now gradually reducing it, we’re talking about homicides here. Meanwhile, we have reduced vehicle theft by 29 percent; kidnapping, by 20 percent; and so on in almost all common and federal crimes.
Here I would like to highlight the importance that the creation of the National Guard had at the time, with the support of all parties in Congress. The National Guard now has 100,000 members and operates in almost all regions of the country from 207 barracks built in these three years by military engineers.
The accusations that we are militarizing the country lack all logic and the most elementary good faith. The Armed Forces have not been ordered to wage war on anyone; they have not been asked to monitor or oppress society, to violate laws, to curtail liberties and, much less, to engage in repressive actions.
The vast effort to achieve peace has been carried out without human rights violations, without the involvement of federal forces in massacres, without committing torture, without forced disappearances and extrajudicial executions as was previously the case. The “kill them in the heat of the moment” no longer applies.
On the contrary, in this new stage, the generous and decisive participation of our soldiers and marines in helping the population in disasters, floods, earthquakes; in actions for development, well-being, and peace is a reaffirmation of their loyalty to the people and civil institutions. This participation of the Armed Forces also contributes to leaving behind the distance and even the distrust between civilians and the military that was generated by the erroneous and perverse decisions of previous governments. That is why I would like to reiterate: the Armed Forces, let’s not forget, were born with the Mexican Revolution, it is not an elite army, it does not belong to the oligarchy, it is not the same as other armies around the world. The Armed Forces arise from the people, the soldiers are uniformed citizens. Therefore, I would like to congratulate the Ministry of the Navy and the Ministry of National Defense for their dedication and for their support.
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As I have argued for years, corruption should not only be fought for moral reasons but also because of the large amount of resources that are being recovered for the development and well-being of the people. Instead of obtaining, as used be the case, lines of credit and putting the country into debt, as was the neoliberal practice during periods of crisis, we chose to intensify the fight against corruption. In the first year in office we managed, among other measures, to eliminate, because this is legalized corruption, tax waivers for large taxpayers, big companies, major banks, influence peddlers, who did not pay taxes. It was also codified in the Constitution that corruption is a serious crime, since it was not characterized as such when the Penal Code was reformed in the Carlos Salinas de Gortari administration. Thanks to this, the Public Treasury has been strengthened. Despite the pandemic, in three years, we increased tax collection by 400 billion pesos and we were one of the few countries in the world, I believe only two nations, in which tax revenue did not decline.
We continue to save on construction costs and contracting services. The best demonstration of the advantages of this strategy can be clearly seen in the comparison between the construction of the Felipe Ángeles airport and the failed Texcoco airport project. That project, cancelled by the people’s decision, had an estimated cost of 300 billion pesos; in contrast, the General Felipe Ángeles airport will be built with less than 75 billion pesos; and even adding the 100 billion pesos for the settlement of contracts with companies hired for the Texcoco project –and by the way, we owe absolutely nothing to those companies- we will obtain savings of around 125 billion pesos. I remember I just said that the Mayan Train is going to mean an investment of 150 billion pesos and by having made the decision to build the Felipe Angeles airport and cancel the Texcoco airport, we are saving 125 billion pesos, that is, with these savings we are financing the Mayan Train. Is it important to fight corruption, yes or no?
With the policy of fighting corruption and promoting republican austerity we have saved, in the three years, 1.40 trillion pesos. The cancellation of trusts and funds that were managed in a discretionary and dishonest manner and for the benefit of the few, has also allowed us to free up more budgetary resources for the benefit of the people.
We are directly helping growers and fishermen with economic resources. We reestablished guaranteed prices, we are providing support to 440,000 peasant farmers who are planting fruit and timber trees on one million hectares. It is also an enormous pleasure to be able to say here, in this democratic Zócalo, that the most important reforestation program in the world, the largest investment, 1.3 billion dollars in the Sembrando Vida program, has not been seen in any other country on the planet. Fertilizers are provided to all producers in Guerrero, more than 300,000 farmers in Guerrero receive their fertilizers free of charge, as well as 68,000 peasant farmers in Puebla, Tlaxcala, and Morelos, and next year we will include producers in Chiapas, Oaxaca, Zacatecas, Durango, and Nayarit, and before the end of the six-year presidential term, we will be benefiting one million poor farmers in our country with free fertilizers. Let those who feed us eat. More than 2.09 million young people have worked as apprentices, receiving a minimum wage. In three years we have granted 3.7 million unsecured loans for housing construction and improvement and for the benefit of rural producers and small family businesses. We have not stopped paying teachers, doctors, nurses, soldiers, marines, police and other public servants. There have been no textbook shortages for elementary and high school education and we are working, because this is very important, to improve the contents of these textbooks.
Construction has been completed or is still underway for 145 public universities. Urban spaces have been improved in low-income neighborhoods; these urban spaces have been enriched for recreation, culture, and sports in low-income neighborhoods in 100 municipalities around the country. Some 95,182 communities already have Internet connection, next year the number will rise to 122,000 and in 2023, the network will cover the entire country. The Bank of Well-Being (TN-4) continues to expand, with 1,139 branches having been built so far, also with military engineers, and with 516 more in the works. In the next two years the Bank of Well-Being will have coverage even in the most remote regions of the country, with 2,700 new branches. It will be the Mexican bank with the most branches throughout the country.
We have published 66 titles by famous authors, with 2,386,000 free or affordable copies distributed. The cultural and ecological parks of the Bosque de Chapultepec and Lago Texcoco are under construction. We concluded work on the Guadalajara Suburban Train and we are continuing with the rail line from Toluca to Mexico City. We rehabilitated the Tuxtla Gutiérrez and Chetumal airports, and the Mexico City airport is in the process of being refurbished. On March 21st of next year we will inaugurate the modern General Felipe Ángeles airport. We have invested 34 billion pesos in maintenance work on 40,000 kilometers of highways in the country, rural roads are being built and highways are being modernized in almost all the states. Since January of this year, the same fiscal stimulus policy that we started in 2019 on the northern border has been applied to the southern border as well.
The National Program for the Search for and Location of Persons Disappeared due to Violence was implemented. We will continue with the investigation; it is a commitment we acquired and commitments are fulfilled. We will continue with the investigation until we know the truth about the missing young people from the Ayotzinapa teacher training college. We are repairing the harm caused to individuals or family members affected by the neoliberal corruption or State violence, such as the cases of the ABC Day Care Center (TN-5) in Hermosillo, Sonora and Pasta de Cochos in Coahuila (TN-6). The program for the protection of journalists is being continued. The Institute to Return Stolen Assets to the People was created and the Tianguis del Bienestar market is operating to deliver confiscated goods to the poorest communities in Mexico.
The new labor law was approved to guarantee direct voting and the democratization of the unions. We have had no conflicts with the national teachers’ movement. Some 400,000 teachers have had their job status and salaries regularized. Federal budget outlays and budgetary resources that by law correspond to states and municipalities have been delivered on time.
The independence of the Legislative and Judicial branches and of the Federal Attorney General’s Office is a reality. Crimes are not fabricated and opponents are not spied on. There have only been 20 labor strikes; strikes are allowed, they have not been prohibited, but fortunately there have been agreements between workers and management. Nor have protest demonstrations been prohibited, but they have been reduced to a minimum. We offered asylum to former President Evo Morales and his collaborators. We have no conflict with any government in the world; international organizations were allowed to enter the country to monitor compliance with human rights.
There is continual information on who is who in prices; two information campaigns are underway to prevent the consumption of drugs and junk food. The Emisor Oriente tunnel was inaugurated to prevent flooding in the Valley of Mexico. Our country was elected, almost unanimously, to the UN Security Council.
