Leftist leader takes office after decades of technocrats
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took the oath of office Saturday as Mexico's first leftist president in over 70 years, marking a turning point in one of the world's most radical experiments in opening markets and privatization.
In his first speech to Congress, Lopez Obrador pledged “a peaceful and orderly transition, but one that is deep and radical … because we will end the corruption and impunity that prevent Mexico's rebirth.”
Mexico long had a closed, state-dominated economy, but since entering the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs in 1986, it has signed more free trade agreements than almost any other country, and privatized almost every corner of the economy except oil and electricity.
Now, though, Lopez Obrador talks a talk not heard in Mexico since the 1960s: He wants to build more state-owned oil refineries and encourages Mexicans to “not to buy abroad, but to produce in Mexico what we consume.”