Should we expect state-federal relations to plummet if leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wins the presidency and former Guadalajara mayor Enrique Alfaro becomes the next governor of Jalisco on July 1 – as the polls increasingly suggest?
In a short video recorded during a recent visit to this region, Lopez Obrador lashed out at Alfaro, accusing him of being a “traitor” and a “phony,” partly for refusing to join his Juntos Haremos Historia (Together We Make History) movement. Despite previously good relations between Alfaro’s Moviemiento Ciudadano (MC) and Lopez Obrador’s Moreno party, the MC decided to align itself with the conservative National Action Party (PAN) and presidential candidate Ricardo Anaya, who in this week’s Refoma newspaper poll trailed the frontrunner by a whopping 26 percentage points.
In the uncompromising five-minute video, Lopez Obrador said Alfaro represents “violence, insecurity, corruption and authoritarianism,” was a “friend” of disgraced ex-president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, and pleaded with voters in Jalisco to reconsider voting for him. Electing Alfaro governor would simply prolong the PRI-PAN tradition, and he urged voters instead to back Morena’s candidate Carlos Lomeli Bolaños, the wealthy business maverick with a less than crystal-clear past running, paradoxically, on a left-wing ticket.
Strangely, Lopez Obrador’s vitriol was in complete contrast to the words – only a few days earlier – of Alfonso Romo, coordinator of the candidate’s “Proyecto de Nation” (essentially, his policy platform).
“We are going to govern with everybody, and even more so with Jalisco, which is such an important and powerful state,” Romo told El Informador newspaper. “I’ve talked to Alfaro, with whom I have a very good relationship. I respect him enormously. He’ll be an amazing governor if he’s elected.”
Alfaro reacted slightly more sanguinely to Lopez Obrador’s broadside, himself releasing a video charging the veteran Tabasco politician of wanting governors who are essentially lackeys to do his bidding.
Alfaro vowed to work with any president but said Jalisco would demand respect. “We won’t take orders from anyone. Jalisco is free,” he stated.
In earlier interviews, Alfaro has said Lopez Obrador’s outburst only confirmed his belief that he made the correct decision in not supporting him.
Romo dismisses this acrimony – no matter how recently manifested it may have been. “[Things said during] the heat of the contest are one thing. It’s another thing when you actually assume such a great responsibility [of leadership],” he asserted. “I think both Andres and Alfaro will cooperate well.”
Romo extolled Jalisco’s virtues, especially in the technological realm, and its abundance of “human capital, infrastructure and universities.” In terms of economic strength, he said he wasn’t worried about Jalisco. The challenge, he stressed, is in the regions of the country that have been abandoned.