Mexico was dressed in white as thousands of people took to the streets of the largest Mexican cities shouting “Mexico will not become Venezuela”, showing their rejection of Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s policies. López Obrador has been in office for a year and a half and the laws he has signed have been almost identical to those of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. For instance, he created a National Security Guard, stirring fear and anger among his fellow citizens.
The slogan “AMLO, Resign” was also visible at the street protests, as well as many repudiating the harassment of the opposition press, which was overtly threatened by López Obrador.
Accusations of mismanaging Pemex, the oil national company, triggered shouts and posters stating “wrecking Pemex is corruption” and “if you cannot do the job, just quit!”
The protesters chose a patriotic date, May 5th, for “the march of silence”, which has been subjected to mockery and criticism, from images aiming to underplay the number of attendants, to the use of the pejorative term “fifí” (posh), arguing that only the wealthiest people protest against the populist leader.
Reactions to the protest
Communication and Transportation Secretary Javier Jiménez Espriú sarcastically declared that not only was the protest massive, but it incorporated all segments of society opposing Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration.
“I never thought that all those who are against AMLO would come to the protest… But all of them came!”
Among the thousands of protesters who marched from the Ángel de la Independencia to the Monumento de la Revolución in Mexico City, there were mothers who complained against AMLO’s lies about the official numbers about violence in Mexico.
Just in the first months of 2019, three minors have been killed daily. According to the organization Red por los Derechos de la Infancia en México (Redim), 285 children have been assassinated. The most prominent case was a the assassination of a baby in a shooting in Veracruz that shook the country.
AMLO promised “hugs, not bullets”, but Mexico is going through the most violent year in history.
According to the organization Semáforo Delicitivo, violence has grown 10 % during AMLO’s administration.
Since 1997, when the number of violent deaths was first recorded by the Executive Secretary for Public National Security, the year with the greatest number of assassinations is 2018 with 33,369 deaths. However, the first months of AMLO’s administration in 2019 have already surpassed those numbers.
Semáforo Delictivo suggests that this statistic will increase by 400%, meaning that the current rate of 5.9 homicides per 100.000 people will increase to 24 homicides per 100,000 people.
That is why the demonstrations were widespread across the country. “11.682 deaths in five months”, said a poster behind former president Vicente Fox’s back. He organized a protest in Leon, Guanajuato.
Marching along with 12,000 protesters, Fox advocated for respecting the country’s institutions and a better rationale to make decisions.
Opposition and disappointed AMLO supporters joined in protest
“I voted for you and you betrayed us”, could be read in posters and t-shirts alike, crossing out AMLO’s party logo (Morena)
“Mexico is not yours”, some protestors yelled, denouncing that the president had overreached his functions.
#AmloMxTeReclama was top trending on social media
The protest was not limited to the streets but also took place on social media. By the end of the day, #AmloMxTeReclama (Mexico denounces you) was the top trending hashtag on Twitter with over 134,000 tweets.
In states such as Puebla, Guadalajara or Queretalo, the most popular hashtag was #MarchaDelSilencio.
López Obrador’s supporters challenged the opposition with the hashtag #AMLOLaFuerzaDeMexico (Mexico’s strength), as well as with #MarchaFifí (posh protest)with 9,034 posts mocking the protesters.
As AMLO delivers inflammatory speeches against Spain, deeming himself as an indigenist, he ignores that Venezuela’s Guardia Nacional Bolivariana, whose name and model he attempts to adopt in Mexico, kills, tortures, and harasses indigenous people in the Brazilian border.
The purpose of a National Guard following a Bolivarian fashion is not to protect the people from a foreign enemy, as the military does, but its aim is to preserve the political power by means of force.
That is why countless Mexicans took to the streets shouting “We will not become Venezuela”.