SAN ANTONIO – President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, best known as AMLO, is now on the job after he was elected with an overwhelming mandate for long overdue change by 53 percent of Mexico’s voters.
Eager to vote in the historic election, two St. Mary’s University students — sophomore Celeste Flores and graduate student Samantha Martinez — were among thousands of Mexican citizens who went home to cast their ballots.
Flores said the reason that one of her majors is political science is because she’s interested in “how one person can change a million lives.”
“Thirty million people voted for him, so that says a lot,” Martinez said.
The students said that by defeating Mexico’s established political parties, AMLO and his new coalition party gave the oppressed, the indigenous and the poor what they never had.
“You have a population that now has hope,” Flores said. “I think AMLO is the last hope of having a good president.”
Both students, who are from northern Mexico, which is the country's most violent region, said the hope is that AMLO will seek a peaceful solution to the country’s long-running drug war.
Martinez said violence has become a way of life.
“It’s just normal for us, and that’s sad. That’s not normal,” Martinez said. “It breaks my heart.”
As for the border wall that prior presidents have vowed that Mexico will never pay for, Flores said, “I don’t think AMLO can do anything about it. If President Trump wants to build it, he’s going to build it.”
Analysts have said the United States could reduce foreign aid to Mexico and then use that money for the wall. But Martinez said by creating jobs in Mexico, AMLO could reduce illegal immigration to the United States.