Wednesday, June 19, 2024

In Mexico the rich became richer during the first leftist government of MORENA

Business tycoon Carlos Slim with President Obrador
Published in "El Machete", Organ of the CC of the Communist Party of Mexico (PCM), under the title "Los ricos se hacen más ricos en el primer gobierno de izquierda":

June 2018 began with a whirlwind of emotions among the Mexican population. For the first time in our history as a country we would be governed by a left-wing party. Andrés Manuel López Obrador won the elections after more than a decade of campaigning and arrived with the promise of putting the poor first, who aren't few in Mexico. In fact, when AMLO assumed the presidency, there were more than 50 million people in poverty in Mexico. “The poor,” he said, had been forgotten during all the neoliberal governments from Salinas to Peña Nieto.

However, although the poor existed and continue to exist in MORENA's imagination, the rich are not a recurring figure. There is a lot of talk about conservatives, although not about liberals. There is talk of the “fifis”, and they respond by talking about the “chairos” and the “ninis” who, according to them, maintain themselves in luxury through unemployment thanks to the meager support of Workerism.

This narrative absence couldn't be just that, not in a carefully curated political movement in which every symbol and every word has been chosen from a multitude of options to have the greatest impact on the population, and to leave a labyrinth confusing enough to juggle their ideological contradictions. The rich do not appear as the enemy of the poor in every speech by Obrador or Sheimbaum for a simple reason: because they are not considered as such.

The rich, defined as the 1% of the population with the most wealth in this country, may or may not be part of the enemy, depending on their statements and public positions. Thus, Salinas Pliego, a libertarian businessman openly opposed to the Morena government, is an enemy, not because he is rich but because he is conservative. And Carlos Slim, the richest man in Mexico, is an ally, the engineer, not because he is an enthusiast for equality and social justice, but because of his statements in support of Obrador.

With all this, it should not surprise us that during the first six-year term of the left in Mexico the rich have gotten richer. It is normal: they were never the objective, no matter how much the ideologue circuses who still feel like Marxists want to tell us that that behind the obvious comfort of Obrador and his movement with these obscene sums of wealth hides very, very well, a truly revolutionary.

According to Forbes magazine calculations, the fortune of the 10 richest people and families in Mexico increased by 45.2%. At the beginning of the six-year term, these fortunes totaled 121.7 billion dollars, and now they add up to more than 176.5 billion. Those who benefited the most from this were Carlos Slim and his family, Germán Larrea and his family, and even the archenemy of the 4T and known tax evader, Ricardo Salinas Pliego and his family.

In the case of Carlos Slim alone, his fortune grew 52.2% from 2018 to 2024. According to Oxfam, a well-known international research agency, it was Slim's relationship with the federal government that allowed him to increase his wealth in this way, as benefited from multiple concessions in works and special permits.

It is important to note that this increase in personal wealth is not entirely explained by the increase in the value of the companies that these capitalists run, since the wealth of the 48 largest businessmen in Mexico increased by 12%, while the Mexican Stock Market only increased by 6%. That is to say, the wealth of these businessmen increased twice as much as the value of their businesses.

This is how this six-year period of transformation in favor of the poorest ends: without tax reform to collect more taxes from the richest and with Mexican billionaires accumulating more and more wealth from a country that still maintains about half of its population below the poverty line.