SECOND ANNUAL STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BY ANDRÉS MANUEL LÓPEZ OBRADOR, PRESIDENT OF MEXICO
Today, on the occasion of our second year in office, I can state with facts and in honor of the truth that we have advanced in our goal of transforming Mexico.
Since before taking office armed with the popular mandate as President of the Republic, we had been preparing a development plan that emerged from many years of struggle,
traveling at ground level throughout the country. We had been appraising the country’s potential and its vast natural resources, reflecting on the obstacles to the development and
well-being of the population, assessing the cultural greatness of Mexico, and compiling the feelings of the people in all the towns and regions of the country.
This is how we came to the conclusion that the possibilities of change were greater than those of stagnation or decay and that making the transformation a reality would depend,
first and foremost, on facing the serious problem of corruption and counteracting it with the virtue of honesty, which is the greatest wealth of our people.
Based on this conviction, since I took office, a different policy began to be applied. On our first day in office, my wife and I drove to the Legislature for the swearing in ceremony without the presence of the Presidential General Staff apparatus or the usual paraphernalia of power. Later, here in the National Palace; I attended to the heads of state and special guests, and in the capital’s Zócalo square; I addressed the people and promised not to lie,
not to steal, not to betray, and to fulfill 100 basic commitments.
We knew what changes had to be made and we began the work of transformation. The legal framework was adjusted with extremely important constitutional reforms. Among
other modifications to the legal code, corruption, the massive theft of gasoline, and electoral fraud were classified as serious crimes; the National Guard was created; tax
waivers were cancelled; the possibility of holding citizen consultations was guaranteed; the
procedure for revoking the president’s term in office was approved; presidential immunity was eliminated so that the president could be judged for any crime just like any other Mexican.
We immediately began to fight corruption and implement a policy of Republican austerity. In two years, we saved 1.30 trillion pesos (1) in government purchases and contracts, fuel theft –what is known as huachicol- was reduced to a minimum; tax fraud and other harmful malpractices that proliferated in public finances under the old regime were drastically reduced.
Austerity and the cancellation of trusts and funds that were handled in a discretionary and dishonest manner and that benefitted the well-to-do minorities have also enabled us to free up more budgetary resources to benefit the population.
With this formula of fighting corruption and governing without luxury or frivolity, we have been able to fulfill the commitments of not putting the country into debt, not increasing taxes, and not raising fuel prices. And most importantly, this new economic policy, based on morality, has allowed us to finance social programs for the well-being of our people, especially the poorest and most marginalized.
Universal stipends for senior citizens, financial support for children with disabilities, scholarships for students from poor families, and free medical care and medicines are now a reality. These programs, by the way, have already been enshrined in the constitution and have been defined as rights that obligatorily must be respected no matter who is in power.
In addition to these measures, from the very beginning, we have supported agricultural production and peasant farmers. We have directly helped growers and fishermen with
economic resources; guaranteed prices for producers have been re-established; timber and
fruit trees are being planted on a million hectares, fertilizers are being provided to all producers in the state of Guerrero; more than 1.5 million young people have worked as apprentices earning a minimum wage; we have not ceased paying doctors, nurses,
soldiers, marines, and other public servants. In two years the minimum wage has increased by 30 percent, in real terms, something that had not happened in the past 36 years of neoliberal rule or prior to that period. In addition, the misnamed educational reform has
been nullified; 51,000 school committees comprised of teachers, students, and parents now directly receive the budgetary resources earmarked for the maintenance of their facilities.
Textbooks have not been lacking for primary and middle school education and work is underway to improve their content; 140 public universities are in the process of being built
or have been completed; we have increased the number of post-graduate and research scholarships by 7,200 to reach a total of 123,000 and recently the number of doctors who
will receive a scholarship to study a specialty in the country or abroad was doubled; 46,783
rural communities now have Internet access, and next year the number will rise to
122,000, and in 2022 the network will cover the entire country.
The Banco del Bienestar continues to expand, with 362 branches having been built so far, with an addition 400 currently under construction, and in the next two years coverage will extend to even the most remote regions of the country, with 2,700 new branches.
To promote culture, we have published 46 titles by renowned authors, with 1,840,000 copies of their books distributed free of charge or at low cost; the cultural and ecological parks of Bosque de Chapultepec and Lago de Texcoco are under construction.
In these two years we adopted important decisions. By popular mandate, we cancelled the Texcoco airport project and are building the General Felipe Angeles civil and military airport.
This will allow us to save 220 billion pesos (2) and the new airport will be inaugurated on March 21, 2022. The construction of the Mayan Train has started, as well as work on the industrial and port corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.
The policy of support for the northern border region was established, with a decrease in taxes, a reduction in the fuel prices, and a 100% increase in the minimum wage.
This same policy will be applied as of this coming January along the southern border in terms of fiscal incentives; for example, Chetumal will once again be a duty free zone.
Progress was registered in rescuing the Petroleos Mexicanos oil company (Pemex) and the Federal Electricity Commission, public companies that corruption and the privatization mania put on the verge of collapse. In 2023, we will stop importing gasoline because we will achieve self-sufficiency with the beginning of operations at the new Dos Bocas oil refinery and the modernization of the six existing refineries.
I would like to reiterate that we have fulfilled our commitment not to increase the price of fuel and electricity and I should add that gasoline is now cheaper than when we took office.
We had made great progress in the decisions and actions to transform Mexico when, in March of this year, the coronavirus pandemic reached the country. In addition to suffering the loss of thousands of lives, it forced us, as almost all other countries, to take measures to mitigate the effects of Covid that paralyzed the economy, affected productive activities, and led to an increase in unemployment, both in the formal and informal sectors throughout the country.
But instead of remaining passive with our arms crossed, we decided to face both the health and economic crises with dedication, efficiency, and with unconventional strategies that have enabled us to gradually emerge from this adversity for the good of the people and our nation.
In terms of the measures to combat the pandemic, I can report that, despite inheriting a health system in ruins undermined by corruption, we managed to finish building 130 hospitals and reconverted 971 to care for patients with COVID-19.
We have installed 32,203 general hospital beds and 10,735 with ventilators and 193,645 general practitioners have been trained.
Equipment was purchased, 71,000 new health-care workers were hired and, thanks to the support of the population; the nurses and doctors who have put their lives at risk and the administrators in charge of carrying out this whole strategy, we have not been overwhelmed. We have made sure that no person who is ill lacks medical and hospital care and we have saved thousands of lives.
I cannot fail to mention the solidarity, the humanism shown by foundations sponsored by companies and private hospitals that, since the first days of the pandemic, have been supporting us in attending to patients with COVID and other illnesses.
By the same token, we have established relations with pharmaceutical companies and governments internationally to obtain and apply the COVID vaccine as soon as possible. However, unfortunately, this terrible disease has caused the death of more than 100,000 people, whom we will always remember with affection and love. We will never stop expressing our condolences and solidarity to their families and friends.
Facing the economic crisis has been less painful and complex than fighting the spread of the virus. It has turned out that it was very useful that we discarded the economic prescriptions applied during the neo-liberal period, starting with the strategy of plunging the population into debt in order to rescue those at the top, as was done with Fobaproa (3). Now it is different.
Thanks to the austerity measures and the fight against corruption, we did not have to resort to taking on new loans and all the resources freed up go directly; without intermediaries, to the base of the social pyramid and from there upward to the higher strata. That is, preference is given to the poor and the middle classes.
This is why the stipends provided to senior citizens and people with disabilities were paid in
advance, the distribution of educational scholarships was maintained, support was given to
peasant farmers, growers, and fishermen, and the credit program was expanded for small businesses in the formal and informal sectors of the economy.
In eight months, 2,750,000 loans were granted for productive activities and housing. In short, the income of the majority was strengthened and, with this, not only was the subsistence of those most affected facilitated, but a drop in the consumption of food and other basic goods was avoided, which would have had additional disastrous effects for the rest of the economy.
The strategy coincided with the 10 percent increase in remittances sent from the United States by our migrant compatriots to their families. This year, despite the pandemic, these money transfers will reach the record amount of 40 billion dollars, which will benefit 10 million families that are receiving, on average, 350 dollars per month.
This show of solidarity, of heroism on the part of our fellow countrymen abroad can be characterized as a kind of social miracle that strengthens our belief in the extraordinary solidarity of the people of Mexico. Here or there, our people always show solidarity. The proof that consumption has not diminished is that, from January to November, self-service stores sold 8 percent more than last year.
I would also like to mention that the forecast we made that the crisis would have a “V” shape is being fulfilled. We would fall to the bottom, as occurred in April, but we would emerge from the hole, as, in fact, has been happening. The economy is beginning to grow and of the 1,117,584 formal jobs lost, 555,600 have already been recovered. I think that in March we will again be able to reach the figure of 20,613,536 jobs that the Mexican Social Security Institute had registered before the pandemic.
Other favorable data. Despite the health crisis, in the two years that we have been in government, our currency has not depreciated and Public Treasury income has decreased very little, three percent, in relation to last year.
We have also made progress in resolving the serious problem of public insecurity and violence left to us by previous governments. In this area, the priority has been to address
the causes that led to social decomposition, with the premise that peace is the fruit of justice. In my administration, authority is not associated with crime.
There is no impunity for anyone and, although there is still a long way to go to pacify the country, we maintain, based on the facts, that the upward trend in most crime rates has been reversed. According to National Statistics Institute (INEGI) data, last year there were fewer homicides than in 2018 and I can report that in the first 11 months of this year, compared
to the same period in 2018, federal crimes have decreased 30 percent and overall, of 11 high impact common law crimes, eight have posted a considerable decline.
For example, home burglaries have dropped 23 percent; street robberies and muggings by 30 percent, pickpocketing on mass transit is down 42 percent, while armed robberies in taxis has fallen 8 percent. Car theft is down 35 percent, robberies of trucks and their drivers has fallen 26 percent, small business larceny fell 15 percent, and kidnappings are 29 percent below previous levels. The only exceptions have been intentional homicide, femicides, and extortion, which have increased by 3.8 percent, 8.9 percent and 21 percent, respectively.
In the fight against criminal organizations, human rights are respected. The federal forces do not commit massacres or kill the wounded. For example, in 2011 and 2012, in the midst of the war against drug trafficking, in confrontations with the military and marines, 1,750 civilians were injured and detained, and 2,459 died in these clashes. In other words, there were 709 more deaths than injuries.
And, in contrast, in the two years in which we have been in office, 631 people have been injured and detained, but only 507 have died in such confrontations. In other words, unlike in the past, the percentage of deaths, the fatality rate, is lower than that of injuries and arrests, with 124 fewer deaths.
This shows that we are motivated by a conviction of justice, not extermination, and that, in restoring public security, we prioritize respect for life. In short, despite the vices, chaos, and the seriousness of the problem we inherited, with the new public security policy we have been moving forward to achieve peace. The latest INEGI survey on the population’s perception of public insecurity shows the lowest figure in the past five years.
I would like to point out that everything that has been done in this area is the result of the persevering and coordinated work of the ministries and government agencies that comprise the public security and citizen protection cabinet.
The National Guard has been very supportive. Despite its recent establishment, it is already a professional, disciplined corporation with 98,000 members deployed in the country’s 176 regional coordination bodies, in each of the nation’s 32 states.
Next year we will have a presence in 266 territorial coordination bodies with 150,000 police, officers and commanders. In addition, 87 barracks have already been built, 85 more are under construction and by 2021, we will have finished building all the National Guard facilities in the country.
I recognize and appreciate the unconditional support of the soldiers and marines of Mexico who have supported us in public security tasks, because the Constitution now allows it.
They have helped us in protecting strategic institutions and in the noble application of the Navy and ND-III plans to aid the population affected by earthquakes, floods, and currently with the pandemic and other calamities. In our government, the armed forces are also committed to carrying out work projects for the benefit of our people.
They dredge rivers, clean beaches, build canals, airports and branches of the Banco de Bienestar; they manage ports, monitor customs, and grow millions of trees in nurseries to plant plots on communal and ejidal land (4) and on small community properties. In short, the Armed Forces are inaugurating a new stage in their role of serving Mexico.
I would like to specifically acknowledge the Minister of the Navy, Admiral José Rafael Ojeda Durán and the Minister of National Defense, General Luis Cresencio Sandoval González.
