“Más vale malo conocido que bueno por conocer” (a known evil is better than an unknown good) is a common phrase in Mexico, and it tells a lot about the way we think as a collective. We do not like change, we do not like uncertainty. For example, it is used when you hire someone who is not perfect for a job, but at least she is honest. Or someone who is always late with delivery, but at least she is good. People would rather deal with mediocre than take the chance of getting something worse. This state of mind also translates into personal decisions and relationships: many will stay with someone in a not-so-great relationship instead of facing the uncertainty of being single (because, at least he/she doesn’t cheat). The same can be said for our political decisions. For years we have maintained corrupt governors and parties because it is always better to be sure of something bad then to be uncertain of something good.
|Casas Grandes Municipality, Mexico – Portrait – Daniel Apodaca|
Only three parties have occupied the presidency in México’s modern history. The first one stayed in power for over seventy years. Everybody knew about the corruption and the rigged elections but, still, most voters elected them over and over again for fear of losing whatever few benefits they had. In 2000 the country voted for Vicente Fox, the first president that did not belong to the official party. Change and hope where in the air, we thought things would be radically different, better. Long story short, corruption did not go away, it only got a brand-new face. We were left with more violence and insecurity than ever, and a war on drugs that has left thousands dead or missing. In the end, Fox’s party only managed to stay in power for two periods. Just twelve years later, the country voted the old party back into power. The familiar corruption and politics seemed to be better than the promised change. Now, we are again faced with the uncertainty of a new way of governing the country.
|Mexico City, Mexico – Hot – Marisol Rios Campuzano|
On July 2, 2018 the opposition candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, won the presidency with an overwhelming majority. He was sworn in on December 1, and Mexico heads into unknown territory; but it seems that, finally, nothing could be worse than the known evil. Years of corrupt governments have left us with thousands of victims, millions of pesos missing from public funds, unsolved cases and acquitted criminals. Now, Mexico is finally ready to take a chance on a new government, one that was eighteen years in the making. Over time, Lopez Obrador transformed himself into a messianic figure, promising one last hope for transformation, preaching that an honest president is enough to put an end to corruption (and pretty much fix every other problem). Three times he was a presidential candidate, twice the uncertainty that he represents lost. Fear of change and rumors that the economy would collapse, and we would (literally) suffer the same fate as Venezuela were enough to keep him out of the presidency. Until now.
|Orizaba, Mexico – A puff – Eduardo Kowska|
Still, there are those who remain skeptical. There is doubt about just how much can really be accomplished, and fear of setbacks in what little progress has been made in some areas. Part of the campaign against him was calling him “un peligro para México” (dangerous for Mexico), referring to the radical changes he proposed. The main problem he is faced with as he assumes power, is insecurity. Drug cartels are worse than ever, everyday there is news of bodies being found everywhere: illegal burial sites with hundreds of corpses, trailers full of unclaimed deceased that nobody knows what to do with, morgues and forensic teams are insufficient. Crime in the cities and on the roads has also risen: robberies, kidnappings, assaults and car thefts happen every day. As a society, we seem to have become more violent toward one another. Many people elected Obrador hoping that he can make it safe to travel the country or, simply, to go out at night again. He claims that he can reduce crime radically by being honest and fighting corruption, which is, probably, the most deeply rooted problem in Mexico.
|Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – In centro – Bentfotos|
Whether he will be able to reduce corruption is uncertain, and there are some early signs that it might not be as easy as he claims. There is hope, but there is also fear, because he has been surrounding himself with well-known politicians from the old official party, people that have been linked to corrupt practices and abuse of power. When asked about it, he answered that he has forgiven the past and that those people have been redeemed by joining his movement. Obrador himself has raised questions about how he funded eighteen years of campaigning all over the country. He also started his political career in the official party (PRI), and later became a member of the opposition (PRD). He founded his own party when the PRD refused to back him for a third time in his run for the presidency. Now he has absolute power in his party, with his own rules. He came to power as the unchallenged candidate and he has been accused of making all the decisions by himself. Some analysts have compared him to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez as a dictator in the making, which is in no way reassuring.
|San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – Waiting – Jezael Melgoza|
A dictatorship is not the only threat that Obrador poses, both national and international economic analysts and business owners are nervous about his plans regarding major reforms that where approved by the present administration. One of the major reforms was in education, with the main goal being to evaluate teachers and unify content across the country. As soon as Obrador won the election, he said he would reverse that reform and stop teacher examinations. For now, the future of education in Mexico is uncertain, as there is no new plan to replace the one he is going to reject. This might be one of the main concerns internally, but internationally the main concern is that Obrador threatens to invalidate the reforms made in the energy sector. After many decades, the oil and gas industry in Mexico was opened to private investors, both national and international. Contracts and promises have been made, investments have already started, but nobody is sure if things are going to change. It is hard to be sure about anything because Obrador seems to change his mind often, going back and forth on many issues. Campaign promises have been broken even before he has taken office, and his main goals now seem unclear.
|Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico – A break – Bernardo Ramonfaur|
We are now facing uncertain times, with an uncertain leader. There are questions about just how much he can change in six years. There are rumors of him making deals with the current ruling party. Many people see him as the last hope of returning peace and security to the country; others see him as a threat to the status quo. The truth is that Mexico lives in a very complex, violent and ancient social inequity which will not be easy to overcome. But who knows? Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador might just be the unknown good we have been hoping for.
