In Mexico, the ruling senator, Napoleon Gomez Urrutia declared in a public interview o 21st May that the business and trade unions who criticize the government of Andes Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) would suffer economic consequences.
“Better for them, for the sake of their fortune; of their businesses, too,” he said at the Universal de México. “I say this for businessmen, but also for union leaders,” he insists.
Urrutia’s affirmation has two rough edges. On the one hand, it declares the consolidation of the private sector, which will assume a subservient role to the public sector, and on the other, it threatens political persecution.
Although he immediately went on to clarify that he wasn’t threatening but merely suggesting that those who don’t comply with the changes proposed by AMLO “will be left behind,” it is clear that those who don’t support the “fourth transformation” will not reap its benefits.
Gomez Urrutia is cognizant of the consequences. In 20016, when he was the president of the National Union of Mining, Metallurgical, Steel and Allied Workers of the Mexican Republic (SNTMMSRM), he faced Grupo México, the company in charge of the mine. He claims that the government of Vicente Fox persecuted him and coerced him into exile. Thus, his enmity with big groups of power continues.
Without an official embargo, Gomez Urrutia offers the businesses an opportunity to “incorporate the transformation and stop attacking the president, the government, and the system.” He implies that they can still join the government efforts before the administration curtails their liberties and treats them as enemies of the state.
AMLO threatened the press
Members of AMLO’s administration have issued similar warnings before, and have rectified them immediately.
In mid-April, the president of Mexico attacked the press in his morning broadcast saying, “not only are they good journalists, but they also are prudent because they are being watched, and if they stop they know what happens.” A day later, he tried to rectify his statement, but the critics and authors denounced self-censorship in the press.
Already in March, the author Martin Moreno, who had completed books about each contemporary resident, explains that in AMLO’s government, there is a form of censorship, even more dangerous, that is self-censorship.
He wrote the work ‘Ladron de Esperanzas’ or ‘thief of dreams,’ whereby he took the character traits of AMLO and assigned them to a fictional character with the same initials. Given that the author has already published works equally critical of other Mexican presidents, he highlights the self-censorship of the journalists who do not risk publicizing their work.
“I must have sent 60 letters to radio and television presenters, and only four or five responded to me,” he said. When he wrote his previous book were the initials of the protagonist was that of former president Enrique Peña Nieto, the author confirmed that he had received multiple invitations to present his book.
In an interview with the journalist Andres Oppenheimer, Moreno said that the problem isn’t actually a direct threat by AMLO but the self-censorship by journalists who will not dare to criticize him.
The perfect dictatorship won’t need censorship
It was in Mexico that Octavio Paz and Mario Vargas Llosa referred to the Aztec country as a perfect dictatorship under PRI who governed for more than 70 years. AMLO was a part of PRI for years, and the massacre of the students of UNAM in 1968 wasn’t a sufficient reason for him to resign. He was part of what is called the “perfect dictatorship.”
“You couldn’t talk about a dictatorship. There was no military dictatorship. Neither a soft dictatorship nor a hard dictatorship” said Paz. It was a ‘perfect dictatorship;” one that doesn’t need the strength to act, nor does it need to impose censorship by force. In the face of fear, the communicators, who are responsible for spreading the message, are censoring themselves.