Of 100 commitments presented two years ago, we have fulfilled 97; only three are pending or in the process of being implemented. These are decentralizing the federal government, promoting the development of renewable energy sources, through the rehabilitation of hydroelectric plants, and learning the truth about the disappearance of the young people of Ayotzinapa. These are in the process of being fulfilled. But we have also done many other things that were not included in that list of commitments.
For example, we completed the Guadalajara Suburban Train and we are continuing with the Toluca to Mexico City train. We rehabilitated the airports of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chetumal, and Mexico City.
We have invested 28 billion pesos (5) in the maintenance of 40,000 kilometers of roads in the country, and of the 35 percent that were in poor condition, only 15 percent remain to be repaired.
The National Water Commission (Conagua), the Federal Roads and Bridges commission (Capufe), the National Immigration Institute, customs, the Integral Port Administrations (API) and the Tax Administration Service (SAT) are being wiped clean of corruption.
Islas Marías ceased to be a penal institution and became the “Muros de Agua-José Revueltas” Environmental and Cultural Education Center.
We have not granted any mining concessions. The National Program for the Search and Location of Persons Disappeared by Violence was launched.
All teachers who were dismissed due to the imposition of the so-called educational reform were reinstated and damages committed to persons or families affected by neoliberal corruption or state violence are being compensated, such as the cases of the ABC Day Care Center (6) in Hermosillo, Sonora or Pasta de Cochos (7) in Coahuila.
The program to protect journalists remains in effect. The Institute for the Return of Stolen Goods to the People was created; and, the presidential plane was raffled off and 100 prizes of 20 million pesos (8) were given to individuals, schools and hospitals. Help was provided to flood victims.
The cabinet is comprised of 50 percent women and for the first time in history, a woman, Olga Sánchez Cordero, is the Minister of the Interior and Rosa Icela Rodríguez Velázquez is in charge of the Ministry of Public Security and Citizen Protection.
We have held 504 press conferences from 7 to 9 in the morning from Monday to Friday. As president, I have visited all the states in the country; some, four times, and others, up to 26 times.
The new trade agreement with the United States and Canada has entered into effect. New labor legislation was approved to guarantee direct voting and the democratization of the unions.
We have not had any conflict with the national teacher’s movement; 300,000 teachers have had their employment status, seniority, and salaries formalized. Federal government subsidies and budgetary resources that by law correspond to states and municipalities have been delivered on time.
The independence of the legislative and judicial branches of government and the Federal Attorney General’s Office is a reality; no crimes are fabricated nor are opponents spied upon. Inflation is controlled; there is no shortage of food, raw materials, or fuel.
The financial system functions normally. Only 18 workers’ strikes have erupted and the number of protest demonstrations has been reduced to a minimum. Infonavit and Fovissste housing credits are being provided to the workers and there are no evictions due to problems or debts contracted with these agencies.
We offered asylum to former president Evo Morales and his team; we have no conflict with any government in the world. The human rights of migrants have not been violated; international organizations have been allowed to enter our country to monitor compliance with human rights.
There have been no blackouts or water shortages; the problem of the gasoline shortage caused by the fight against fuel theft was resolved and 612 tanker trucks operated by the
Ministry of National Defense were purchased; permanent information is available on who is
who in prices; the Emisor Oriente tunnel was inaugurated to prevent flooding in the Valley of Mexico; Mexico was elected, almost unanimously, to the UN Security Council; in addition, the resolution Mexico presented in the UN to guarantee equity in the availability of
medicines and vaccines was approved; the system of education via the Internet, radio and
television was established; 1,530 artistic and archeological exhibits were put on display in
Mexico and abroad; the civic events for the Grito (9) and the Independence Day procession
were held, as well as the commemoration of the beginning of the Mexican Revolution; 925
high-performance athletes and coaches have received direct financial support for their training, involving a total of 500 million pesos (10).
Preparations are also underway for next year’s commemoration of the 700th anniversary of the founding of Tenochtitlán (11), the 500th anniversary of the foreign conquest and military seizure of what is today Mexico City, and the 200th anniversary of the country’s independence.
