MEXICO CITY — In Mexico, the political environment has been discouraging for an opposition that has been unable to position an alternative to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), who has dominated public opinion since his first victory in 2018.
Yet things could be changing with the arrival of a disruptive leader who is rapidly changing the rules of the game by generating a wave of enthusiasm throughout Mexico, giving the opposition hope of winning the presidency in 2024. Her name is Xóchitl Gálvez.
After being criticized by the president at his morning press conference, Senator Gálvez requested the right of reply, and the president denied her. After obtaining a judicial order that would supposedly force the president to receive her, he refused to open the doors of the National Palace.
From that moment, Gálvez became a symbol of resistance, a leader of an opposition willing to fight the democratic battle to win the presidency in 2024 and remove AMLO and his party Morena from the presidency.
“Xóchitl Gálvez is intelligently handling the insults that come from the presidency. She smiles and responds with class, even humor. This has allowed her to expose the autocratic and disrespectful attitude that López Obrador has historically shown,” explained Alejandro Motta, a political analyst.
The life and story of Gálvez, an indigenous woman who was born and raised in a poor community and who was able to overcome a series of obstacles to become a successful engineer and businesswoman, is an example of self-improvement and social mobility that connects and excites millions of Mexicans from different backgrounds and regions.
Gálvez was the head of the office of indigenous people in the Vincente Fox administration, a position from which she helped many indigenous communities throughout the country. She was the delegation head of Miguel Hidalgo in Mexico City, ran for governor of the state of Hidalgo and is currently a senator. Her professional success as a businesswoman and as a public servant has fueled her to become the leader that today is seen as the best alternative to beat Morena in 2024.
In one of her first interviews with foreign media, Gálvez explained to Fox News Digital the opportunities she considers most relevant in the relationship between Mexico and the United States. In a disruptive way, she suggests a solution that the U.S. government might like because it would somehow help stop illegal immigration.
“There are two issues — immigration and nearshoring,” Gálvez said. “Both countries can turn immigration into an opportunity rather than a problem. Mexico is having labor problems in some regions. Obviously, immigrants who cross Mexico could have an interest in staying and Mexico could, in some specific regions, take advantage of that human capital offering them education and making sure they would not be mistreated or locked up.
“Mexican immigrants could also be seen in the United States as a great opportunity. I think we must approach the issue of immigration from a different perspective because all these people who emigrate are looking to work. They are not looking to go to crime, (in general).
“With the relocation of companies, nearshoring is a great opportunity for Mexico as it can generate much more labor. Nearshoring should not stay only in the north of the country; it could take place in the southeast of Mexico, where we must create more infrastructure and invest in human capital so that it is not just factories. Many companies that are coming from Asian countries are technology companies. Therefore, we must invest in a program for Mexican youth and women to study engineering and technical careers. Those, for me, are the two most important opportunities that Mexico has in the relationship with the United States.”
In an unprecedented alliance, the three opposition political parties — PAN, PRI and PRD — have joined with civil society to create the Frente Amplio por México, with the different leaders competing to become the opposition candidate. Gálvez is one of them and, according to polls, is the best positioned to be its candidate.
“Xóchitl Gálvez has become a real threat to López Obrador for several reasons: because she is a woman, because she has the potential to connect with popular sectors and because she undermines the credibility of the government’s discourse that says that the entire opposition is conservative and belongs to the economic elite,” Motta told Fox News Digital.
“López Obrador has become the best promoter of Xóchitl Gálvez. His constant attacks on the opposition have caused undecided segments and disenchanted opponents to consider that she may be different from the others.”
To encourage U.S. business leaders to see new investment and business opportunities in Mexico, Gálvez explains that there are six priorities that must be urgently addressed: “strengthening the rule of law and fostering a culture of legality, committing to clean energy, resolving the water problem, investing in human capital, building infrastructure and restoring peace.”
Referring to the Mexicans who immigrate to the U.S., Gálvez explained, “Many of my countrymen from my hometown are in the U.S. Many cousins have had to go looking for better opportunities. I did not migrate to the United States, but I did migrate to Mexico City.
“And I can put myself in their shoes with respect to what it is like to come to a city that discriminates against you or to a country that does not see you as an equal. All those who leave are entrepreneurs. This government (of Mexico) seems to hate those who aspire to a better life.”
As a personal aspiration, even a personal dream, Gálvez confesses that conditions should be created in Mexico for immigrants to return to their country.
“I would love to find investment mechanisms so that immigrants who want to return to Mexico can invest in businesses that allow them to return with a job or a well-formed business,” she said.
“Many want to return but do not find employment opportunities. So, we would have to create a mechanism for investment funds for them as immigrants so that they could become business partners. For example, in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, there is a lot of clean energy, and perhaps the indigenous people could have a wind generation project.
“Governments have lacked creativity. They must create the conditions for them to invest in Mexico and guarantee those investments that in the long run will allow them to have an income. That would be my dream, so they don’t have to work all their lives. I ask my cousins, why don’t you come back to live in Mexico? And they reply, ‘There is no job that pays me what I earn there (in the United States).’”
“The candidacy of Xóchitl for the Frente Amplio por México is not yet a certainty, but it has already changed the mood of the opposition by creating an expectation of electoral success that did not exist until now,” political communication consultant and partner at Zimat Consultores Andrea Castro told Fox News Digital.
“With Xóchitl, two factors are introduced into the electoral process: 1. The possibility of competition. Opinion polls show for the first time that citizens perceive the possibility of a contested election. 2. Uncertainty in the electoral process’s outcome, unlike the secure victory for Morena that was envisioned just a few months ago,” he said.
“If Xóchitl becomes the candidate, we will head towards a more vibrant process that encourages citizen participation and gives continuity to the recent public demonstrations in favor of the National Electoral Institute (INE) and the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN), which, although electorally irrelevant in numbers, did demonstrate the desire of a segment of the population to play an active role in defining Mexico’s political future,” Castro stated.
He concluded that, “Although Xóchitl is not yet competitive electorally, she is already a factor that could prevent Morena from having an absolute majority in Congress. Electoral competition, citizen participation and a plural Congress could be the result of Xóchitl’s appearance as an electoral figure, and all are good news for Mexican and North American democracy.”
Fox News’ Peter Petroff contributed to this report.