Mexico makes history with first female president, but the country needs a hero

Ana Sofia de la Parra • Jun 4, 2024

Mexico’s recently elected president, Claudia Sheinbaum (Claudia Sheinbaum/X).

 

Mexico has elected Claudia Sheinbaum as the first female president in the country’s history. The elections went underway on Sunday, Jun. 2, 2024, where around 58 per cent of the registered voting population turned out at the polls.

The country has been struck with division on social issues like high poverty rates, food and housing insecurity, inequality, and political agendas unrepresentative of the population’s needs and wishes. Mexico has also seen over 30,000 murders each year for five years straight. Despite this, the voters gathered to exercise their democratic rights, each hoping to make their country a better place with stronger guidance.

The election has faced attempts at interception with fake bomb threats by Morena fanatics and false police interventions, making just the tip of the iceberg this voting day. Mexican embassies around the world ran out of voting cards and there were Mexicans standing in lines for eight hours to vote.

The country finished off the day with an increase in violence. The election results weren’t as expected for many and everyone seems to have their own opinions about it. But it isn’t to say that the achievement Mexica has obtained isn’t to be celebrated.

A Feminist march in Querétaro, Mexico on Mar. 8, 2020 (WikiMedia Commons).

A country that is deep rotted in machismo, misogyny, sexism, homophobia and high rates of violence against women now has a woman as their leader, shattering unequal gender discourses and barriers that this country is socially and politically accustomed to.

It’s also not to say that Sheinbaum is doesn’t have what is necessary to lead, as she’s a scientist-turned-politician. But she is the protégé and successor of Lopez Obrador, the founder of Morena in 2011, who’s a deeply polarizing figure.

During Obrador’s six-year term there were numerous events that helped shape this image to the population, and Sheinbaum’s as well. According to the John Hopkins Coronavirus Centre, the COVID-19 pandemic reportedly left 333,199 dead in Mexico, as the country became one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus.

There were many deaths not represented in official numbers, a direct correlation to the mistreatment and implementations of sanitary restrictions. These were a direct order of Sheinbaum.

Many feminist groups have also highlighted a sense of polarization due to their mistreatment and lack of respect from Lopez Obrador’s sexist attitudes towards their protests and pleas for women’s rights.

What’s more, the Acapulco tragedy left thousands displaced without shelter, food and basic needs in a very poor area that benefits from tourism. The government promised to aid and push toward the rebuilding of this area, but to this day there’s still significant damages and people that still see the effects of this disaster in their day-to-day life.

Claudia Sheinbaum is making history. But it would be a mistake to label her as a hero. Sheinbaum has ignored the pleas of women, gassing feminist marches, erasing names on lists of missing persons and worked hand-in-hand with Lopez Obrador to create the polarization and division of Mexico today.

There’s a lot that can be added to the list of decisions the Morena government has made that don’t correlate with Mexican values. But today, a country that has everything to become a great nation, rich in culture, history, and full of warm individuals is grieving the dream that died at the elections on Sunday.

On Oct. 1, 2024, Mexico will inaugurate their very first female president. So yes, by all means, celebrate Mexico on achieving this milestone but don’t make Claudia Sheinbaum out to be a hero.

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