Photo 1: Garcia, Mexico – Silhouette – Eduardo Balderas (Unsplash)
Photo 2: Casas Grandes Municipality, Mexico – Portrait – Daniel Apodaca (Unsplash)
Photo 3: Mexico City, Mexico – Hot – Marisol Rios Campuzano (Shutterstock)
Photo 4: Orizaba, Mexico – A puff – Eduardo Kowska (Unsplash)
Photo 5: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – In centro – Bentfotos (Shutterstock)
Photo 6: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – Waiting – Jezael Melgoza (Unsplash)
Photo 7: Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico – A break – Bernardo Ramonfaur (Unsplash)
Photos from private contributions, unsplash, Shutterstock and Bigstock
Cinemblem: Perypatetik youtube channel
The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed
Alencar, Joana. Uncertainty – Our Spirit – Brazil. November 2018.
Awdejuk, Pawel. Niepewność – The Road to Freedom – Poland. July 2018.
Bell, Sarah. The Bushfire Drive – Australia. July 2018.
Bondarenko, Evgeny. Twenty Plus Years. August 2018.
Cajoto, Christina. The Trajectory of Life – España. August 2018.
Castañeda, Martha Corzo. Worried Workers – Peru. February 2018.
Cooleridge, Tweeney. Uncertainty in the Abstract – Slovakia. March 2018.
Cordido, Veronica. The Crib of Uncertainty – Venezuela. January 2018.
Dastan, S.A. Uncertain Waters – Turkey. March 2019.
Deiana, Sara. The Dark Side of Perfection. September 2018.
Electra P. Aβεβαιότητα: The Enemy of Romantic Relationships – Greece. February 2018
Escandell, Andrea da Silva. Compromise – Uruguay. March 2018
Fischer, Kristin. Talking about Cancer – Germany. September 2018.
Gómez, Javier. Uncharted Bliss. October 2018
Goumiri, Abdennour. Uncertainty Is All There Is – France. February 2018.
Guerrero, Marilin. Crossing the Uncertain Path of Life – Cuba. February 2018.
Guillot, Iuliana. Preparing for Change – Romania. June 2018.
Huihao, Mu. Going the Uncertain Way. July 2017.
Julber, Lillian. What Will Tomorrow Bring? – Chile. July 2018.
Kanunova, Nigina. Metamporphoses in Modern Life. June 2018.
Kingsley, Anastasia. Expect the Unexpected. November 2018.
Konbaz, Rahaf. So You Say You Want A Revolution – Syria. March 2018.
Korneeva, Kate. One We – Russia. April 2018.
Krnceska, Sofija. No Name Country – Macedonia. May 2018.
Lassa, Verónica. The Old Eastern Books of Uncertainty – Argentina. May 2018.
Lozano, Gabriela. El cuchillo de la incertidumbre : Piercing Uncertainty – México. January 2018.
Marti, Sol. A Thought Falling – Spain and Germany. December 2018.
Pang, Lian. Now or Later? October 2018.
Phelps, Jade. Healing Journey Pulls Us Apart – America. June 2018.
Protić, Aleksandar. Environmental Uncertainty. August 2018.
Romano, Mavi. An Uncertain Democracy – Spain. April 2018
Ranaldo, Mary. Incerto or Flexible: Italia and UK. March 2018.
Ray, Sanjay Kumar. Once upon a Time in a Queue – India. November 2018.
Çakır, Peren. Building a Future in Times of Uncertainty – Argentina and Turkey. May 2018.
Sanmartín, Virginia. Qué Será, Será – Spain. June 2018.
Samir, Ahmed. Uncertainty in Personal Life. January 2018.
Sekulić, Jelena. Nesigurnost of the Past, Present and Future – Serbia. June 2018.
Sem, Sebastião. Vagrant Poets. September 2018.
Sepi, Andreea. Uncertainties Galore – Germany. April 2018.
Sevunts, Nane. From Uncertainty to Newness. November 2018.
Sitorus, Rina. When Uncertainty Reaches the Land of Certainty – Indonesia and the Netherlands. May 2018.
Trojnar, Kamila. Ephemeral. October 2018.
Quintero, Jonay. The Fear of Not Knowing – España. January 2018.
Uberti, Alejandra Baccino. Adventure – Uruguay. September 2018.
Vuka. Lacking Uncertainty in Political Culture – Serbia. April 2018.
Wallis, Toni. Living for Today – South Africa. October 2018.
Younes, Ghadir. Economic Uncertainty in Life – Lebanon. Part 38.
Zakharova, Anastasiya. LGBQT – Russia. August 2018.
Translators and writers from Jordan, Bosnia, Armenia and then on to the Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes…
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed