One of the main reasons why democracy in some countries have failed or reverted to authoritarian regimes is due to corruption and violence. This happens to be the most serious problem faced by Latin American countries. And it seems that with their increase, democratic institutions and their power decrease. Leaders that are anti-establishment then emerge and whether it be through coup de ’tats or executive coups take over a country’s current failing system and promise to make it better, often just making things worse, many times such leaders encompass the qualities of that of a populist. A prime example of a country on the verge of doing so is Mexico.
From its inception shortly after the Mexican revolution, in March 4 1929, the Institutional Revolutionary Party – Partido Revolucionario Institucional – (PRI), has been a force to reckon with. The PRI’s 71-year grip on government has had a mix of populism, patronage, corruption and repression. While it was initially founded by Plutarco Elias Calles to prevent any further violence among the current political parties. The PRI was formed by a loose confederation of local political bosses and military strongmen grouped together with labor unions, peasant organizations, and local political parties. A base for a strong foundation without a doubt which led to other parties coming up with only weak candidates when it came to presidential, congressional and senate elections. As result though out its reign the PRI had complete control of every form of government without any one opposing.
To further prevent the PRI from losing its power, in 1947, President Miguel Aleman created the Federal Security Directorate (DFS), this was officially the national intelligence agency, but in reality, served as a tool of repression for opposition to the Mexican government. The DFS was also suspected of having knowledge regarding the drug cartels activity simply because of how powerful it was. Its semi-secretive role led many Mexican to be intimidated by this organization known for dealing harshly with its enemies and suspects. When the organization came under investigation after 2 former Security chiefs had been detained and jailed for illegally amassing wealth during their role as leaders of the department, it was very difficult for investigators to keep many of the criminals they had in custody because many of the possessed real or false DFS credentials. With the DFS being the highest security division in Mexico, it was easy for those who were corrupted to corrupt the others. This lead to an unparalleled level of corruption that had the cartels and government cooperating with each other.
To make matters worse, the people of Mexico are not always being told the complete truth as mass media chose which lies and truths to spread. For example: Grupo Televisa, the world’s largest Spanish-language media company controls roughly two-thirds of the nation’s free-to-air television, has been accused of politically leaning news coverage. This serves to acknowledge that despite the modernization of Mexico, corruption had not decreased with it, on the contrary it had strengthened its roots across Mexico.
In the 2000, the PRI lost for the first time in 71 years a presidential election to Vicente Fox of the Partido Acción Nacional (National Action Party) known as PAN a loss that had been predicted with the first loss in 1989 when Ernesto Ruffo defeated the PRI in a state election and was elected as governor of Baja California. Despite these losses the PRI still held a majority of the seats in congress and governorships, but with Vicente Fox as the president Mexico was hopeful that change would come. Despite this outlook during the presidency of Fox, not much changed, he practically did nothing to change the structure of the government; however, the PAN was given another opportunity to make difference with Felipe Calderon elected as president. The same thing happened though and in 2012 the PRI took back the presidency ultimately stating that despite its losses it could always come back and dominate in political arena.
Enter Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador – AMLO – the current presidential candidate of the political party known as Morena. His views and stance on Trump have rallied millions of people behind his back showing him support. They have instilled in him their support because as ironic as it seems, Lopez Obrador, the hopeful hero of Mexico has similar rhetoric to that of Trump but aimed towards the benefit of Mexicans. And as seen in many other cases figures like this who come to power because of the populist image they portray rarely ever leave a positive image of their governance behind. It is through the slow disenchantment of the people by the government that people start to lose hope in a democracy and revert to one person leading them, often being the demise of the country.