Iberoamerican University of Puebla and University of Guadalajara
Since 2019 and 2020, various voices have expressed that the consequences of certain decisions by President López Obrador would have serious consequences in the short and medium term. Those consequences are already here. They are already visible and some of them have turned out even worse than anticipated. In this column I am going to reduce myself to just two decisions that have been devastating.
The first of these was the cancellation of the New Mexico City International Airport at the end of October 2018. Then it was commented that this decision was going to be extremely costly economically, since it had already been a third of its construction and they were all ready. the studies for its initiation, in addition to its implications for the confidence of both affected investors and others who may be interested in investing in Mexico. Today we see how the cost recognized by the Superior Audit of the Federation is more than 200 billion pesos, plus future financial costs and the cost of AIFA and its consequences. We also see today that the new investment in infrastructure has been reduced to the emblematic works of the president whose economic and social profitability is low or even negative. Private investment (domestic and foreign) has focused on importing machinery and equipment to expand the capacity of its plants, but not to build new development poles. The direct implication is slower growth in the economy.
Another serious government decision whose consequences we are suffering to this day is the poor management of the Covid-19 pandemic, against expert voices who pointed out from the beginning the shortcomings of the strategy adopted by President López Obrador. In terms of health, from the beginning it was announced that Hugo López-Gatell’s strategy was not well focused and that it would cause more deaths than the inevitable. Today we know that the excess deaths during the months of the pandemic is greater than 700,000 people, the highest rate per million inhabitants in the world. Another parallel decision also contributed to this: replacing Seguro Popular with Insabi. Despite warnings from specialists, the failed attempt to implement Insabi weakened the health system and two years later, 18 million Mexicans no longer had access to health. Something similar happened with the centralization of drug purchases in the Treasury Office of Raquel Buenrostro. The shortage of medicines has been enormous and, in addition to the health consequences, has caused people to spend 43 percent more on medicines and medical care than they did in 2018.
Other ramifications of the failed management of the pandemic were its effects on education, well-being and the economy. Canceling classes and keeping schools closed for a year and a half, unlike the experience in the rest of the world, has led to learning losses and school dropouts that already mark a permanent loss in the career path of millions of young people. This lousy decision widened the gaps between children with internet access and those who do not, or even between those who have access to TV and those who do not. Its consequences are already here, as 3.6 million children and young people dropped out of school in 2021.
Numerous academic and research institutions, employers, academics, and specialists asked President López Obrador to follow a policy that would offset the immediate effects of the pandemic through temporary vital income, partial payment of salaries in companies, and other worker support programs. and families in the informal market. The answer was a support of 0.5 percent of GDP, the lowest for Latin America and one of the lowest in the Western world. The consequence, which had been noticed since then and hence the vehemence with which the calls were made to the government to rectify, was a drop in GDP of more than 8.0 percent in 2020 and a very slow recovery from then on, to the extent that today Mexico is one of the few countries that has not achieved the level of production it had before the pandemic. In fact, Mexico will not recover its 2018 level of per capita product until 2025 or 2026. The consequences are loss of well-being and employment for millions of Mexicans, private indebtedness, and growing emigration from the country.
These are just two decisions by López Obrador that have had serious consequences for Mexicans. There are many more, but my intention is to show that we are already experiencing the consequences of decisions made, behind the backs of society and with deaf ears to the institutions and Mexicans. The future has already reached us.