Above Photo: From Resumen-english.org
The far right is planning a soft coup or silent coup against Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), according to an investigation carried out by the alternative videocollective Canal 6 de Julio.
The scenario would first be to delegitimize the AMLO and then oust him by means of campaigns and messages in media outlets and through social media; by organizing opposition groups and protests; provoking authorities; spreading fake news and rumors; among other maneuvers, similar to the situations that happened recently in other Latin American countries such as Honduras, Argentina and Brazil.
This all may sound like a conspiracy theory but there is nothing secret about it. The whole destabilizing method can be openly checked out on the Internet, stated Canal 6 de Juliodirector, Carlos Mendoza Aupetit, during an interview.
The information shows up when the term soft coup is searched on the web of Gene Sharp, a U.S. political scientist. According to him, coup d’états by force and weapons are obsolete and the battle today is through psychological, social, economic and political weapons.
In his essay From Dictatorship to Democracy, Sharp sets out a five-step recipe to topple presidents. There is a stage of softening first, in which the media tries to create unrest and social despair; then delegitimizing opponents and spreading commentary adverse to the government, taunts, and fake news followed by the stage of heating up the streets by fostering constant protests.
The following ingredients are the combination of all means of struggle: spreading rumors, creating false scarcity; accusing the government of incompetency, and bringing unfair lawsuits against government officials. The last stage is institutional rupture through which, according to Sharp, lawsuits succeed, the media gives its support and the governments fall.
It seems likely a soft coup is under way in Mexico, or that the way is being paved for it, said Mendoza Aupetit, who is about to launch a documentary to warn about what would be going on in the country.
If a coup like this is under way, in which stage is it?
If we follow Sharp’s methodology, I think the first or second. They have tried to destabilize Lopez Obrador’s government since day one. Let’s remember the messages issued by PAN (National Action Party) the day he took office saying “You made a mistake by voting Lopez Obrador.”
“We will not allow him to continue his authoritarianism. He is a dictator,” says Alejandra Moran in a documentary that reported about a demonstration last May. She leads Chalecos Mexico (Mexico Vests), an organization that has convened three demonstrations against AMLO since December 2. Mendoza Aupetit reported that Moran, who introduces herself as an ally of the French Yellow Vests movement, but in reality she is a member of the Somos Mas organization.
This organization is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which proposes and fosters soft coups in Latin America. The USAID aids extremist and opposition groups in Venezuela and other countries in the region, as well as foundations and associations that claim to defend freedom. Other sponsors for these groups are the U.S. foundations and think tanks Red Atlas, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the CATO Institute, which in turn is funded by the second largest corporation in the United States, Koch Industries. They all have subsidiary branches in Mexico or sponsor organizations in this country.
One of those organizations is Students for Liberty, which recruits students in public universities and is trying to register a political party through one of its branches before the National Electoral Institute, Mendoza Aupetit explained. Its main executive is Alexander McCobin, also from CATO, and a main visible ally is Guatemalan lecturer Gloria Alvarez, co-author of the book El engaño populista (The Populist Deception) —a project backed by Enrique Krauze and Mario Vargas Llosa, also linked to the U.S. think tank.
The Canal 6 de Julio documentary shows connections between CATO and the so-called Operation Berlin, through which business groups funded a smear campaign against Lopez Obrador ahead of the presidential election and in which Krauze participated even though he rejects the accusation.
The documentary also refers to bot campaigns in the social media which sent out negative criticism against Lopez Obrador in certain high profile moments such as the cancelled Mexico City International Airport project; the death of the governor of the Mexican state of Puebla, Martha Erika Alonso, and her politician husband in a helicopter crash; or during the weeks when several cities in the country endured gasoline shortages.
The Coup against the Government
The Lopez Obrador Administration is described in the documentary as center left, not radical, whose anti-neoliberal commitment is still to be confirmed, as it is stated by analysts Enrique Pineda, Pasqualina Curcio, Gibran Ramirez Reyes, and Carlos Fazio.
“If it is not a radical government, why would there be a desire to oust him?” Mendoza Aupetit asks. But because we are talking about rightist groups and capitalism which will not tolerate any intervention in the market. They do not accept anyone who is outside the model. Not even the little things or nothing that Lopez Obrador may be doing is too much for them.
“The soft coup strategy has yielded results,” the documentary highlights. For instance, Manuel Zelaya was overthrown in Honduras with the support of Washington in 2009; Argentina’s opposition tried to use the death of an attorney to charge then president Cristina Fernandez in 2015; Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff was removed from office for allegedly violating a budget act in 2016; that same year, ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was jailed for corruption without having a shred of evidence about it.
Mendoza Aupetit warns that not every criticism against the Government can be understood as a soft coup plot. It is good to have criticism, even if it is harsh. The problem is when destabilizing efforts are disguised with criticism in order to overthrow a president through non-democratic means.
Source: La Jornada, translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau