Rania Khalek: Can you tell us about your journey into politics?
Well, first of all, my background is in physics. Then I studied energy engineering for my master’s and my PhD. My first political involvement came in high school at 15. I got involved in a student mobilization in solidarity with the many young people who didn’t have the possibility of getting into high school.
Later on, in 2000, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, then the chief of government of México City, invited me to be the city’s minister of environment. In 2006, with the electoral fraud committed against his presidential bid, I stood with him in all the movements that finally led to Morena’s creation.
Zoe Alexandra: The PRI and PAN maintained a stranglehold over Mexican politics after 1946. In 2018, Morena achieved a historic electoral victory. What did this mean?
Morena was created because people’s assemblies conducted all over the country decided that we needed a party. And now we have the presidency, 22 governors out of 32, the majority in the Congress, the majority in the Senate, and a lot of municipal governments.
Why? People want change, a change from the neoliberalism that used to be México’s economic model to a government that thinks about the majority of the Mexican people and not the privileged few.
Alexandra: Femicide remains a big issue. Can you talk about initiatives you’ve taken in México City?
With domestic violence, we’ve usually taken the women who’ve suffered that violence and their children out of their homes and into a shelter. But I asked myself why do we have to take women out and hide then? So now we have a law here in México City that says it’s the aggressor who must leave the house and face legal consequences. The woman has the right to stay at home. We have, in addition, 27 centers that help women cope with the violence they’ve suffered.
We have also made 800 kilometers of “safe corridors” with a lot of lights and buttons to call for the police to come. We have a special 765 number for women in distress.