he inauguration, last Saturday, of Mexico’s new President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, was a remarkable occurrence in several ways. Not least was the fact that he is the only left-winger to come to power this year in a hemisphere swinging fulsomely to the right, in one country after another. As a case in point, in Brazil, the ultra-rightist former Army officer Jair Bolsonaro, who will assume office in January, has promised a “Brazil First” administration, and has been greeted effusively by John Bolton, Donald Trump’s national-security adviser, as “a like-minded” partner.
Not only is López Obrador, who is popularly known as amlo, not a camp follower of Team Trump; he is a veteran leftist nationalist who wrote a book last year titled “Oye, Trump,” (“Listen up, Trump”), in which he stands up for the rights of his country’s migrant workers in the United States. He is also Mexico’s ultimate Comeback Kid, having run in two previous Presidential elections, in 2006 and 2012, both of which he lost. He was narrowly defeated in the 2006 election, and he claimed fraud, refused to concede defeat, and donned a white-red-and-green Presidential sash of office in his own, parallel inaugural ceremony. He carried on protesting for months afterward in the Mexican capital, along with thousands of his loyalists, before giving up.