MEXICO CITY (AP) – The government of Mexico presented on Thursday an “ethical guide” that it will distribute among the population and with which it hopes to promote values that allow the country to transform.
The document, which aroused criticism when released, was prepared by working groups in which academics and churches participated, includes concepts that range from respect for differences, equality, justice or respect for the environment, to others that tend to generate more controversy such as forgiveness, pleasure or family.
When he came to power in December 2018, Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that he would promote a “moral constitution”, but in the end it was decided that it would only be an “ethical guide for transformation” with guidelines that will be voluntary.
“It is not a law, it is not a legal norm of any kind,” said Jesús Ramírez, spokesman for the president and in charge of presenting the text. “It is a document for debate, for discussion, for reflection and, therefore, the incorporation of the values and principles that are set forth there is absolutely voluntary.”
Since López Obrador assumed the Presidency, he opted to educate in values to reach a “loving republic” because part of the country’s problems were due, in his opinion, to the moral decomposition that prevailed during the neoliberal period. But the proposal for a “moral constitution” generated criticism from various sectors who branded the president as being very morally conservative and behaving as if he were a messiah.
The president acknowledged on Thursday that “there was a whole debate” on his proposal and implied that that is why the idea of the “constitution” -which implies mandatory- was modified to bet on a voluntary “guide” that would not provoke confrontation.
The document, which will be distributed to the elderly for them to disseminate, has phrases for all tastes and ideas that seem contradictory.
On the one hand, it asks “victims of mistreatment, aggression, abuse or violence” to forgive the aggressors and defends that “criminals and corrupt people can redeem themselves through reflection, education and even psychological therapy”, but also indicates that jail sentences cannot be waived “for the safety of society and for the sake of justice” and is committed to fighting authoritarianism and meaningless or unjust laws.
At some points it reminds of Catholic catechisms, such as when it advocates “not to lie, not to steal, not to betray”, but it also defends secularism, joy “both in its spiritual and bodily expressions” and the family as a diverse nucleus made up of people of different or the same sex.
And although he is committed to “taking care” of life, he avoids any allusion that may link that principle to the eternal abortion debate.
On the economic issue, it says that it is “lawful to own and increase assets” as long as it is done with respect to the laws but emphasizes that wealth must be distributed and that entrepreneurs must be “responsible” and have “social conscience.”
For the political scientist Fernanda Vidal Correa, researcher at the Universidad Panamericana and member of the Network of Political Scientists “Not without women”, the guide “is not illegal but it is atypical and unwise, some will even say that it is propagandistic”, since the usual thing is that there may be codes of conduct for certain public servants, but not for society in general.
In his opinion, that society is debating is positive but “trying to generate values from the executive branch does not seem right to me” because the role of governments is “to guarantee the full exercise of rights”.
In the networks, the main criticisms were among those who denounced that close to the president they do not follow those principles or those who defended that the only ethical guide for Mexicans should be the Constitution.
For example, former President Felipe Calderón ironized on Twitter that “for the moral primer of the six-year term, the“ Bible ”of Pío López Obrador is more accurate, which records the inflows of illegal money that went to give his brother @ lopezobrador— when They present us that “Bible” in a morning?
On the street there were people who supported him, such as Plácida Morelos, a 40-year-old cleaning worker who lives in a suburb of the capital. “I do not understand politics but it is good to talk about values to young people because they have lost respect for everything,” he said.
The government said that ten million guides will be printed to distribute, in the first place, among the elderly so that, whoever wishes, can be in charge of explaining those values among their own.