HOUSTON - Mexico has a new president-elect. He’s one experts predict will likely clash with his American counterpart.
But many hope a new administration will also bring needed change south of the border.
“We just want him to come back,” said Isba Morales.
Morales’s brother, David Garcia, disappeared during a business trip in Mexico more than a year ago. The family hung a banner outside the Mexican consulate in Houston and also met with officials there.
“We’re just asking for answers,” Morales said.
That’s something they also plan to demand from President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, or “AMLO’s” administration. He rode a wave of discontent to overwhelming victory this past weekend.
“Ending corruption and ending violence is easier said than done,” said Mark Jones, Latin American studies professor with Rice University’s Baker Institute of Public Policy. “AMLO, at the margins, can make it a little better. But we shouldn’t be expecting any dramatic changes because there are just too many factors at play.”
What Jones does expect is increased discord with President Donald Trump. He said Trump and AMLO share some populist appeal.
But it’s left-wing rather than far-right.
“They both are very media-savvy, they’re both very self-confident, and they both don’t back down from a fight,” Jones said.
One potential fight may be over Trump’s border wall. Jones said AMLO considers it an affront to Mexican dignity and sovereignty.
“AMLO is likely to be far more aggressive and far more impactful,” Jones said.
David Garcia’s family prays for an impact on their struggle.
“He’s got children and he’s got a wife,” Morales said.
We also asked professor Jones about what AMLO could mean for the energy business. He’s not expected to be as open to foreign investors, including those from Houston.
“Energy investors who are looking forward to investing in Mexico are now probably going to think twice about it,” Jones said. “The opportunity will still be there, and AMLO will allow for it, but the conditions won’t be as favorable as they might have been under another presidential candidate.”