As an alternative to using Gross Domestic Product as an indicator, the Wellness Index is being developed; the Healthy Water project is being applied in the La Laguna region of Coahuila and Durango; the Federal Protection Service has been consolidated to provide security to federal government ministries and agencies; construction has begun for the new Tulum Airport in Quintana Roo; schools are being created to train athletes and physical education instructors; a new food labelling system is being applied to prevent the consumption of junk food; a new course entitled “Healthy Living” was incorporated into the public education curriculum; and a commission was created to promote the Justice Plan for the Yaqui People of the State of Sonora, among other actions.
But what is most important is that the foundations for the transformation are already laid. Two years after taking office, I can affirm that we have already achieved that goal, I repeat, laying the foundations for the transformation of Mexico.
What does it mean to lay the foundations for transforming Mexico? It means that now the Constitution is respected, there is legality and democracy; freedoms and the right to dissent are guaranteed.
There is full transparency and the right to information, no censorship; human rights are not violated; the people are not repressed; the federal government does not engage in electoral fraud; government no longer represents a minority but rather all Mexicans of all classes, cultures and beliefs; the government no longer represents a minority but rather all Mexicans of all classes, cultures and beliefs.
Government functions are conducted with austerity and also with moral authority, corruption is not tolerated and impunity is not permitted.
In practice, there are no privileges or exemptions; everyone is attended to, everyone is respected, but preference is given to the poor. Nature is protected; gender equality is promoted; discrimination, racism, and classism are repudiated; moral, cultural and spiritual values are strengthened; Mexico’s cultural and historical heritage is protected
Mexico, our great country, is a free and sovereign nation, respected and considered respectable by the rest of the world; we are fighting for peace and we are on the road to living in a just, egalitarian, free, democratic, sovereign and fraternal Republic.
It is a source of pride that, despite the health and economic crises caused by the pandemic, and with all the resulting suffering, we did not stop working to concretize the Fourth
Transformation of Mexico’s public life. It is clear that if we advance and resist it is because we decided to face head on the plague of corruption that has caused so much damage to Mexico and its people.
The population has always known this, they have known it for a long time, but today it is better understood and it feels like a reality, because the money that was stolen before now reaches those at the bottom, those who have been forgotten, the neighbors, the marginalized of our country.
In this regard, I can report that 70 percent of households in Mexico are recipients of at least one social welfare program or benefit in some way from national budget resources.
We have not left the remainder, the 30 percent of Mexicans with better economic and working conditions, in the lurch either; they have the satisfaction of enjoying the conditions in which to continue to progress and live in peace, without fear, with the enormous joy that it produces in any individual of good will of putting into practice the key principle of loving thy neighbor and serving others.
Not everything is perfect, nor do we aspire to achieve a single way of thinking or a consensus; we are aware that there is opposition to our government and that this is legitimate and normal in a true democracy.
This is especially the case when a transformation is taking place driven by new liberal ideas that seek to end the privileges enjoyed by conservative minorities, accustomed to thriving, shielded by economic or political power.
However, the majority of Mexicans are supporting our government; in the last poll, because I have other data, 71 percent of Mexicans want us to continue governing and with that we have our support.
That is the key, the support of the majority of the people. As President Juarez said: with the people everything, without the people nothing.
Thank you for your trust. To those who are present here, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart, to those who are watching and listening to us on the radio, on television, through the social networks, thank you very much.
Love is paid with love. I have not failed you and I will not fail you. Let us all continue promoting the common good, exalting our country, and making history.
Long live Mexico!
a Long live Mexico!
Long live Mexico!
National Palace, December 1, 2020
1) 1.3 trillion pesos = 640 billion dollars
2) 220 billion pesos = 10.97 billion dollars
3) FOBAPROA – Bank rescue program of 1990
4) Ejidos – small communal plots of land
5) 28 billion pesos = 1.4 billion dollars
6) The ABC Day Care Center in Sonora was the scene of a fire in 2009 in which 49 children perished. Negligence was at fault.
7) Pasta de Conchos was a mining disaster in 2006. The bodies have still not been recovered.
8) 20 million pesos = 1 million dollars
9) Grito – The Grito de Independencia is a Mexican tradition based on the call to
independence made by Miguel Hidalgo in 1810 that ushered in the struggle to free the
country from Spanish colonial rule.
10) 500 million pesos = 25 million dollars
11) Tenochtitán – ancient Aztec capital near what is today Mexico City