Mexico’s President-Elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gave a speech from Ciudad Juarez on August 7th, 2018 to launch the first of his 18 Forums for Peace. The focus of this forum was: Peace and Reconciliation in Mexico.
Below, are excerpts from Lopez Obrador’s speech, images from the forum, and a brief testimonial from a protestor.
Political Campaigning is Over-Now it’s Time to Work
“There is a thirst for justice here, in Ciudad Juarez. This is where I started my political campaign and this is where we are launching our first Forum for Peace. This is not a photo op, but an opportunity to collaborate.
Now that the political campaign is over, we have to focus on reconciliation and leave partisanship aside, because “party,” as the name implies, means part, not a whole. To lead Mexico today is to listen to everyone and to respect everyone. We are not going to take the country forward without the unity of all Mexicans. We will have to be respectful and tolerant. No sectarianism will heal Mexico.”
(Mother asks for justice after gross medical violations against women in Ciudad Juarez).
Forgiveness Not Retaliation-Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
“We must put our country first; this means that must all be willing to forgive. I said it in my campaign, and I repeat it. I agree with those who say that we should not forget, but I am in favor of forgiveness. I say, to forget, no; to forgive, yes.
That is why it is very important that we start this forum here, in Ciudad Juarez. We will debate without censorship, and listen to all sides to pacify our dear Mexico. We are facing complex, serious problems, including corruption, impunity, injustice, violence, and insecurity. Mexicans voted for real change; more than 30 million Mexicans voted for it. As promised, you will see a government for the people and with the people. Everyone will have to do their part.
“As part of our debates, we won’t censor ourselves. We are a free people. Everything that is best for Mexico will be carried out, and the changes we determine are best for Mexico, will not depend on what foreign governments think. If it’s good for Mexico, it’s going to be put into practice.”
Violence cannot be eradicated with more violence
“Social problems cannot be reformed with more violence, or a hard hand, or by building more jails or using force. I do not believe that evil must confront evil. I do not believe in an eye for an eye, or a tooth for a tooth. I do not believe in the law of the talion.
The practice of using violence to attack violence will only lead to our self-destruction. If we pursue and eye-for-an-eye to combat violence, we will all end up blind. I do not believe in that. You cannot put out the fire with fire. Evil must be confronted by doing good.
How did Mexico become so extremely violent? I believe it is because economic production was abandoned; our youth was abandoned under the previous neo-liberal models; they have only cared about looting and plundering the nation’s patrimony.
Mexico, in the last 30 years, has experienced one of the lowest economic growths in history, and if we do not grow, there is no employment, and if there is no employment, there is no peace or goods or tranquility.”
“From the first day of my government, we are going to change the political economy and Mexicans will have jobs. All young people will be guaranteed the right to study and the right to work. Previous administrations only set out to do a diagnostic of our social problems but failed to consider the actual steps to lead the transformation. We plan to carry out all the necessary actions to propel change. And there will be no corruption or impunity. It is unfortunate that there are thousands of missing persons in Mexico and that 80 Mexicans are killed in Mexico every day.
The jails are filled with young people. The people who lose their lives are Mexican youth; the uneducated are our youth. We have to solve this serious problem.”
“I will attend to the problem of violence, personally. I will listen to everyone. I will personally take charge of the problem of violence in our country.”
Every day at 6:00 a.m.
“I will meet with the security secretaries. I will receive a report of what happened in the previous 24 hours and we will make decisions accordingly. I will not pass this problem on to anyone. I will attend to it personally.
This level of coordination, of governors and lead security personnel meeting at 6:00 a.m. for daily updates and responses to them will be replicated throughout the territory.
Every day this issue will be addressed. This hurts a lot, this violence that affects us so much. I will continue to attend these forums for dialogue and for peace. I invite you to bring your proposals, solutions, points of view on how we can use forgiveness and positive action to stop this problem. It will take respect and a lot of tolerance.”
No Time To Wait
“By November, I will be looking for a concrete plan on the topic of violence eradication. I will not be a demagogue president. I am going to speak truthfully and follow through. What I am doing now is planning, assessing, holding forums, so that when our administration begins, we will be ready with a plan in place.
If I only dedicate myself to celebrating the victory we will lose the momentum. This is why I am already working.”
The Traveling President
I will always visit our Mexican towns.
I won’t sit still and lead from Mexico City alone.
I have been fighting for justice for many years and I have always walked a straight line, I have nothing to be ashamed of. I will not fail you. I’m going to fulfill the promises I made to Mexico. Mine will not be a presidency of simulations, and these forums, they are not just photo opportunities. We are here to dialogue and to take the steps to guarantee peace.
We will be constantly reporting. I’m going to start touring Mexico all over again soon.
I intend to be a traveling president.
Below is a video, in Spanish, of the complete Forum for peace: