At Nogales rally, Mexico's president-elect says he'll cut ta

At Nogales rally, Mexico's president-elect says he'll cut ta

Postby admin » Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:26 pm

At Nogales rally, Mexico's president-elect says he'll cut taxes, raise wages
by Perla Trevizo
Arizona Daily Star
Sep 22, 2018 Updated 2 hrs ago

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Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, left, Mexico's president-elect, greets supporters before a rally in Nogales, Sonora. "There can't be a rich country with a poor people," said the man who plans to slash his own salary by 40 percent. Mike Christy/Arizona Daily Star

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About 2,000 people packed the Plaza Miguel Hidalgo in Nogales, Sonora, to hear Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexico's president-elect speak.

NOGALES, Sonora — At a rally Friday night, Mexico’s President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador promised to cut taxes and double the minimum wage in the border region to make it more competitive.

That is part of a wider plan to improve conditions in Mexico enough so people don’t have the need to migrate, he said.


“It’s part of a strategy, not an isolated plan,” to create a curtain across the country that retains Mexicans in Mexico, López Obrador said. “So that the Mexican can work and be happy where he was born, where his family is, where his culture is.”

He told a cheering crowd of about 2,000 people congregated in a plaza near the international line that he would halve the national 16 percent value-added tax and have price parity between Mexican and U.S. border communities when it comes to the cost of gas, diesel and electricity.

The left-wing leader, who won the presidential election in July by landslide, came to Nogales for the first time as president-elect as part of a tour through the country to thank his supporters.
He visited San Luis Rio Colorado earlier Friday and was scheduled to meet with Sonora’s governor, Claudia Pavlovich, in Hermosillo before a visit to the port city of Guaymas and to Ciudad Obregón. He said he will visit Nogales every six months.

Wearing a long-sleeve guayabera and gray pants, López Obrador was greeted at Nogales’ Plaza Miguel Hidalgo by a long line of supporters who wanted to snap a selfie and shake hands with the populist politician. “Presidente! Presidente!” and “It’s an honor to be with Obrador,” they cheered.

“I’m going to get right to the point,” he began, and spent the first half of his speech talking about new government austerity measures and social programs that will take place as soon as he is sworn in on Dec. 1 as Mexico’s 58th president.

The country needs a transformation, and he’s not going to let people down, he said.

“There can’t be a rich country with a poor people,” he said. He said he’s started by slashing his own salary by 40 percent, and no public official can earn more than the president.

López Obrador, who also ran on a platform against corruption, said there’s going to be a law that makes corruption a serious crime without the option of bail.


His core message during the nearly 40-minute speech, though, was about creating opportunities for residents, including scholarships for students, paid apprenticeship programs, monthly stipends for the elderly and children with disabilities, and free health care that prioritizes the poor.

“Students yes, hit men no,” he chanted.

At the same time, he said, he’s keeping his promise to neither raise taxes nor create new ones. Everything, he said, will be paid for with the austerity measures he’s proposing and by getting rid of what he calls luxuries within the government. These luxuries include his presidential plane that is so fancy that, “with all due respect,” not even President Trump has a better one, he said — his first Trump mention of the night.

Even though he talked about immigration, López Obrador refrained from mentioning the border wall that was central to Trump’s campaign and that Mexico was supposed to pay for.

Instead, the president-elect thanked Trump for being respectful toward Mexico. “We will respect him,” López Obrador said, “we only ask for respect in return.”

He also commended ongoing trade negotiations as another positive sign of the relations between both countries and said that the only way to address the issue of immigration is by cooperation, not by force.

The best way to accomplish reduced migration is by improving conditions in Mexico to reduce the need to migrate, “so that those who want to leave do so because they want to,” he said, “not because they have to.”

Residents Virginia Celedonio Cruz and Ernestina Sánchez arrived at the plaza almost three hours early to get a spot as close to the president-elect as possible.

Cruz said Lopez Obrador’s support for the elderly and students, as well as his vision to decrease migration from Mexico, resonated with her.

She was an unauthorized migrant in California for nearly 30 years before she was deported in 2015. She now lives in Nogales to be closer to her family, she said.

When asked if she would have stayed if the opportunities López Obrador spoke about existed when she left, she didn’t hesitate: “Of course,” she said, “why would we leave?”

Sánchez, 72, said she felt her heart was going to fly out of her chest after she saw the president-elect, whom she said called her “precious.”

Both women voted for him and said he has their full support. They trust that change is coming. “I believe in the change he will bring 100, 200 percent,” Sánchez said.
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