Mexico's president did not discuss border wall with Trump

MEXICO CITY/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Thursday he has not discussed a proposed border wall with President Donald Trump, as the U.S. leader seemingly backtracked on threats to make Mexico pay for the controversial project.

“We have not discussed that issue, in any conversation. ... It was a respectful and friendly conversation,” Lopez Obrador told reporters following a tweet in which the U.S. president said a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada would cover the cost of a wall.

The two leaders spoke by telephone on Wednesday. Lopez Obrador said they discussed the possibility of creating a joint program for development and job creation in Central America and Mexico.

One of Trump’s key campaign promises was to build the border wall and he had long pledged that Mexico — not U.S. taxpayers — would fund it.

In a Twitter post early on Thursday, Trump again insisted that Mexico will foot the bill for the border wall.

He wrote that payment will begin with savings for the United States as a result of the renegotiated trade deal between the United States, Mexico and Canada. “Just by the money we save, MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL!”

Mexico has repeatedly rejected Trump’s demand that it pay for the project, and it is unlikely the country’s new president will reverse that course.

Funding for the border wall has been a sticking point in spending bills before the U.S. Congress, and Trump clashed with leading Democrats over the issue during an Oval Office meeting on Tuesday.

One of them, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, taunted Trump over his Mexico claim later on Thursday.

“Mr. President: If you say Mexico is going to pay for the wall (which I don’t believe), then I guess we don’t have to! Let’s fund the government,” Schumer retorted in his own Twitter post.

Lopez Obrador said he also discussed a possible meeting with Trump in Washington.

“He invited me. I’m also able to go to Washington, but I think that both for him and for us there must be a reason and I think the most important thing would be to sign this agreement or meet with that purpose,” said Lopez Obrador.

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AMLO Promised to Create 'Civil Guard' to Combat Violence Instead of Army

Mexican President-elect AMLO announced that the government will create a national “civil guard” to combat violence in the country and curb the army’s role in the civil sphere.

On Saturday, the President-elect of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) promised the citizens of the country that the military will never be used against civilians while paying tribute to the massacred students during the Oct.2, 1968 protest. He also proposed to reform the army to guarantee peace and prevent tragedies like 1968 mass murder.

RELATED: Ayotzinapa 43: Four Years After The Crime That Shocked Mexico

While giving a speech at Plaza Tlatelolco, AMLO said, "In this historical square we commit ourselves never to use the Army to repress the people of Mexico. We are going to suppress the General Staff and create a civil guard that will limit the use of force and guarantee human rights."

50 years ago, the same Plaza witnessed a macabre event on Oct. 2, 1986, when armed forces fired on a peaceful demonstration by the students, leaving at least 300 unarmed students dead, hundreds injured and more than 1000 detained. The students were protesting against the government of President Diaz Ordaz.

A federal court described the massacre as a genocidal event. A Mexican government institution, the Executive Commission for Victims’ Assistance, admitted for the first time in last week that the 1968 massacre was a state crime. In the recent times, Mexico faced the worst wave of violence with at least 85 people being killed per day on an average.

The army will not be returning to the barracks in the near future as the federal police do not have sufficient resources and that would leave the people vulnerable as argued by AMLO. The new “national civil guard” would be composed of members of the police and two military estates.

The Civil Guard will be created on the national level to unify the different security forces such as the army, navy and Federal Police.

The President-elect, who will assume his role and enter office on Dec.1, said during the rally, "in the investigations of the repression of '68, it appears that the General Staff was used" as a shock force against the students.” The details of the massacre have not yet been fully clarified even five decades later.

Obrador also vowed to support Mexican youth and their education by providing a monthly subsidy for students and creating more free public universities. According to him, unemployment and lack of opportunities ate the reasons that attract the youth towards “criminal activities”.

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López Obrador: No time to lose

Andres Manuel López Obrador says there is no time to lose to transform his country. After being elected President of Mexico July 1, he announced the first 13 reforms that he will send to Congress and that will mark the beginning of his government. But questions remain as to the situation he will be faced with when he assumes the presidency on December 1st.

The Mexico that López Obrador is to inherit is a country where violence, impunity, poverty, strained diplomatic relations, a weak economy, and cases of corruption have generated a crisis of unprecedented dimensions.

