Mexico's president calls out Alvin Bragg, saying his indictment is a scheme to keep Trump off the ballot

Whatever you think of Mexico's leftist president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, there's no disputing he knows every dirty trick in the third-world playbook, having been on the receiving end of at least some of it.

He's watching what's going on in the U.S. now, with Manhattan's "let-'em-all-out" district attorney, Alvin Bragg, seeking to indict President Trump on felony campaign finance charges, and smells the stench of "banana republic" all over it.

According to Newsweek:

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Tuesday defended Donald Trump, saying a potential indictment of the former president could be a move to prevent him from seeking reelection.

"Right now, former President Trump is declaring that they are going to arrest him," López Obrador, who is also known by his initials AMLO, said during a press conference. "If that were the would be so that his name doesn't appear on the ballot."

And it does have the stench of "banana republic" all over it.  A sudden epiphany of concern for rule of law, from a district attorney who let every crook out he could, is obviously about politics, not rule of law.  Keeping Trump off the ballot is the obvious aim here, and AMLO from abroad could see it from experience. 

AMLO also pointed out that the U.S., which blew up the Nordstream II pipeline, had no business lecturing others on rule of law.

The Biden administration's response to that was predictably mealy-mouthed.

That was wretched, given how little the Biden administration is doing to halt the fentanyl inundation with his open border. 

What's more, it follows from AMLO's earlier statements that fraud had tainted the last U.S. presidential election.  He experienced that himself in 2006, when he had been ahead in the polls, but ballot-counting in the dead of night suddenly stopped, went dark — and then resumed, with the other candidate in the lead.  Been there, done that.  AMLO was one of the very last world leaders to recognize Joe Biden as president, while the likes of even presumed allies, such as then–U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson and Israeli P.M. Bibi Netanyahu, fell all over themselves to quickly congratulate Joe Biden.

AMLO has a long memory, and said so himself

Newsweek's writer, who is also a Reforma correspondent in Mexico City, knows the backstory well, adding AMLO's explanation for his statement:

As for why AMLO might be supporting Trump ahead of a possible arrest, the Mexican leader alluded to criminal accusations he has faced himself. In 2022, a veteran Mexican politician and an investigative journalist said López Obrador and his government had links to organized crime, which the president has fervently denied.

López Obrador, who became president in 2018, has said election fraud caused him to lose his attempts to gain the office in 2006 and 2012.

"I say this because I too have suffered from the fabrication of a crime, when they didn't want me to run," López Obrador said Tuesday while discussing Trump. "And this is completely anti-democratic. ... Why not allow the people to decide?"

This is all entirely true.

Three thing stand out there.

First, that this kangaroo clown show indictment is being closely watched internationally, and the message being sent is that U.S. politics is starting to resemble the politics of a third-world country, where opponents are jailed on invented charges, quite contrary to what the law says, in a bid to keep an inconvenient opposition leader off the ballot.  We've seen it in Venezuela, in Russia, in Pakistan, and even in France; it goes on in any place where political standards are low and a ruling elite is more convinced of its divine right to rule than it is of representative democracy.

Second, AMLO's relations with Joe Biden must be abysmal.  U.S.-Mexico relations must be at some kind of unannounced low point for the Mexican president to make that kind of statement about the U.S. when similarly situated politicians — such as Brazil's President Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva and Israel's Binyamin Netanyahu — could say the same thing from experience as AMLO did, but didn't.  Lula also got railroaded on questionable charges as his first term ended, and then came back to win a second election, albeit apparently a fraud-tainted one.  Netanyahu's experience was similar.  But they haven't said anything.  AMLO did, laying out what was going on and what everyone abroad could see what was going on.  

Third, it signals that AMLO will always be there for Joe Biden whenever he or his Democrats engage in banana republic politics.  What could be more fun for someone in a shambling democracy that's been held up to scorn for years in the past, to hold up the U.S. as no better than they have been, and oftentimes, actually worse?  It's a way of saying "cut the crap" on American exceptionalism, and AMLO is glad to do that.

AMLO may not be the sort of person a Trump voter would vote for if he were running for office in the U.S.  He's basically the Bernie Sanders of Mexico.  But he should be lauded and respected for his independence and courage all the same, even if it's motivated a tad by resentment of the U.S.  There's no doubt he's right and speaking truth from experience.

The U.S. political scene is becoming Latinamericanized, as Eric Hoffer once put it.  Now it's getting bad out there, and those who have been there and done that abroad are noticing and, like a doleful Greek chorus, delivering their reproach.

Image: Screen shot from Andrés Manuel López Obrador via YouTube.

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