Less than a month ago, more than 500,000 people flooded Mexico City to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the nationalization of the oil industry by President Lázaro Cárdenas del Río in the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution.
AMLO addressed the crowd, promising to carry on Cárdenas’s legacy, specifically highlighting his decision to nationalize the country’s energy and mining sectors, including Mexico’s burgeoning lithium reserves in the Sonora desert.
“Mexico is an independent and free country, not a colony or a protectorate of the United States,” AMLO said in a forceful rebuke of American influence in the country’s economy. “Cooperation? Yes. Submission? No. Long live the oil expropriation.”
This type of populist rhetoric has been a major part of AMLO’s strategy throughout his presidency. Since his election in 2018, AMLO has sharply criticized foreign business interests in Mexico—specifically those of American companies, portraying its northern neighbor as a threat to Mexico’s economic sovereignty.