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Andrés Manuel López Obrador

Andrés Manuel López Obrador (often known by his initials, AMLO) has been, since 2018, the President of Mexico. He is a prominent centre-left leader in Latin America, reviled by the Right for his populist economic policies (like the nationalisation of lithium) and criticised by the Left for his compliance with oppressive US immigration policies, attacks on indigenous rights, and inaction on femicides and murders of journalists and environmental activists. Nonetheless, he is incredibly popular in Mexico, having taken measures like halving the presidential salary and slashing the salaries of other top figures, selling the presidential plane and flying economy class on commercial flights instead, opening the palatial former presidential palace to the public, and introducing a daily 2–3 hour press conference called “La Mañanera”, in which he talks about all the issues of a day in a frank and accessible style. He also established a Truth Commission to examine the human rights abuses of Mexico’s 1970s Dirty War.

In terms of his foreign policy, AMLO has been an advocate for left-wing governments in the region; for example, he’s called US sanctions against Cuba “depraved”, said that Cubans deserve a “dignity award” for putting up with it and that the whole island should be declared a World Heritage Site; he’s also sent large shipments of food, medicine and fuel to Cuba during the Covid-19 pandemic and announced Mexico will hire 500 Cuban doctors to help alleviate its rural healthcare crisis. AMLO also refused to attend a Summit of the Americas in the US because Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela had been snubbed (which emboldened a number of other Latin American countries to also boycott the summit), and has called for an alternate organisation to be set up (CELAC) which would include left-wing Latin American governments and exclude the US and Canada. After the 2019 coup in Bolivia, he sent a plane to Bolivia and whisked away elected president Evo Morales to safety, offering him asylum in Mexico (something to which Morales credits his survival). He’s also offered Julian Assange asylum in Mexico.

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