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LibreOrganize 0.6.0 - Documentation

The Fourth Transformation Comes to México City

from the April 26, 2023 Bulletin

Rania Khalek of Breakthrough News and Zoe Alexandra of Peoples Dispatch have just sat down for an in-depth interview with Dr. Claudia Sheinbaum, the chief government executive in México City and the leading likely candidate to succeed Andrés Manuel López Obrador in México’s 2024 presidential election. We’ve excerpted this important interview below, with light edits for clarity and flow. 

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.

Women all face the same problems, but some women do suffer more. We made a survey of who faces more discrimination in México City. Color matters, most of all for the indigenous. We must take that into account.  

Women-only buses in Mexico City. Photo: UN Women/Juan Luis Cedeñoy

Khalek: As an environmental scientist, you worked with the UN Panel on Climate Change in 2007, and that panel won a Nobel Peace Prize. What initiatives in México City have you taken up to address climate change?

Among other initiatives, we’ve planted about 35 million trees and plants in the city, about ten trees a second!


We’ve invested in electromobility for public transportation. We have two cable car routes, the longest for public transport in the world. And we have 500 trolleys in the city, with dedicated elevated tracks.


Alexandra: The Fourth Transformation has been Morena’s guiding project. What has the 4T accomplished so far? How do you see this project continuing?

Since 2018, we can say that our Mexican economic model has changed from a corrupt neoliberalism that gave most of our natural resources to private companies to a new way of governance we call Mexican humanism. We believe that a state must give people the rights to education, health, a home, a pension for all our elders.

We also believe that the state has to be closely involved in strategic areas of the economy, especially electricity, oil, and now lithium. We believe in trade, we believe in private investment, but most of all we believe in the well-being of the Mexican people. You cannot measure success only by GDP or international investment. You have to measure gains for the people. And that’s the big difference we have with neoliberals who believe that the market can solve everything.

Khalek: Youre currently leading all major voter intention polls for the 2024 presidential election. What do you think has led to this support?

I think it’s that I’ve always been active in social movements. I’ve been close to President López Obrador since 2000. And people remember my work in the 2008 Adelitas movement against the privatization of the Mexican oil company Pemex. So they think that I can continue what President López Obrador has been doing.

Ronaldo Schmemidt/AFP

Alexandra: AMLOs term as president has one year left. Can you talk about what having Morena in power has meant for the people of México?

Morena has meant pensions for older people and universal scholarships for high school students who go to public schools. [Editor’s note: México has finally solved the problem Sheinbaum demonstrated against as a 15-year-old!]

We’re going to have a new train in the south of the country and another that goes from the Pacific to the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico. We’re going to have several new ports and a lot of investment in new roads. We already have a new airport. The people have new democratic rights. AMLO has also fought for a new way of seeing history, including for our ancient cultures.

That’s why President Lopez Obrador’s approval rating is running near 70 percent. Things are changing for the better in México. And we have to continue this transformation. We cannot go back to corruption and to governments that only did something for privileged people. We’re in a good place right now.