This past November 9, I presided over that Council and proposed the implementation of a global plan for well-being and brother and sisterhood to help 750 million poor people worldwide who survive on two dollars a day. We are going to present the initiative to the General Assembly, and I am sure it will be approved. By the same token, the UN approved the resolution we presented to guarantee equity in the sale of medicines and vaccines.
A total of 1,637 artistic and archeological exhibitions have been mounted in Mexico and abroad; 925 high-performance athletes and coaches have received direct financial support for their preparation involving a global outlay of 500 million pesos. In the Tokyo Olympics, Mexican athletes competed with professionalism and dignity, winning four bronze medals; likewise, paralympic athletes brought us seven gold, two silver and 13 bronze medals.
The Healthy Water project for La Laguna in Coahuila and Durango is being implemented. The conflict over the brewery in Mexicali was resolved. The disputes over the El Zapotillo dam in Los Altos de Jalisco and the blocking of traffic on the highway from Cardel to Poza Rica were also resolved. This was also the case with the purchase of the fertilizer plant at a ridiculously high price; they are going to return 200 million dollars, they have already delivered 50 million dollars. With the gas pipelines, that mess has also been resolved. There are still many other problems remaining that were inherited from the old regimen, including the privatization of the prisons; concessioned highway maintenance, the Peñón-Texcoco highway, the Tula coking plant that had been left unfinished; the monopoly in the purchase of pharmaceuticals.
Schools are being created to train athletes and physical education teachers; new labeling is being required to prevent consumption of junk food; a new subject, “Healthy Life”, was incorporated into the public education curriculum; and the Plan for Justice for the Yaqui Peoples of Sonora is being applied, among other actions.
In this year of 2021 we are commemorating the 700th anniversary of the founding of our capital city. We also recall the fall of Tenochtitlan, 500 years ago, as a result of the Spanish invasion, as well as the 200th anniversary of our Independence, achieved on September 27, 1821.
In this context, 16 commemorative events were held. Two large exhibitions were mounted in the Museum of Anthropology and History and in the Ministry of Public Education (SEP) building on the Greatness of Mexico, with archeological pieces and codices that are in custody abroad, which were lent to us and that are being held in communities and museums of our country. All the events were attended by leaders -women and men-, social leaders representing the world’s different political, social, and cultural expressions.
I would like to highlight the reprinting of 2.1 million books that are being distributed free of charge. I respectfully gave instructions that each of those attending this address, who came on their own volition, out of conviction, that each of the attendees be given a book. There are 21 authors, excellent authors, the best, authors who with their works have left a record, above all, of Mexico’s cultural greatness.
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What is most important is that we have now laid the foundations for the transformation of the country, among all of us. In three years, the mentality of the people has changed as never before. This is what is most important of all, the revolution in awareness, the change of mentality, that is what is closest to what is essential, the main point, and what is closest to being irreversible. They can turn back decisions involving material resources, but they will not be able to change the consciousness of the Mexican people. Today the Constitution is respected, there is legality and democracy, freedoms and the right to dissent are guaranteed; there is full transparency and the right to information; no one is censored; electoral frauds are not organized by the federal government, as was previously the case. The government no longer represents a minority but rather all Mexicans of all classes, cultures, and beliefs. It governs with austerity and moral authority; corruption is not tolerated and impunity is not allowed. In practice, there are no exemptions or privileges; everyone is attended to, everyone is respected, but preference is given to the poor. For the good of all, first come the poor. Nature is protected; gender equality is promoted; discrimination, racism, and classism are repudiated; moral, cultural and spiritual values are strengthened. Mexico’s cultural and historical heritage is protected and promoted.
The budget for next year has just been authorized. I thank the legislators of our movement for their conscientious support and backing for the country’s transformation. Thank you very much on behalf of the people of Mexico. We will have resources in order to attend, out of conviction and humanism, to Mexico’s most dispossessed and needy.
Helping the poor, let’s not forget, soothes the soul, keeps the conscience calm and warms the heart.
But this fraternal way of proceeding also implies an additional, not unimportant, aspect. To attend to the poorest sectors of the population is the surest way to count on the support of many, of millions, when seeking to transform a reality of oppression and to reach the ideal of living in a better society.
Nothing good can be expected, on the other hand, from corrupt politicians, from the press that sells or rents itself out, from self-serving intellectuals and from powerful people dominated by greed. The key is, and this is for young people who want to be educated, to dedicate yourself to the noble profession of politics, the key is in the phrase of President Juarez: “with the people everything, without the people nothing”.
Nothing is achieved, and this applies in Mexico and throughout the world, nothing is achieved with half-hearted measures. The publicists of the neoliberal period -which is already behind us, that nightmare is coming to an end- the publicists of the neoliberal period, besides the fake laughter, the gelled hairdos, and the false images, always recommend to candidates and rulers that they move to the center; that is, to be on everyone’s right side. Well no, that is a mistake. The noble profession of politics demands authenticity and definitions. To be left-wing is to anchor ourselves in our ideals and principles, not to blur, not to zigzag. If we are authentic, if we tell the truth and speak up for the poor and for justice, we will maintain our identity and that can mean sympathy, not only from those at the bottom, but also from the lucid and humane individuals of the middle and upper classes, and that is enough to confront the conservative forces, the reactionaries.
In April of next year, we are going to prove once again how much support our policy of transformation has. We will know whether or not we are doing well. With the consultation for the Presidential Recall, the people, who are sovereign, the ones in charge, will be asked if they want me to continue in the Presidency or to resign.
This exercise, this method created by us, elevated to constitutional status, will not only resolve whether I leave or remain in office. It will also establish the procedure to make the principle that the people decide who enters office and who leaves a reality. It is to establish a point, to establish a precedent in our country, nothing on the order that I was elected for six years and I can do whatever I want, no. The people have to retain all power in their hands. If a ruler is not up to the circumstances and does not command by obeying the people, then it’s Presidential Recall and he’s out. That is why I call on all Mexicans to participate, whether they are party members or unaffiliated citizens, to put into practice the method of the Presidential Recall, until it becomes a democratic habit.
Let us have faith in the people and continue to make history.
For now, in these three years we have shown that we are a great free and sovereign nation, respected and respectable for the rest of the world, that fights for peace and that is on its way to becoming a fair, egalitarian, democratic and fraternal republic. This has been a work in progress, I repeat: of all of us, of a ‘we’ that today is represented here by all of you, free and conscious women and men, the main protagonists of the Fourth Transformation of Mexico.
Thank you, people of Mexico. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Long live Mexico!
Long live Mexico!
Long live Mexico!
Mexico City Zócalo, December 1, 2021
Translated by Pedro Gellert
TN-1 Neoporfirismo – refers to the period of the Porfirio Diaz dictatorship, 1876-1880 and 1884-1911
TN-2 Ejidatarios – peasant farmers who attend to semi-communal plots of land
TN-3 Yaquis – an indigenous people who reside in the northern Mexican state of Sonora
TN-4 – Bank of Well-Being is in a new government bank in which funds from social welfare programs will be disbursed directly to recipients. It will promote and facilitate savings and low-cost financing, with a gender focus and a priority placed on indigenous communities. Branches are being established on a priority basis in areas where traditional banking is weak or non-existent.
TN-5 – ABC Day Care Center – A tragic fire occurred in May 2009 at ABC Day Care Center in Hermosillo, Sonora that claimed the lives of 47 children. Authorities came under attack for failing to provide proper documentation and oversight.
TN-6 – Pasta de Conchos, a mine disaster that occurred in February 2006 where a gas explosion resulted in the death of 65 miners, whose bodies still have not been recovered. Grupo de México, the mine owners, have been accused of negligence.
TN-7 – Gas Bienestar – a new government program that sells and distributes natural gas for household use, thereby eliminating intermediaries who were charging exorbitant prices.