To offer just a few examples, from December 2012 to May 2018, 119,393 intentional homicides were recorded in Mexico, and there are currently 37,435 persons registered as disappeared.

According to a report by the National Human Rights Commission, from 2012 to 2017, 25 recommendations were issued relating to serious human rights violations. The killings of journalists reached a record figure with 44 cases documented under the current government, and a total of 117 recorded since 2000.

This is the scenario that the next government of the Republic will face, in addition to the consequences of the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the virtual bankruptcy of the Mexican state-owned petroleum company, PEMEX, and a human rights crisis that transcends borders.

The measures presented last Wednesday by the President-elect represent some of the legislative priorities of his government, and an attempt to address many of these problems.

Among other areas, included is a reform to end public officials’ – including the president – exemption from prosecution and other privileges, and an announced law to allow recall referendums to revoke their mandates.

López Obrador explained that the reform to end privileges and immunity means that the President can be tried for electoral crimes and corruption, for which he is also requesting increased sentences, as well as for the theft of fuel.

The leader of the MORENA Party stated that he will undertake changes that will make it possible to streamline the public administration structure, as part of an announced austerity plan that also includes reducing the salaries of high-ranking officials and eliminating pensions for former presidents.

“Everything to do with the republican austerity plan and fighting corruption will have priority from the first day of the new Congress,” López Obrador added.

He also reiterated that he will seek to revoke or modify the educational reform undertaken by the current government, and establish the right to free public education at all levels of schooling.

“The consultation mechanism will be established by law for the revocation of mandates and will remove obstacles in all citizen referendum procedures, that must be binding in nature, with the purpose of enforcing participatory democracy,” he noted.

López Obrador secured a landslide victory with electoral pledges relating to the elimination of the profound corruption that plagues the country, which has also been hit by increased violence and weak economic growth.

This will be a huge challenge and not only for him, but also for his cabinet, which he has already begun to shape with the inclusion of different political and economic figures, who should, in his own words, work together on a common project that raises Mexico beyond what it is today.

MEASURES PROPOSED BY LÓPEZ OBRADOR

- Regulatory law on maximum wages
- Creation of the Secretariat for Public Security
- Abolition of impunity and privileges
- New serious offences: corruption, fuel theft and electoral fraud
- Budget and Income Law
- Transfer the General Staff to the Secretariat of National Defense
- Revoke decrees on water privatization
- Revoke educational reform laws
- Incorporate the right to higher education into Article 3 of the Constitution
- Revocation of Mandate
- Remove obstacles to Referendum
- Reforms on increasing the minimum wage at the border
- Adjust the administration to an austerity plan, without layoffs of lower level workers

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Against All Odds: López Obrador, President of Mexico

The fraud intents, neither the fear campaign, nor the killing of political leaders could prevent him as in the two previous elections that the left-wing leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) were elected President in the general elections of last Sunday in Mexico.

Before making official the results – to be known next Wednesday 4th - and only ten minutes after the closing of the voting, something unusual happened: the official candidate, José Antonio Meade, from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (IRP), admitted that the results didn't favor him. The opposite happened to López Obrador who within a long period of five months will begin his office, which will extend up to 2024.

Something similar did Ricardo Anaya later, candidate for the conservative National Action Party (NAP) who finished second, and the independent Jaime Heliodoro Rodríguez, a.k.a. El Bronco.

Nevertheless, AMLO waited for the results shown by the trends that assured him the victory to proclaim it, and he celebrated before dozens of thousands of followers in El Zocalo Theater of the capital, after the headquarters of his electoral campaign expressed they will mainly fight corruption, because this was the root of all other evils, they would address all of them, mainly to the indigenous peoples of Mexico.

Although the voting is incomplete, it assured López Obrador’s victory who always supported non-violence elections and that cooperate to the necessary national understanding, which includes fighting corruption.

He thanked the attitude of president Peña Nieto in this elections, as well as the press which before was characterized as an open war against him. “I want to go down into history as a good President of Mexico and praise the greatness of our Homeland”, he said.

Off the record the 63,8% of voters participated. AMLO obtained 53,89% of votes; Anaya, 22,8%; Meade, 16,3%, and El Bronco, 5,5%.

The victory has greater impact because not for an instant has stopped the political violence and the forced disappearance, with regrettable outcome, among other things, 133 political killings, even in the voting day, when armed groups even stole several urns.

