Mexico Swears In New President Mexico has sworn in a new president. He is a leftist, populist who promises to live modestly and tackle corruption.
NPR logo

Mexico Swears In New President

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/672675455/672675456" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Mexico Swears In New President

Mexico Swears In New President

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/672675455/672675456" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

And now to Mexico, which has a new president. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is promising to get rid of corrupt politicians and bring jobs and opportunities to millions. He took the oath of office yesterday during a day filled with raucous ceremonies, fiery speeches and street celebrations in his honor. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports from Mexico City.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MEXICO ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR: Que viva Mexico. Viva Mexico.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Donning the green, white and red presidential sash and chanting, long live Mexico, Lopez Obrador gave a nearly hour and a half speech to a packed crowd of legislators in the lower house of the Congress. Dignitaries from around the world, including U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and President Trump's daughter Ivanka, were also in the hall. Lopez Obrador said he was appreciative of the respectful treatment her father has shown to him since his election. He told the crowd that he will usher in a peaceful and orderly transformation of Mexico.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LOPEZ OBRADOR: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: "But at the same time, it will be a profound and radical change," said the veteran leftist politician. With the outgoing president Enrique Pena Nieto just two seats away on the same stage, Lopez Obrador went into a lengthy list of the ills of Mexico's past governments that he said spent more time robbing the riches of the country than governing.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LOPEZ OBRADOR: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: "Corruption became the principal function of those in power," he said. "The government will no longer be a committee at the service of a rapacious minority. The plan of our new government involves two basic things," said Lopez Obrador.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LOPEZ OBRADOR: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: "Put an end to the corruption and the impunity," he said to great applause. Critics call Lopez Obrador naive and his solution too simple to combat the multitude of problems he's inheriting, including Mexico's record-high murder rate and stagnant economy. He insists he can pay for all the social programs he's promised with the savings reaped by ending corruption. He's yet to provide many details about how he will fight the country's violent gangs and drug cartels, other than forming a National Guard.

He says he plans to fill its ranks with members of the military and the now-disbanded presidential security detail. The lack of bodyguards was apparent all day. Lopez Obrador traveled around the city in his simple Volkswagen sedan to several events, including an indigenous ceremony in Mexico City's grand Zocalo plaza. A handful of unarmed citizens provided protection. He also shunned the presidential residence, instead throwing the gates open to the public.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

KAHN: Multiple musical groups played for the huge crowds that poured into the palatial gardens of Los Pinos, as the residence is known. Thirty-nine-year-old schoolteacher Jose Juan Soto came from a neighboring state with his whole family.

JOSE JUAN SOTO: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: "Los Pinos was always for the elites. Now it's for us to enjoy," he says. For 72-year-old Maria Cristina Robellar, the occasion deserved her best dress.

MARIA CRISTINA ROBELLAR: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: "I just hope he delivers all that he has promised." And paraphrasing one of Lopez Obrador's favorite slogans, she added, "I know he won't let us down." Carrie Kahn, NPR News, Mexico City.

(SOUNDBITE OF SILVANA ESTRADA SONG, "LO SAGRADO")

Copyright © 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.