News Latin America The Army as (dubious) guarantor of the 4T

The Army as (dubious) guarantor of the 4T

While we were discussing whether or not to militarize, it seems to me that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been operating from another perspective: turning the armed forces into a column for the long-term support of the Fourth Transformation project. As the end of his six-year term approaches, the president understands that by exiting and entering his ranch, the process he initiated will face inevitable fragility.

It cannot be otherwise in the case of a movement rooted so closely in his personal leadership. Although it is true that there is something in his character that allows him to get out of a responsibility without looking back, for example when he left the presidency of the PRD or the head of government of the Federal District, it is also true that in such cases he had a task ahead of him. more important to deal with (founding Morena, winning the presidency).

It will not be the case this time. A part of AMLO will leave convinced that he did what he had to do, open the way, and will assume that he has already earned a place in the pantheon of the country’s history, that what follows is not his responsibility. . But, being the political animal that he is, another part of him loses sleep over the possibility that his adversaries will fight back and dismantle everything he built, which would turn the Fourth Transformation, a short-lived period in contemporary history, into smoke. from Mexico.

To avoid this, the president is convinced that his movement has the support of the people and hopes that his successor will continue to enjoy that resource. He affirms that the people have woken up and will not let the conservatives return to power again. Something that he proclaims, it seems to me, both to convince the political arena and himself. But deep down he knows that there is no guarantee of this, among other things because of the “perversity” that he attributes to his opponents for manipulating the vote or the results of the elections.

Faced with this fragility, some time ago he began to speak of the need to convert the changes introduced into articles of the Constitution, to make them irreversible. But deep down the president knows that the institutions are permeable to the power in force. What was modified in the Constitution is likely to be modified again. And for the rest, as we know, some of his most endearing proposals have found it difficult to be registered in the Magna Carta due to insufficient votes in the Chambers. And that is not to mention the doubts that Lopez Obrador has always harbored regarding the institutions.

For the sake of the continuity of his movement, Lopez Obrador should be given credit for having had the political ability to guarantee a victory in 2024 that would allow power to be extended for another six years, given the precarious state of the opposition. But beyond defining a successor, little can be done to ensure that he has the capacity to continue the 4T in the face of the probable response of the forces that are adverse to him. One thing is that his dauphin occupies the presidential chair, another that has the political strength to maintain and deepen the tasks inherited. That’s where the army comes in.

And of course we are not talking about coup hypotheses, whether from the right or from the left. It is not so simple. That our generals are not coup plotters does not mean that the armed forces are neutral in a process of polarized changes such as the one the country is experiencing, at least according to Lopez Obrador’s logic. The Tabascan has worked to ensure the loyalty of the military to the presidential institution, as in reality all the leaders in turn have done; but AMLO has gone further. He has sought to inoculate his social vision in soldiers and officials and make them fellow travelers in the process of transformation pursued by his movement. There is no secret in the effort that has been made to sow and spread the notion that there is a kind of identity between the people, the soldiers and the workers. It is, therefore, not only about guaranteeing the link between the military and the presidential institution, but also with his person and his vision of the country.

For almost two years he has expressed his desire to hand over the construction of key projects and their administration to the army, with the aim of preventing the political and business classes from turning it into businesses riddled with privileges and bad practices in the future. In such an approach there has been an explicit and an implicit argument. The first, and he put it bluntly, because the armed forces are not corrupt, or at least much less so than private initiative. But there was another tacit idea, although not mentioned: once it is in the hands of the army it becomes irreversible because it assumes, rightly or wrongly, that there will be no political actor, be it the cameras, the judges or the executive who is going to get involved. with them.

In this strategy there is an underlying premise in which the president believes and hopefully he is right: that the power that he is handing over to the armed forces will not translate into a political risk or an improper use that breaks the balance. He reconfirmed it this week when the Secretary of the Interior had the bad idea of ​​affirming that the generals are within their right to support a military man for the presidency. Lopez Obrador was quick to reject such a suggestion, stating that the armed forces are not interested in any political adventures.

In all this there is a high risk bet. The military are taking control of public security not only as an institution but also as a social class; A good part of the public security directors of the state governments are retired generals, who tend to be more loyal to group interests than to their immediate civilian bosses, even if it is a governor. This horizontal membership would include control of customs, ports, airports and economic companies.

The risk is not a coup d’etat, but simply the fact that in terms of the correlation of forces, negotiating capacity and pressure, they will have broken all the balances and counterweights against the rest of the social and political actors, including the president in office. , whether Claudia Sheinbaum or Marcelo Ebrard. I do not know if Lopez Obrador is aware that in any conflict between the flags of the 4T and his group interests, the generals will opt for the latter and there will be no one who dares to contradict them.


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