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President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s Administration Described As The “Fourth Transformation” of Mexico
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s first 100 days in office have combined a compulsive shedding of presidential trappings with a dizzying array of policy initiatives, and a series of missteps haven’t dented his soaring approval ratings.
Lopez Obrador has answered more questions from the press, flown in more economy-class flights, posed for more selfies with admiring citizens and visited more genuinely risky areas with little or no security than several combined decades of his predecessors. He’s also surprised many by maintaining a cordial relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump, helping contain Central American migrant caravans while resisting U.S. efforts to oust the leftist government of Venezuela.
High ratings, many initiatives
The folksy perennial candidate took office Dec. 1 and by the end of his first month, Lopez Obrador’s approval rating surpassed 80 percent. He has taken full advantage of that mandate to move quickly on many fronts — perhaps too many.
“Every week he announces at least one or two things,” said Ivonne Acuna Murillo, a professor of political science at the Iberoamerican University in Mexico City. “Sometimes the speed of the issues he is putting on the agenda is such that an issue they put out in the morning is displaced by another in the afternoon.”
Before Lopez Obrador had even taken office he held a referendum on the partially constructed $13 billion Mexico City airport. He used the resulting vote as a green light to cancel a project he had campaigned against.
During his first month in office, Lopez Obrador launched a military assault on the country’s fuel theft gangs, dividing the security of Mexico’s critical pipelines and refineries between the army and the navy. The hastily planned offensive created gas shortages across the country, but somehow didn’t dampen his popularity.
This month, he overrode complaints by human rights campaigners and got the Congress and state legislatures to approve constitutional reforms creating a heavily militarized National Guard that he touts as the key to getting control of Mexico’s runaway violence.
Daily press conference
A typical day starts with his 6 a.m. Cabinet meeting, focusing on security, where he gets the daily crime report. At 7 a.m., he steps on the dais at the centuries-old National Palace to start a free-wheeling, open-ended press conference that often goes for 1½ hours.
From there he might hold a meeting on the initiative of the day, and then around noon he flies off — tourist class, fielding hugs and taking selfies with fellow passengers — to some provincial city, where he’ll meet with local leaders, eat at some modest local cafeteria, then hold another open-air rally and take some more hugs. Then he’ll catch another tourist-class flight to Mexico City. (He says he gets to bed early).
The part of the day he most clearly enjoys? Pressing the flesh and handing out time-tested one-liners at rallies in provincial towns, essentially, the same thing he has been doing for the last 20 years on the campaign trail as a three-time presidential contender.
No imperial presidency
“He is a bit messianic, meaning evangelical. He’s out there preaching all the time,” said Federico Estevez, a political science professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico. “He’s Bernie Sanders with power.”
“I’m not sure if this a good governance model, but it’s an exceptionally good political one,” Estevez said.
It’s easy to lose sight of how different this all is, unless you’ve lived through decades of Mexico’s distant, imperial presidency, in which the president seldom appeared beyond orchestrated speeches, or as a motorcade of luxury vehicles speeded to the president’s personal airplane hangar for flights aboard the presidential jet to carefully guarded events.
Gone are the motorcades, gone is the jet, gone is the security, gone is the official presidential residence. You’re more likely to see Lopez Obrador buying himself a $1 styrofoam cup of coffee at a convenience store or eating beans at a roadside restaurant, than to see him rubbing elbows with foreign dignitaries.
Lopez Obrador rode a wave of popular discontent with corruption in Mexico, and has attracted a near-unquestioning devotion because of his own honest, rumpled style.
“The advantage that Andres Manuel has as leader is that he arrived with a backing that no president has had in Mexico,” said Benjamin Arditi, a political science professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Lopez Obrador has already had spats with NGOs, regulators, environmentalists, outside experts and ratings agencies. His campaign against crime and violence has yielded few results. He chafes at those who ask for feasibility or environmental impact studies for his pet projects.
Results less rosy
But hardly anyone notices.“There is a devotion, something almost religious,” said Jose Antonio Crespo, a political analyst at Mexico’s Center for Economic Research and Training. “It makes people believe only what he says, against everything that experts or ratings agencies or international organizations say. They don’t matter, it only matters what he says.”
At least two ratings agencies have downgraded their outlook on Mexico’s debt to ‘negative’ since he took office. His decisions, like the one to cancel the airport project, “don’t generate the slightest bit of confidence,” Crespo said, “and that is going to have a cost, is having a cost, in terms of capital leaving, or money not being invested.”
For Lopez Obrador, Mexico’s foreign policy boils down to simply non-intervention, and he leaves the field to his top diplomat, Marcelo Ebrard.
Remain in Mexico critics
But some critics say Mexico is doing Trump’s bidding by accepting the U.S. “remain in Mexico” program and by restricting the movement of caravans of Central American migrants.“Remain in Mexico” makes Central American asylum applicants await resolution of their cases from the Mexican side of the border.
“It is a U.S. policy that once again subordinates Mexico’s immigration policy,” said Oscar Misael Hernandez, an immigration researcher at the College of the Northern Border in Matamoros.
Others saw it as a pragmatic calculation that U.S. courts will soon put a halt to the program. Allowing it in the meantime helps U.S. relations and helped Mexico win a $10.6 billion U.S. commitment for regional development, meant to create jobs in Central America and southern Mexico so fewer people feel compelled to leave.
With growing signs of anti-migrant sentiment in Mexico, containing migration costs Lopez Obrador little in political terms, and is balanced by his push to grant work visas for migrants.
The new administration’s most widely criticized misstep was Lopez Obrador’s decision to ax funds for nonprofits working on issues ranging from promoting art and culture to providing domestic abuse shelters, arguing the “intermediaries” were too often used to siphon away government funds. Lopez Obrador wants to give the money directly to the people who needed it, but experts say that won’t work for complex social services like day care and shelters for battered women.
Mariana Banos, whose Fundacion Origen offers support services to women, often through partnerships with other organizations and local governments, said many groups will have to shut down because they depend entirely on government funding.
She scoffed at the corruption allegations and urged the government to reconsider.
“You have to work hand-in-hand, not create a divide, not stigmatize,” she said.
Despite the frictions there are lighter moments to “The 4-T,” a play on Lopez Obrador’s description of his administration as the “fourth transformation” of Mexico.
Lopez Obrador sometimes laughs at his own jokes. He posts Facebook videos from roadside restaurants, with impromptu lectures on the health benefits of coconuts or local fruits. And Mexicans crack up at his frequent, folksy catch phrases like “Me canso ganso,” equivalent to “I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.”
Enterprising designers have come up with a web app that allows people to make resolutions and receive a text message from an AMLO-bot saying “Monica, you’ll lose weight this year, or I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.” (VOA)
Social media is an umbrella term that encompasses all apps, websites, and blogs that allow people from all over the world to interact through the internet. Anyone who wishes to use any social media platform must first sign up and then sign in to view content and communicate with other members of that social media platform. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, and Snapchat are commonly used social media platforms. Social media, like all technological advancements, has both advantages and disadvantages.
Social media has become an essential aspect of life for many youths in today's society. Numerous young people carry on involving themselves with social media without even bothering to consider its effect on them. The consequences may be both good and bad at times. When it comes to the negative impact of social media on teenagers, the majority of the time, they are unfavourable if the activity is not linked with a commercial or professional objective.
Social media has taken on such significance in today's society that it has overtaken other concerns. | Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash
Social media has taken on such significance in today's society that it has overtaken other concerns. People, especially teens, are addicted to social media and have lost sight of the essential things in their lives like family, friends, physical activities, social interaction, sports, education and much more.
One manner in which social media harms our mental health is through the use of unfavourable social comparisons. Teenagers or even grown-ups who use social media spend a significant amount of time examining the lives and activities of their friends. Continuous comparisons lead to low self-esteem and negative body image in adolescents, increasing depression and anxiety in such people; this includes stalking their achievements, events, their pictures or the events they have attended. On comparing, it makes oneself feel worse about their life.
Teenagers or even grown-ups who use social media spend a significant amount of time examining the lives and activities of their friends. | Photo by Ángel López on Unsplash
We can only see the virtual aspect of a person while we are on social media sites. This means that we can only see the side of the situation that they want us to see. Many people make an effort to present themselves in a way that they are not. Bullying among peers is a common practice, which is acceptable to a certain level. However, when it comes to cyberbullying, it has a significant impact on a person's mental health, as the comments or posts may appear on the newsfeed of any individual and spread quickly. Depression and suicidal behaviour can occur as a result of such things.
Particular teenagers are highly prone to be manipulated. Such teenagers may feel the urge to alter their physical appearance as they begin to compare themselves with every other person they come across on social media. This can result in low-self esteem; also, there is a tremendous temptation to overindulge on social media. Hence, it can become an addiction for adolescents and cause them to get distracted, as already mentioned.
Several studies have found that excessive social media use is frequently associated with underlying problems such as depression, chronic stress, anxiety, or low self-esteem. | Photo by AH NP on Unsplash
Several studies have found that excessive social media use is frequently associated with underlying problems such as depression, chronic stress, anxiety, or low self-esteem. Hence, it becomes a social responsibility for us to keep a check on our and our friends' mental well-being by unplugging our devices, building solid friendships and beginning the search to find our true inner self by meditation, exploring nature and organizing offline get together.
