By Ben Norton / Geopolitical Economy Report
Mexico’s leftist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) used the US government’s so-called “Summit for Democracy” to indirectly call out Washington’s hypocrisy. (A full transcript of his speech follows below.)
AMLO strongly implied that the United States is an oligarchy, not a real democracy. He argued that the government needs to challenge the power of the economic elites if it truly wants to be democratic.
López Obrador opened his speech warning, “Many of the great crimes against humanity have been committed in the name of God or in the name of democracy”.
“In some countries, the oligarchy reigns with the façade of democracy”, he said, not so subtly referencing his northern neighbor.
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“How can we talk about democracy if there is no separation of economic power and political power?” AMLO asked.
He added that the system that exists in many countries today is “a mixture of oligarchy and democracy, or a simulated and mediated democracy”.
“We must search for greater equality to have more democracy”, the Mexican president insisted.
AMLO’s March 29 speech stood in stark contrast to the sycophantic remarks made by many US allies at Washington’s so-called “Summit for Democracy”.
The Joe Biden administration first organized this summit in 2021 to bring together US allies in an attempt to build a united bloc to wage a new cold war on China and Russia, which were not invited to either summit.
Despite its name, the 2023 “Summit for Democracy” featured numerous right-wing authoritarian regimes, from Israel, Poland, India, and beyond. (Pakistan’s unelected coup regime was invited, but decided not to attend, as it faces mass protests and instability at home.)
López Obrador’s critical comments also came at a time of growing tensions between the United States and Mexico.
Numerous Republican congressmembers have called for the US military to invade Mexico, proposing legislation to justify an intervention, in the name of supposedly combatting drug cartels.
AMLO denounced these threats in a massive rally in the heart of Mexico City on March 18.
“We remind those hypocritical and irresponsible politicians that Mexico is an independent and free country, not a colony or a protectorate of the United States!”, he declared.
“They can threaten us with committing some kind of abuse, but we will never, ever allow them to violate our sovereignty and trample on the dignity of our homeland!”, the Mexican president added.
Earlier, in a press briefing on February 28, AMLO blasted the US State Department’s “bad habit” of “meddling” in other country’s “internal affairs”.
“There is more democracy today in Mexico than in the United States”, he said, “because here the people govern, and there the oligarchy govern”.
The following is the text of López Obrador’s March 29 speech at the US “Summit for Democracy”:
Many of the great crimes against humanity have been committed in the name of God or in the name of democracy.
It is important, because of that, to return to the original and true meaning of the concept of democracy.
Aristotle said that there were three good and three bad forms of government. He came to the conclusion that democracy was the best, or the least bad, and he argued that democracy, like the Greek origin of the word, consisted of the power of the people.
In our time, there is still a mixture of oligarchy and democracy, or a simulated and mediated democracy.
That is to say, in some countries, the oligarchy reigns with the façade of democracy.
For example, how can we talk about democracy if the elites dominate, and not the majorities?
How can we talk about democracy if there is no separation of economic power and political power?
How can we talk about democracy if, in recent times, there has been the most offensive concentration of wealth in a few hands in the history of the world?
The fortune of a minority has increased without limits, without any moral concern, while there are a billion human beings who live on less than a dollar a day.
That is why we have to move further and further away from kratos [“power” in Greek] without demos [“people” in Greek], from power without the people, and make sure that the central purpose of the government is always to seek the happiness of the people, of a government of the people and for the people.
Today more than ever, it is necessary to return to our founding principles.
In 1776, the United States Declaration of Independence set out the pursuit of happiness as one of the fundamental rights of the people, and signaled that guaranteeing it was one of the functions of government.
The first article of the French Constitution of 1793 establishes that the aim of society is common happiness.
Article 24 of our Constitution of Apatzingán of 1814 states that the happiness of the people and of each and every citizen consists in the enjoyment of equality, security, property, and freedom.
The full preservation of these rights is the object of the institution of governments and the sole purpose of political associations.
Because of that, we maintain that we must search for greater equality to have more democracy.
May democracy be authentic, true, and may justice always triumph over power! Thank you very much.
Ben Norton is a journalist, writer, and filmmaker. He is the founder and editor of Geopolitical Economy Report, and is based in China.