The National Electoral Institute, nevertheless, affirmed that only 14 electoral colleges could not open, it mentioned the transparency of elections that presented facts like the late opening of colleges and the gathering of voters in front of them; the debatable determination that houses could act as electoral colleges; the overtly buying of votes by members of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party to residents from the poorest neighborhoods, the protests of several citizens who could not vote due to shortage of electoral material.

In general, not only the presidency was at stake, but also the positions of 128 senators, 500 deputies, and the local authorities, among them eight governors, 972 delegations, 1 596 city councils, 184 municipal boards and 16 mayoralties, among them that of the capital, Mexico City.

These results will eventually go public, and they are key for the good performance of the Board, although it transcended that AMLO’s followers control most of it.

AMLO’s DEVELOPMENT PLAN

In an interview granted in Axtla de Terrazas, Andrés Manuel López Obrador advanced that the new Plan for Development 2018-2024 was elaborated by 200 experts, among professionals from all sectors, academics, managers, intellectuals and members of the civil society who have worked for months.

He clarified that most of those who elaborated the plan are not militant of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA for its acronym in Spanish), although they do belong to the other group Together we’ll Make History, but they accepted and he invited citizens to know on Monday November 20th the details of the plan.

About the negotiation of the Free Trade Treaty, Andrés Manuel López Obrador considered that the Mexican government has to diversify the foreign commerce, “not putting all eggs in one basket, we need to diversify our international relationships, but without submission to anyone”, he added.

The president of the National Executive Committee of MORENA proposed that they have to seek commercial relationships and of cooperation for development with all countries of the world, to keep the relationship with the United States and attempt to keep the Free Trade Treaty.

On the other hand, López Obrador informed that the MORENA’s candidates don't have prior criminal records, he manifested that communities will be protected, the destruction of the territory, and the contamination of waters, won't be allowed and the environment will be protected.

He made a commitment that no foreign company will come to step on the dignity of Mexicans.

About his project on security, López Obrador indicated that first there should be some work done, attention to the youths and well-being so to attain that security.

López Obrador said that “we have to come together to achieve the domestic transformation”, and he informed that his commitment is “to end corruption in the country and I will keep all my promises as I did as Chief of Government of Mexico City, and for that reason the people in Mexico City keep supporting me.”

He added that in the last two elections, MORENA has been the party with more votes in Mexico City and “it’s precisely as they know me, they know I keep my promises.”

This is part of the commitments of AMLO, a man who is making history in the needed Mexico. We will have to keep writing about him.

Cubasi Translation Staff / Amilkal Labañino Valdés

AMLO's Coalition Sweeps Mexico's Chamber and Senate

In all Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, or AMLO's, party swept over 91 percent of all legislative districts and won a landslide of municipal elections. 

With over 60 percent of the votes counted so far in Mexico's general elections on Sunday, the Morena party and the Together We Will Make History coalition are slated to gain an absolute majority in both the Chamber of Deputies and Senate giving freshly elected president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, or AMLO, ample legislative support when he enters office next December.

RELATED: AMLO Wins Mexico's Presidential Elections with 53%

According to political scientist Javier Marquez at the Center for Economic Investigations (CIDE), Morena and the Together We Will Make History coalition Morena won 193 seats and the coalition partner, the Workers’ Party (PT) took another 54 deputies in the house. The conservative Social Encounter Party (PES) that also forms a part of the coalition won 58, giving the coalition a combined 312 seats out of the house’s 500.

In the Senate, Morena is set to gain 55 of 128 seats. The PT won six and PES, eight. This makes a coalition total of 69 - an absolute majority in the Senate as well, as was projected. In all, Morena candidates won 91 percent of all congressional districts.

The centrist National Action Party (PAN) will have 79 house deputies and the current ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party - PRI - went from 204 to 42 seats in the house, according to Marquez and the National Electoral Institute. The remainder of the seats will be occupied by the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and smaller parties.

In the Senate, PAN won 23 seats, PRI 12, and the PRD, nine.

AMLO’s Morena party also swept the local elections. The party took 80.2 percent of municipal polls, while PAN had a sorry turn out of 11.5 percent and the PRI, 8.2 percent of local votes.

In his acceptance speech on Sunday night, Lopez Obrador called on Mexicans to put aside personal interests in politics and make the public interest priority.