Keywords: negative, unfavourable, friends, depression, teenagers, people, social, mental health
During festivals like Diwali, one shouldn't only pay pay attention to dressing up, shopping and meeting family members; an integral part of festivities includes cleaning and decorating our homes, neighbourhood and spreading joy. But while anybody can clean their homes, designing new spaces can be a tad bit cumbersome. With a restricted budget and high-priced decor products in the market, everyone is always looking out for new ideas that are both cost-effective and can transform your home to welcome Maa Laxmi and the New Year. Don't worry though, the following five budget-friendly ways shared by Niraj Johri, founder & CEO at Casa Decor, help you decorate your home in a manner that makes it unforgettable.
Adding metal accents
Adding brass, silver, or copper accessories in the tiny little spaces inside your home can elevate its overall design aesthetics. Metals are the epitome of elegance and luxury -- they can be moulded to lend an eccentric and dynamic fusion of colours. Due to their unpredictable nature, artisans can find numerous ways in which they can help accentuate every corner in your home.
Folded into intricate forms with beautiful solid colours, metals are an undeniably fascinating material to use in home decor. In fact, they are known for their polished and refined looks that bring together edgy, contemporary, and Victorian styles to the forefront. Such designs can usually be found in handcrafted decor pieces such as metal trays that are perfect centrepieces on wooden tables.
Adding brass, silver, or copper accessories in the tiny little spaces inside your home can elevate its overall design aesthetics. | Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
Flowers, flowers everywhere!
This Diwali one should endeavor to shift to organic decor pieces that make use of fresh flowers elevate spaces like doorways, balconies, stairs, or even put them in vases and let the flowers be the centre of attention. Houseplants and flowers not only brighten your surroundings but also boost your mood immediately. Since Diwali calls for parties at home, flowers can function as a catalyst for good vibes.
You can also make use of metal planters enchanted by unexpected colors and veins. Through their unique characteristics and diverse sets of textures, metal planters enable the preservation of charm and value unique to Indian handicraft traditions and cultures.
Since Diwali calls for parties at home, flowers can function as a catalyst for good vibes. | Photo by Roberta Sorge on Unsplash
Light lights! Tea lights
Tea lights are perhaps best used when they are placed inside intricately handcrafted ceramic casings that combine various traditional techniques practised through time. Each piece exudes a sense of muted culture that find a new life in the nuances of the design work.
Each piece exudes a sense of muted culture that find a new life in the nuances of the design work. | Photo by Sven Hornburg on Unsplash
How about some lanterns?
Lanterns with fairy lights is a very popular idea that can be found in most households today. All you must do is fill the jar with fairy lights and hang them in any corner of a room. They offer an inspiring firefly effect that lends a unique and inimitable look to spaces within homes.
Lanterns offer an inspiring firefly effect that lends a unique and inimitable look to spaces within homes. | Photo by Vladimir Fedotov on Unsplash
Mirror Mirror on the wall
Wall mirrors are another way of adding an aesthetic and elegant touch to homes. One can add different sizes of mirrors on empty walls and change the look of the entire area. A classic mirror will add richness to your home and function as a reflective piece to shed light in each corner. (IANS/ MBI)
Wall mirrors are another way of adding an aesthetic and elegant touch to homes. | Photo by Tuva Mathilde Løland on Unsplash
Following a huge growth in his personal fortune, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has renewed his promise to "extend life to Mars". According to The Star, Musk's wealth has swelled to an astonishing $230 billion. Or a whopping 861 billion Dodgecoin, a cryptocurrency backed by the entrepreneur after he was reported to have invested millions.
Musk is now richer than Bill Gates and Warren Buffett combined, both individuals who had previously held the rich list title. "Elon Musk (with a net worth equal to 861 billion #Dogecoin) is now richer than Bill Gates and Warren Buffett COMBINED!" popular crypto YouTuber Matt Wallace's tweeted.
To which Musk said: "Hopefully enough to extend life to Mars". "Have no doubt you will make it happen," Wallace responded. CEO investments, the creators of Dogecoin, also responded backing Musk's plans every step of the way. The SpaceX Mars programme was initiated by Musk to colonize Mars after he first conceptualized the project back in 2001. SpaceX's aspirational goal has been to land the first humans on Mars by 2024, but in October 2020 Musk named 2024 as the goal for an uncrewed mission. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: investments, combined, SpaceX, billion, Elon musk, tesla