Mexico’s AMLO proposes global anti-poverty plan in UN speech

Plan would help 750 million people who live on less than $2 a day have ‘dignified’ lives, Mexican president says.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is on his second international trip since taking office in 2018 [Carlo Allegri/Reuters]

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has pitched a global plan that seeks to uplift about 750 million people who live on less than $2 a day, telling the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) the effort would be financed largely by wealthy people and corporations.

In a speech at a UNSC session on Tuesday in New York City, Lopez Obrador said the plan could give the world’s poor “a dignified life” thanks to voluntary contributions from the richest individuals, corporations and countries.

The left-wing president is on his second foreign trip since taking office three years ago, and was presiding over the council, where Mexico is serving a two-year term and holds the presidency this month.

“Never in the history of this organisation has something substantial been really done for the benefit of the poor, but it is never too late to do justice,” Lopez Obrador said during his address. “Today is the time to act against marginalisation, addressing the causes and not only the consequences.”

Lopez Obrador’s proposed programme would be funded by an annual 4 percent contribution from the fortunes of the 1,000 richest people and corporations, plus a donation from G20 countries equivalent to 0.2 percent of their economies.

The Mexican president said his plan aims to give the world’s poor ‘a dignified life’ [Carlo Allegri/Reuters]

His speech came as rising numbers of migrants and asylum seekers from Central America and the Caribbean – struggling with poverty, unemployment, gang violence and other crises – have moved through Mexico in hopes of reaching the United States.

A caravan of a few thousand migrants set off from southern Mexico last month and is currently heading to the US border, where a 20-year high in the number of migrant arrivals has been recorded this year.

Mexico has dispatched its national guard to the country’s northern and southern borders to stem the flow of asylum seekers. It also blocked previous migrant caravans from approaching the US border.

Back at the UN, Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday that it would be “hypocritical” to ignore that the main problem facing the world today is corruption – an issue the Mexican president said has led to an increase in inequality, poverty, violence and migration.

He also pointed to the unequal distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally as an example of exclusion and inequality.

“The spirit of cooperation is losing ground to the desire for profit, and this is leading us to slide from civilisation into barbarity,” Lopez Obrador said. “We are moving forward, alienated, forgetting moral principles, and turning our backs on the pain of humanity.

“If we are not able to reverse these trends through specific actions, we will not be able to resolve any of the other problems affecting the peoples of the world,” he added.

Translation: President Lopez Obrador proposes the “World Plan for Fraternity and Welfare” with an investment of 1 billion dollars a year: 4% of the income of the richest people in the world; 4% of the revenues of the 1000 largest corporations and 0.2% of the GDP of each G20 country.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies