On April 10, leading Mexican presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in front of 5,000 cheering farm movement leaders, endorsed their proposal for the radical regeneration of rural Mexico. With a lead of 20 points over his nearest rival in the July 1 election, the endorsement signals a dramatic challenge to trade and agricultural policies in Mexico and in the United States.
Speaking in Jerez, Zacatecas, López Obrador was clear that his goal as president would be to restore Mexico’s lost food sovereignty. “We will no longer buy overseas what we consume. We will produce in Mexico what we eat,” he told supporters.
López Obrador is running for the third time after two close losses in 2006 and 2012, leading the National Regeneration Movement ticket (MORENA, by its Spanish acronym), which he founded. Widely characterized as a center-left populist, López Obrador has seen his popularity soar with the anti-immigrant, xenophobic statements and actions of U.S. President Donald Trump. The U.S. demand to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with the claim that Mexicans have been the agreement’s big winners, only strengthened domestic support for the MORENA leader, who is a longtime NAFTA critic.