President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is a loyal man of his word, with his closest collaborators, including José Agustín Ortiz Pinchetti, Bernardo Bátiz and Rogelio Ramírez de la O.
Two decades ago, they held high positions in the government of the Federal District when the Tabasco politician was in charge of the megalopolis. The lawyers were members of the capital’s cabinet (one, a government secretary; the other, a solicitor), but the economist preferred to remain as an external advisor, to consolidate Ecanal, his successful economic analysis firm.
Ramírez de la O, a Redvers Opie disciple and a Cambridge Ph.D., had built a solid reputation as a critic of the neoliberal policies of the Mexican governments. His statements to The Economist, in June 1993, are still remembered, where he warned about the banking collapse that preceded Fobaproa. In 2001, he predicted the failure of the structural reforms proposed by Foxism.
Ramirez de la O and Armando López-Fernández, a Harvard public policy teacher, were on AMLO’s first advisory council in the GDF and later, in the 2006 presidential campaign. After the protests against electoral fraud, the politician Tabasco appointed an alternative cabinet and for the Treasury he wanted the highly respected Oxford-trained economist, who elegantly declined with valid reasons. For that position he recommended the Itamite Mario Di Constanzo, but that’s another story …
Ramírez de la O returned to advise López Obrador in 2018 and in the transition, he was again summoned to join the Fourth Transformation. This time, after consulting with his wife, he agreed to the request although he asked for a deadline to conclude previously contracted commitments.
Alfonso Romo and Carlos Urzúa took the baton of AMLO’s economic cabinet. Ramírez de la O assumed that an invitation to take him to the Bank of Mexico was simply discarded, since the eligibility requirements prevented him – by age – from presiding over the Governing Board of the autonomous body.
The health contingency forced to recalculate the route. While the cabinet was turning to hospital reconversion and the acquisition of medical supplies to care for those infected by Covid-19, a plan was prepared at the Office of the Presidency to address a looming crisis: that of the pension system. Ramírez de la O’s voice was listened attentively and then his incorporation into the government was resolved.
Arturo Herrera was then dispatched in the Treasury and for the relief in Banxico – Javier Guzmán Calafell would conclude his term in December 2020 – he promoted his undersecretary, Gabriel Yorio. And with the certainty that the current governor, Alejandro Díaz de León, would not be ratified, the economist from Oaxaca would seek that position in 2021.
More seriously than jokingly, the National Palace said then that the only certainty is that Arturo would be governor. “And if things happen, Santiago too,” they argued in reference to the former head of the FIU, originally from Querétaro. Both gained presidential confidence when they coordinated actions to dismantle the group that controlled the Autonomous University of Hidalgo and the Sosa political clan.
A paternal uncle —Fernando— was mayor. Yuri and Germán, brothers of Arturo Herrera Cabañas, a prominent cultural promoter who died a decade ago, are also personalities from that municipality of Valle del Mezquital. But the imprint of the parents of the former Secretary of the Treasury is deep in the university environment.
Herrera Gutiérrez is not going to Banxico and could well start a political career in his home state. Morena has defined that at least three of the six gubernatorial candidacies that will be defined in 2022 will be for women and the consensus among the leadership is that they be nominated in Aguascalientes, Oaxaca and Quintana Roo.
The former Secretary of the Treasury could join the sextet that will be in Morena’s poll to define the candidate for governor of Hidalgo. The partisan national council endorsed the nominations of María Merced González, Lissete Marcelino Tovar, Abraham Mendoza Zenteno and Francisco Xavier Berganza, and left open the possibility for the CEN to add two other prospects to the next phase of the nomination process.
Journalist and columnist for El Economista, author of Doña Perpetua: the power and opulence of Elba Esther Gordillo. Elba Esther Gordillo against the SEP.