Mexico: President Obrador holds massive rally ahead of 2024 elections

Tens of thousands of people gathered on Saturday (March 18) for a large demonstration led by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico City’s main plaza. 

Many people who attended the event on Saturday agreed that it was in fact the official start of the 2024 elections that would decide the president’s successor, even if it was called to commemorate Mexico’s 1938 expropriation of the oil industry, reported the Associated Press. 

López Obrador spent a part of his speech praising former American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who didn’t actively oppose the 1938 oil expropriation despite the fact that many of the firms were American. This may have been done in recognition of recent tensions with the United States over U.S. overdose deaths from fentanyl smuggled in from Mexico.

“”The best example of the authenticity of his ‘Good Neighbor’ policy was his respect for our nation’s sovereignty,” López Obrador said of Roosevelt.

López Obrador, who is renowned for his charismatic traditional style, may be leading one of the final rallies. Later this year, the Morena party will start the process of choosing a presidential nominee. The party’s nominee is likely to take the stage next. 

Nonetheless, most presidential candidates agree that few of them can equal the popularity of a president whose approval ratings are usually above 60%. Particularly so for the Morena party, which was centred heavily on López Obrador. 

Lázaro Cárdenas, a former president and one of López Obrador’s heroes, won the hearts of Mexicans on March 18, 1938, when he expropriated the privately run, primarily foreign-owned oil industry.

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To protect the state-owned oil industry that Cárdenas built from mountains of debt and low oil production has been one of López Obrador’s primary policy priorities. 

The supporters of López Obrador, whose nationalist stance has severely restricted the ability of American anti-drug forces to operate in Mexico, were in unanimity at the gathering in the Zocalo.

(With inputs from agencies)