It’s not the opinion polls / No son las encuestas

En la práctica de gobierno, es frecuente oír entre la clase política que, en la primer parte de una administración, se deben hacer las reformas y programas. La segunda parte es para ejecutar el programa de gobierno y, la tercera, para cerrar y heredar problemas a la siguiente administración. Sin duda, seis años se pasan tan rápido que el ego no dura tanto como si lo hace la depresión y solitud en la salida.

GDP / Producto Interno Bruto

En la administración del Presidente López Obrador López Obrador se han cumplido, al día de ayer, dos años de gobierno nominativo -sin contar los tres o cuatro meses adicionales de poder real-. Desde las elecciones de julio de 2018, la administración pasada cedió el control de varias áreas a la administración del Presidente López Obrador, dándole un poder efectivo que significó la prueba piloto con la que efectivamente iba a gobernar. En ese tiempo se aprovechó para darle color a lo que sería un gobierno de ocurrencias, no evidencias. El gran evento fue la cancelación del Nuevo Aeropuerto Internacional de México, bajo una consulta ilegal y engañosa, que puso en evidencia como sería el manejo del día a día de gobierno.

 

En dos años efectivos de gobierno de izquierda, lo que debiese ser histórico y positivo, ha sido olvidable y negativo. Sin entender el pragmatismo necesario para gobernar después del dogma y promesas de las elecciones, López Obrador ha gobernado para el aplauso, con ideas preestablecidas, nacionalistas, social y fiscalmente conservadoras, sin escuchar a asesores y centrándose en su voluntarismo. Cualquier remanente de AMLO como pragmático y negociador personaje ha quedado en el pasado.

El resultado ha sido un desastre en diversos ámbitos: la continuidad del servicio y administración pública se desmanteló ante la innecesaria austeridad, el manejo sanitario del COVID-19 ha sido desastroso y la economía se recuperará a niveles de 2018 hasta 2024. Incluso medidas populacheras como la venta del avión presidencial no han sido efectivas. La realidad construida por el gobierno se ha medido en los mensajes diarios e informes repetitivos del Presidente, sin tomar en cuenta la evidencia o la ciencia.

 

Los efectos son visibles: a octubre de este año, los ingresos presupuestarios cayeron 4.9%. En gasto público hubo un subejercicio en el mismo periodo de 1.6% del PIB. En salud somos el cuarto país con más muertes por COVID, con mayor índice de letalidad por cada mil habitantes y un sector salud desmantelado. La administración pública y la moral de los funcionarios está destruida por la austeridad. De seguridad pública ni se diga.

 

Con esos datos cerramos el primer tercio del gobierno, periodo donde se debiese haber construido para el resto del sexenio y, más importante, para el futuro del país. Sin embargo, se ha gobernado con contradicciones y sin mayor planeación que la voluntad presidencial. El futuro cercano se ve complicado, sobre todo porque no se escuchan ideas diferentes, opiniones de expertos o las críticas.

 

Lo que este gobierno no parece entender es que todos queremos lo mejor para nuestro país. Sin embargo, la polarización está minando la integración social, la improvisación al gobierno y, la economía y seguridad no tendrán salida pronta. Al final, para un país, lo importante no son las encuestas o la popularidad sino la efectividad del gobierno. De eso depende el futuro.

 

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In the practice of government, it is common to hear among the political class that, in the first part of an administration, reforms and programs must be carried out. The second part is to execute the government program and, the third, to close and inherit problems to the next administration. To be sure, six years go by so fast that the ego doesn’t last as long as depression and loneliness does.

 

In this administration, two years of nominative government have been completed, as of yesterday, not counting the three or four additional months of real power. Since the July 2018 elections in Mexico, the last administration ceded control of several areas to the nascent, and not yet formalized, administration of President López Obrador, giving it effective power that meant the pilot test with which it was effectively going to govern. That time was used to preempt what would be a government of spur-of-the-moment occurrences, not empirical based decisions. The big event that defined this time was the cancellation of Mexico’s New International Airport, under an illegal and misleading public consultation, which revealed what the day-to-day management of government would be like. This was an insignia infrastructure project initiated under former President Peña Nieto’s administration, intended to substitute an already saturated and obsolete Mexico City airport. 

 

In two effective years of the first left-wing government in Mexico, what should have been a historic and positive period, has been a forgettable and inept administration. Without understanding the pragmatism necessary to govern after the dogma and promises of the electoral process, López Obrador has governed for the crowd’s applause, through old, nationalist, socially and fiscally conservative ideas, without listening to his own advisers and focusing on his voluntarism as policy guidance. Any remnant of AMLO as a pragmatic and negotiating character from his days as Mayor of Mexico City has been left in the past.

 

The result has been a disaster in various areas: public service and administration was dismantled due to unnecessary austerity measures, the policy management of COVID-19 has been disastrous and the economy only will recover to the levels of 2018 until 2024. Even his populist measures such as the sale of the presidential plane have not been effective, hidden under a smoke screen of a raffle that was not a raffle. An alternative reality has been constructed by the government through the president’s daily morning messages and frequent State of the Union format reports, regardless of evidence that his policies are not working or scientific evidence to the contrary in cases such as the COVID-19 policy response.

 

The effects are visible: in the year up to October, federal budget revenues fell 4.9%. Public spending has not been executed, in the same period, for the equivalent of 1.6% of Mexico’s GDP. In health, we are the fourth country with the most deaths from COVID, with the highest fatality rate per thousand inhabitants and a his austerity measures have dismantled the public health sector and the public administration, to the point where there are no vaccines, cancer treatment medicines or even toilet paper available. The public administration and the morale of officials is destroyed by austerity. Public safety is also another area where his policy response is highly ineffective, relying almost exclusively in using the Army as a go-to force for public safety.

The first third of the government has passed, a period where a strong foundation for the rest of his six-year term should have been laid, and more importantly, for a better future. However, his government has been riddled with contradictions and null planning. The only will that counts is the President’s. The future looks bleak, especially since ideas, expert opinions or criticism is wholly ignored.

 

What this government does not seem to understand is that we all, friend or political foe, want the best for our country. However, polarization is undermining Mexico’s already fragile social integration. Solutions of complex issues through government improvisation, mismanagement of the economy and militarized security are not the answer. In the end, for a country, opinion polls or popularity is not the important issue but rather the effectiveness of the government. The future depends on it.

 

This column was originally published in Excelsior on December 2, 2020 in Spanish. Some additions have been made for this blog. 

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