MEXICO CITY ? The scene was striking. Manuel López Obrador had just been declared Mexico’s president-elect, and thousands of his supporters flocked to the Zócalo, the city’s main plaza, to celebrate.
It was the great betrayal. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto betrayed millions of his countrymen when he didn’t demand that President Donald Trump apologize for likening Mexican immigrants to criminals and rapists when Trump launched his presidential campaign, nor did he dare tell Trump during a humiliating 2016 news conference in Mexico City that Mexico would not pay for a new border wall. It has been obvious since then that Peña Nieto, an incompetent and cowardly leader, will not defend Mexico when it comes to Trump.
At what point did we become desensitized to the shocking news that the bodies of three murdered students had been dissolved in acid? When did we stop searching for the 43 missing college students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico, who disappeared after being kidnapped? When did it become normal for more than 100,000 people to lose their lives to violence in a six-year presidential term?
I’m worried that the four candidates running for president in Mexico are being naïve about President Donald Trump.
As a young man, I was obsessed with the political phenomenon of “el dedazo” in Mexico.
After almost six decades covering Latin American politicians, I am well acquainted with wizards of fake news and their tactics. I was reporting on them long before Donald Trump became a politician. Still, Trump lies a lot. But questioning almost everything that the president of the United States says comes pretty naturally to me.
Let’s start with the dreadful part. Since Enrique Peña Nieto became president, there have been 91,284 homicides in Mexico.
We have two terrible presidents — this is the sad reality in Mexico and the United States.
(This is an edited version of the speech I delivered a few days ago at Ibero-American University in Mexico City to the first graduates after the Sept. 19 earthquake.)
MEXICO CITY — My city is broken, but my people are not.