Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has described coronavirus lockdowns as “dictatorship” during a recent press conference with reporters.
He described such lockdown measures as “fashionable among authorities … who want to show they are heavy handed, dictatorship”, according a report by the Associated Press.
He went on to claim that the advocates of such measures have “authoritarian instincts” and do not respect the freedom of the Mexican people.
“A lot of them are letting their authoritarian instincts show,” he stated. “The fundamental thing is to guarantee liberty.”
López Obrador has strongly resisted efforts to introduce lockdowns and curfews in Mexico, despite the popularity of such measures in other Latin American countries. However, just as in the United States and Brazil, many state and local officials have defied the President and introduced various restrictions at lower levels of government.
For example, the third most populous state in Mexico, Jalisco, currently governed by the opposition left-liberal Citizens’ Movement, has introduced a mask mandate in all public areas. Other states have gone further still, introducing stay-at-home orders and shutting non-essential businesses. Even states governed by conservative politicians, such as Puebla, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas, have adopted strict lockdown restrictions.
During the press conference, López Obrador also spoke out against mask mandates, expressing his belief that wearing a mask should be voluntary.
“Everyone is free,” López Obrador added. “Whoever wants to wear a face mask and feel safer is welcome to do so.”
The Mexican federal government under López Obrador has taken a skeptical attitude towards both the mass use of face masks and mass testing of the population for COVID-19.
Although a hard-leftist, López Obrador has been a prominent skeptic of excessive government power over the course of this pandemic. He also declined to congratulate Joe Biden for over 5 weeks after the November election, citing his own struggles with electoral fraud in the 2006 Mexican presidential election. That election was widely speculated to have been rigged in favor of López Obrador’s opponent, center-right candidate Felipe Calderón. López Obrador has compared his treatment by the media during that period to the treatment of President Trump over the last month.
The Globe and Mail reports:
Mr. Lopez Obrador, who is known as AMLO, questioned how media outlets could “censor” the U.S. President by cutting away from his untested claims of electoral fraud.
“In Mexico, we’re accustomed to how they used to censor us,” he said in a morning press conference on Nov. 9. “But in the case of the United States, what happened is something special.”
By contrast, the American left has denounced any suggestion of fraud in the 2020 U.S. elections, and has wholly embraced lockdown restrictions. Their dogged loyalty to the U.S. establishment has not been rewarded, with Biden downplaying prospects of far-left Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) being given a Cabinet post.