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AMLO Wins Mexico's Presidential Elections with 53%

The country's election board said the center-left candidate has won the elections with a wide lead. 

The leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador won the presidency of Mexico Sunday with at over 53 percent of the vote, according to a preliminary quick count released by the electoral authority INE.

RELATED: Live Updates: AMLO's Rivals Concede Defeat in Mexican Elections

In his first public speech after the quick count was published, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador addressed his supporters from his campaign headquarters at the Hilton Hotel in Mexico City's and said he will combat and punish corruption, even if he has to go after his own partners in the struggle.

“The transformation we will carry out will basically consist on kicking out corruption from our country. We won't have any problem with this because the people of Mexico are the heir of great civilizations and is smart... corruption is not a cultural phenomena, but the result of a decadent political regime,” he said.

AMLO is running on an anti-corruption political platform and hopes to recover 10 percent of the national budget by combating it.

“A good judge starts in his own home,” he added. He said there will be deep changes, but always respectful of legal order.

“There will be entrepreneurship, expression and belief freedom. Every individual and social guarantee will be respected,” said Obrador, who also promised the central bank will be autonomous and there will be no naturalization.

Regarding migration, the new government will try to strengthen the internal market, to produce what the country consumes, and do everything necessary so Mexicans can stay, work and be happy in their place of origin.

“Whoever wants to migrate he should do it out of pleasure and not out of necessity,” he said.

After his short speech at the Hilton Hotel, Lopez Obrador headed to El Zocalo, Mexico's largest square, where he addressed thousands of supporters gathering there since polls stations started closing.

He said his government will be a transition period for a new era in Mexico's history and that his government will always stay close to the people.

"I will do another tour of the country as president-elect. There will not be a divorce now that we won and we’re forming a government. No, this is the government of the people, for the people and by the people," he said at Zocalo.

RELATED: Latin America, World's Leftist Leaders Support Mexico's AMLO

Shortly after the official preliminary results began rolling out, the right-wing candidates Ricardo Anaya, from the National Action Party (PAN), Jose Antonio Meade, from the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI) and the independent Jaime Rodriguez “El Bronco,” conceded defeat in the presidential race.

With only 0.3 percent of the ballots counted, the candidate and head of the National Renewal Party (Morena) has 46.49 percent of the votes and some exit polls gave him more than 50 percent of the voting preference.

"I wish the best of luck for the new government, for the well being of our country that deserves to be ruled with responsibility. I'll take a few days to reflect on my future, but be certain I'll keep working for a better Mexico," said Meade in front of his supporters as he recognized AMLO's unstoppable lead.

“No democracy works without democrats. That's why I tell Mexicans today the result's information we have now favors Andres Manuel,” said Anaya. An official, non-conclusive quick count will be published by 11 p.m., Mexico City's time.

After the announcement, Current President Enrique Peña Nieto congratulated the 64-year veteran politician and offered him support to make an orderly and efficient transition.

Lopez Obrador will take office on Dec. 1.

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Mexico Candidates Concede Defeat, Recognize AMLO's Victory

AMLO projected to win the Mexican presidency.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will soon be declared the next president of Mexico as all his rivals recognized his overwhealming lead in the preliminary results and exit polls, and congratulated him for his victory.

RELATED: Latin America, World's Leftist Leaders Support Mexico's AMLO

Shortly after the official preliminary results began rolling out, the right-wing candidates Ricardo Anaya, from the National Action Party (PAN), Jose Antonio Meade, from the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI) and the independent Jaime Rodriguez “El Bronco,” conceded defeat in the presidential race.

With only 0.3 percent of the ballots counted, the candidate and head of the National Renewal Party (Morena) has 46.49 percent of the votes and some exit polls gave him more than 50 percent of the voting preference.

"I wish the best of luck for the new government, for the well being of our country that deserves to be ruled with responsibility. I'll take a few days to reflect on my future, but be certain I'll keep working for a better Mexico," said Meade in front of his supporters as he recognized AMLO's unstoppable lead.

“No democracy works without democrats. That's why I tell Mexicans today the result's information we have now favors Andres Manuel,” said Anaya. An official, non-conclusive quick count will be published by 11 p.m., Mexico City's time.

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Mexico votes for new president, leftist rebel favored to win

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexicans vote for a new president on Sunday in an election tipped to hand power to an anti-establishment outsider who would inject a new dose of nationalism into government and could sharpen divisions with Donald Trump’s United States.

Former Mexico City mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has led opinion polls throughout the campaign and would be the first leftist to take the presidency in decades in Mexico if he ousts the ruling centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

Runner-up in the 2012 and 2006 elections, Lopez Obrador pitches himself as the only man capable of cleaning up a political class whose credibility has been ground down by persistent graft, soaring crime levels and years of sub-par economic growth.

“The new president of Mexico will have moral and political authority to demand everyone behaves with integrity and make honesty a priority as a way of life,” Lopez Obrador said in his campaign finale in a soccer stadium in the capital on Wednesday.

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The law bars current President Enrique Pena Nieto from seeking re-election. But his popularity crumbled as his name became tainted by investigations into alleged conflicts-of-interest and embezzlement scandals engulfing top PRI officials.

Campaigning relentlessly around Mexico for the past 13 years, Lopez Obrador has watched political careers rise and fall as established parties were consumed by the country’s social and economic problems and the responsibility of power.

For a graphic on Mexico's presidential election, click tmsnrt.rs/2MVhfjA

“Let’s hope Mexico changes,” said Oswaldo Angeles, 20, a Lopez Obrador supporter from Atlacomulco, a longstanding PRI bastion some 55 miles (90 km) from Mexico City and hometown of Pena Nieto. “Right now, we don’t know if we’re coming or going.”

Lopez Obrador, 64, has been vague on policy details. Seeking to harness support from economic nationalists, leftist liberals and social conservatives, he vows to reduce inequality, improve pay and welfare spending, as well as run a tight budget.

https://s2.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20180701&t=2&i=1278323136&r=LYNXMPEE6012F&w=1200A campaign banner featuring an image of Mexico's presidential election front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) is displayed outside a house before the upcoming July 1 presidential election, in Mexico City, Mexico, June 30, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

A vocal opponent of the government’s economic agenda, his criticism has been tempered by business-friendly aides.

But he has played with the idea of referendums to resolve divisive issues like whether to continue with Pena Nieto’s opening of the oil and gas industry to private capital.

His rivals Ricardo Anaya, an ex-leader of the center-right National Action Party (PAN) heading a right-left alliance, and PRI candidate Jose Antonio Meade, a former finance minister, differ only in nuance in their support of the energy reform.

Their efforts to catch Lopez Obrador have been hampered by attacks on each other, allowing him to build a lead that some opinion polls have put in excess of 20 percentage points. They also represent the only two parties to have ruled modern Mexico.

TRUMP THREAT

If victorious, Lopez Obrador faces a tougher security situation than did Peña Nieto. The election campaign has been the bloodiest in recent history and murders are at record highs.

The next president will also inherit a simmering dispute with U.S. counterpart Donald Trump over migration and trade, with talks to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) unresolved, pressuring Mexico’s peso currency.

Trump has threatened to pitch North America into a costly trade war over NAFTA, and his insistence that Mexico pay for his planned border wall has deeply angered many Mexicans.

Lopez Obrador has trodden carefully and wants to broker a deal with Trump under which Mexico would work to rein in illegal immigration in return for economic support. [L1N1TC09R]

If that proves impossible and Trump keeps provoking Mexico, few think the fiercely patriotic Lopez Obrador will stay silent.

https://s2.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20180701&t=2&i=1278323135&r=LYNXMPEE6012E&w=940
A man walks past a National Electoral Institute (INE) billboard ahead of the upcoming July 1 presidential election, in Mexico City, Mexico, June 30, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

How much heft Lopez Obrador can bring to bear both domestically and internationally will depend significantly on his control of Congress, where no party has held an outright majority since 1997 in Latin America’s no. 2 economy.

Polls suggest his National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), a party that has only existed formally since 2014, could be close to reaching a majority. However, markets may react negatively if voters give him too free a hand in Congress.

Lopez Obrador has been a divisive figure in Mexico since bringing much of the capital to a standstill for weeks with massive demonstrations to protest his 2006 election loss.

His commanding poll lead this time around has led analysts to question how deep-rooted the support really is.

“There’s a sense of poor old (Lopez Obrador), he’s not had a go yet, it’s his turn. We may as well give it a shot,” said Sofia Lara, 25, a graphic designer in Mexico City backing Anaya.

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