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CLARIN

Is This The Man To Clean Up Mexico?

Sunday's presidential election in Mexico is "a referendum between honesty and corruption," says leftist underdog candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

López Obrador at a rally in Yucatán (AMLO)
López Obrador at a rally in Yucatán (AMLO)
Pablo Biffi

MEXICO CITY – "This election is a referendum between honesty and corruption." That's how candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) sums up this Sunday's presidential election in Mexico. What's at stake is nothing less than the future of the nation, he believes.

López Obrador served as mayor of Mexico City between 2000 and 2005. A year later he lost the presidential election by barely half a percentage point to Felipe Calderón of the conservative National Action Party (PAN). He cried foul, claiming colossal fraud. For months he mobilized his forces and, in a symbolic ceremony, "assumed" leadership as Mexico's "legitimate president." In the end, however, he would have to wait six years for another run at Los Pinos, as Mexico's presidential residence is called.

Polls show him trailing Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). López Obrador is confident, nevertheless, that he'll win on Sunday. He spoke with Clarín on Monday.

CLARIN: Your campaign has centered around the fight against corruption. Is this Mexico's biggest problem?
LOPEZ OBRADOR: Yes, without a doubt. That's why we'll create an anti-corruption ministry. Citizen committees will be set up to oversee every government contract. When people talk about structural reform, they tend to forget that the first thing needed is to end the corruption that hinders growth. This election is a referendum between honesty and corruption.

Is it really reasonable to expect that an apparatus of this nature, one that survived for 70 years under the PRI and another 12 under PAN, could really be dismantled?
I stand by my record, which includes 30 years of social struggle. During all that time I was committed to three things: to not steal, to not betray and to not lie.

López Obrador seems convinced by his own words. And despite the fact that Mexico's image abroad is of a country awash with the violence of its drug wars – which have left more than 60,000 dead in the past six years – he insists that corruption remains the biggest challenge for this nation of 112 million people. "I won't back down. There won't be impunity for anyone," he says sternly.

Recent polls have Peña Nieto (43%) well in front, with a 12 to 15 percentage point lead over López Obrador. Nevertheless the PRD candidate strongly believes that he'll win. "The polls are rigged by the media to broadcast the idea that the elections are already decided," he said. "But we have other polls that show us two points ahead of Peña Nieto."

Will you accept the official outcome of the election?
I receive information from all over the country about how the PRI is buying votes. But a few things have changed. There's more clarity about the need for free and clean elections. We'll be following closely what happens in every voting center, with 450,000 people monitoring what takes place. So I'll accept what the people decide.

For López Obrador, who was briefly involved with the PRI at the beginning of his political career, Peña Nieto embodies corruption and despotism. Peña Nieto is described by some as the "political godson" of ex-President Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988-1994), considered by many to be the great demon of Mexican politics.

How would you tackle Mexico's violence problems?
My program focuses on creating jobs and improving education, as well as fighting against corruption and carrying out fiscal reform to provide more money to social programs that help keep young people from turning to crime.

A few weeks ago, posters began appearing in various cities showing López Obrador kissing Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez – a clear attempt to discredit the PRD candidate and sow fear among the population. "That's part of the dirty campaign they've run. A sign that they're afraid they'll lose," said López Obrador. "I don't know Chávez. In my whole life I've never even spoken with him on the phone."

Read the original story in Spanish.

Photo- AMLO

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Economy

In Uganda, Having A "Rolex" Is About Not Going Hungry

Experts fear the higher food prices resulting from the conflict in Ukraine could jeopardize the health of many Ugandans. Take a look at this ritzy-named simple dish.

Zziwa Fred, a street vendor who runs two fast-food businesses in central Uganda, rolls a freshly prepared chapati known as a Rolex.

Nakisanze Segawa

WAKISO — Godfrey Kizito takes a break from his busy shoe repair shop every day so he can enjoy his favorite snack, a vegetable and egg omelet rolled in a freshly prepared chapati known as a Rolex. But for the past few weeks, this daily ritual has given him neither the satisfaction nor the sustenance he is used to consuming. Kizito says this much-needed staple has shrunk in size.

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Most streets and markets in Uganda have at least one vendor firing up a hot plate ready to cook the Rolex, short for rolled eggs — which usually comes with tomatoes, cabbage and onion and is priced anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 Ugandan shillings (28 to 57 cents). Street vendor Farouk Kiyaga says many of his customers share Kizito’s disappointment over the dwindling size of Uganda’s most popular street food, but Kiyaga is struggling with the rising cost of wheat and cooking oil.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has halted exports out of the two countries, which account for about 26% of wheat exports globally and about 80% of the world’s exports of sunflower oil, pushing prices to an all-time high, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, a United Nations agency. Not only oil and wheat are affected. Prices of the most consumed foods worldwide, such as meat, grains and dairy products, hit their highest levels ever in March, making a nutritious meal even harder to buy for those who already struggle to feed themselves and their families. The U.N. organization warns the conflict could lead to as many as 13.1 million more people going hungry between 2022 and 2026.

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