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In his already famous and commented book The House of Contradiction (Taurus), Jesús Silva-Herzog Márquez argues that AMLO has caused an unusual phenomenon. He has entered the privacy of the house. His defense or attack divides families and friendships. However, the phenomenon does not stop there. It also divides and threatens something else.

For months we had worked with some frequency with a plumber and electrician here in Puerto Escondido. The activities of my wife and mine in the house required it. We used to talk, laugh because he abounded in sayings and a sense of humor, with a frankly remarkable intelligence. His professionalism and seriousness made us trust him and many times we turned to him. It should be clarified that he was always paid on time and what he charged without saying a word, because the quality of his work supported the price.

One day, however, he came to the house while I was giving a commentary on the radio in Mexico City. In the call, the issue was controversial and as often happens to me, I did not agree with the president’s decision and not only that, I accused him of acting against the law and against those who want to protect: the poor of Mexico. I no longer remember which of all the decisions that the president has made, there are so many with these characteristics that I tend to forget. When I said goodbye and hung up the phone, our worker friend asked me: Hey Don Miguel, were you talking about my president López Obrador? I told him yes, that I often disagreed with him. From that moment on, every call we made to him began to answer things that seemed strange to us at first: his wife had been sick for two weeks. Then I’m doing a job several miles from here. Finally, he stopped answering the phone and it’s been 3 months and we haven’t heard from him again.

Being this a municipality of uses and customs, the neighbors often get together and make tequio or we dedicate ourselves to a particular work. With several tourist service providers, we organized ourselves to fix the tourist walkway and an entire street. Here, surfers prefer the fairways to be unpaved so they can go barefoot, so the packed sand fairways often require maintenance.

We did and the experience was uplifting. About a kilometer and a half was fixed and put into service. In a subsequent talk, we talked about the things that the municipality is or is not doing and in use of my freedom of expression, I mentioned the president in a critical sense. Just a comment that seemed to me without apparent relevance. From then on, those with whom I shared common tasks and shared goals asked me not to help anymore. The municipal authority, likewise, does not accept meetings if I am present and denied my right to a hearing and resolution of petitions. I invariably have to go to a third party to deal with my affairs.

Although Silva-Herzog is quite right in his texts, he has fallen short in at least one sense. Yes, AMLO has gotten into the intimacy of the house, but for practical purposes he has turned us, his critics, into outcasts or political excommunicates, even from the rights enshrined in the constitution. Nothing more, but nothing less either.

Miguel Gonzalez Compean

Lawyer, political scientist and economist

guest column

Essayist and interested in legal and justice issues. currently professor at the Faculty of Law of the UNAM.

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