TORONTO – Former Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said in an interview with Efe that it was time to “change the ship’s course” because the policies implemented in Mexico over the past 20 years have failed, opening the way for the left to get a real shot at power in 2018.
Ebrard, who is in Toronto at the invitation of the Canadian Council for the Americas, or CCA, said he was “absolutely” willing to be the left’s candidate in Mexico’s 2018 presidential election.
“I am preparing myself so I can be one of the left’s options in the year 2018 on the basis of what we did in the government (of Mexico City),” Ebrard said.
A future leftist government in Mexico should follow the example of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, who sent a man to the moon, and set a “great national goal,” focusing on education, health care, tax reform, technological innovation or youth policy, the politician said.
Ebrard, who is the leader of one of the factions within the Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, and served as Mexico City’s mayor from 2006 to 2011, said he demonstrated the effectiveness of his policies in the capital.
“We already did it in Mexico City and we did it well. I honestly believe they were good administrations. Mexico City is very hard to govern because you have big citizen participation. I do not see why you couldn’t do it at the national level,” the politician said.
“In the country, in the past six, seven years, the violence rose about 45 percent. In Mexico City, the violence fell by the same proportion. It’s a very interesting thing. The country went up, the city went down. It means that if we used similar policies, we could expect the same results in other cities,” Ebrard said.
Mexico has to “change the ship’s course,” Ebrard said.
“Mexico’s big problem is that 20 years out from the North American Free Trade Agreement, although Mexican industry grew several times over, the average poverty (rate) in 1993 was 51 percent and today it’s 51 percent. For me, that’s the great failure of all the policies that have been implemented,” the politician said.
Ebrard said he saw a great opportunity for the left to win the presidency in 2018.
“In 2012, we finished in second place by a not very large percentage. In 2006, it was a very controversial election because the right beat us by 0.5 percent,” the politician said.
“If we prepare ourselves well for 2018, it is an alternative for the country. It will all depend on running a good candidate,” Ebrard said.
Ebrard, who is returning to Mexico on Wednesday, met with Liberal Party representatives, high-level Toronto city officials and former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson during his visit to Canada.