Mexico
The Mexican President's war on independent agencies and regulatory commissions: "The people don't see any benefits"
AMLO talked about eliminating the National Council to Prevent Discrimination. The opposition fears an attack on key institutions for democracy such as the National Electoral Institute.

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador does not give up on the idea that autonomous bodies should be downsized, and in that line, he even proposed the disappearance of the National Council for the Prevention of Discrimination (Conapred), an autonomous agency created by the government in 2003 to promote policy that seeks to prevent discrimination in all its forms. During his morning press conference on Thursday, the president said the existence of Conapred should be reviewed and debated. He strongly questioned the real scope of its objectives: to fight racism, classism, and discrimination in the country.

The statement comes after a heated controversy in social media about the council, which the president joined yesterday. This week Conapred announced a conference on racism to which Chumel Torres, a Mexican youtuber who comments on politics and has made racist remarks in the past, was invited. But it also happens in the context of the administration's austerity policy and its insistence on targeting autonomous agencies in general: for an alleged lack of results at the expense of high federal resources, according to the president.

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In the opposition, the fear is that the president will continue his attack on other agencies vital to democracy, such as the National Electoral Institute, the agency in charge of organizing elections in a country where electoral fraud has been a systematic problem. INE and its predecessor, IFE, have provided some certainty to the electoral process since its inception in the 1990s.

It is worth noting that yesterday it was announced that the leader of the senators of the president's party, Ricardo Monreal, rejected his proposal to merge the Energy Regulatory Commission, the Federal Telecommunications Institute, and the Federal Economic Competition Commission into a single regulatory body. However, President López Obrador insisted that a review must take place: "All these agencies must be reduced. Suppress them," he said.

The president said that "it would be convenient to make an adjustment in order to save and transfer those resources directly to the people" and criticized that these types of agencies and regulators "were distracting so that all this structure was created, a lot was said about the issues, but looting, theft and racism were allowed to happen". He added: " Every one of them consume budget, but the people don't get any benefits".

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Olga Sánchez Cordero, head of the Interior Secretary, and Mónica Maccise, president of Conapred.

That's when he returned to the controversy against Conapred, after saying a day earlier that he did not even know of the existence of this council until the controversy that involved Chumel Torres occurred. "I ask the people: did you know that this organism existed?" the president asked, insisting on the matter and defending his point about the lack of presence of this type of organisms.

A reporter asked him if he thought Conapred should be dissolved: "Yes, and the Secretary of the Interior, which handles human rights, should take charge. Of course, racism must be fought and discrimination has to be fought. But we should not create an agency for every demand for justice," the president replied.

Although, he later clarified that it was not the time to do so, and that it had to be submitted to analysis and debate. But he did not fail to point out that, despite this institution, racism, classism, and discrimination in Mexico are still notorious. 

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