Things That Matter

Mexican President’s Proposed Budget Prioritizes Baseball Over Support For Women

According to Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s latest budget proposal, supporting baseball – AMLO’s favorite sport – is more than twice as important as supporting women’s rights. The presdident’s latest propsoal for federal government spending actually allocates more money to upgrade baseball stadiums across the country than it does towards programs that help support women.

Mexico’s AMLO has long been accused of not doing enough to support women’s rights in the country, especially as violence against women (and femicides) reach record levels and tens of thousands of women take to the streets protesting for a safe and secure future.

AMLO’s latest budget for government spending gives more money to baseball than women’s rights.

If the president’s latet budget proposal is any indication, supporting baseball is more important to AMLO than supporting women’s rights. His budget for federal spending allocates nearly $90 million USD to upgrade baseball stadiums in Cancún, Campeche, and Villahermosa, the purchase of two baseball stadiums in Sonora and the establishment of seven baseball, boxing and athletics schools in different locations around the country.

Meanwhile, his budget for the National Women’s Institute – which manages a range of programs for women in addition to overseeing the implementation of federal policies aimed at achieving gender equality and eliminating discrimination against women – is just under $42 million USD.

López Obrador, who occasionally seeks to relieve the pressure of managing the nation’s affairs by retreating to a ballpark for some batting practice, has previously defended the government’s spending on his favorite pastime. If the president focused more money and energy on supporting women, perhaps Mexico wouldn’t see ten women murdered every day (on average.)

The president’s record on women’s rights is already under intense scrutiny.

In Mexico, feminist activism has become the country’s most powerful opposition voice against the popular president, a leftist who swept into office in 2018 promising to rid the country of its entrenched corruption and lead a social transformation. And AMLO has taken notice, often being accused of brushing aside criticism from feminist activists as a smear campaign.

A statement published late last year that was endorsed by more than 650 academics, journalists, poets, scientists, artists, writers, filmmakers and other intellectuals even charged that López Obrador has shown contempt for women’s protests and the pain that victims of gender-based violence endure.

But it’s not just women’s rights programs that are at stake under AMLO’s latest budget.

AMLO’s so-called ‘baseball budget’ is also outsized compared to federal funding for several other important government agencies, including the federal government’s Executive Commission for Attention to Victims and the National Commission for the Continued Betterment of Education, which are set to get just $42 million USD and $29 million USD respectively.

With the president’s financial priorities seemingly focused on propping up his favorite sport, many are wondering what is next for Mexico’s growing feminist movement and how it may help shape federal spending in the future.

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