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Lopez Obrador makes peace with local church leader

May 7, 2012

Campaigning in Guadalajara last week, leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador met with Cardinal Jose Francisco Robles Ortega to repair his damaged relationship with the local Archdiocese.

Last year WikiLeaks published diplomatic cables revealing that Robles’ predecessor Juan Sandoval Iñiguez had approached the U.S. government in 2006 to aid the Vatican in preventing the election of Lopez Obrador.

This time around, the Tabasco politician, who represents the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), Labor Party (PT) and Citizen’s Movement, has no fear of the Catholic Church interfering in the upcoming election.

“They are not going to act in a partisan manner. He didn’t tell me that, but it’s very clear.  Besides, we’re talking about a cardinal with a lot of integrity, who I respect a lot,” said Lopez Obrador, after breakfasting with Robles.

Lopez Obrador is not believed to be a Catholic, although he has publicly denied being a Protestant and once described himself as a Roman Catholic in a television interview.

“I extend a hand to all brothers and sisters who hold other beliefs. I hope that we can establish a respectful, fraternal and constructive relationship,” said Robles, who became the new Archbishop of Guadalajara earlier this year.

In other news, Lopez Obrador recently promised to slash his own wages if he becomes the next president of the republic. President Felipe Calderon received an average wage of 198,000 pesos per month in 2011. Lopez Obrador vowed to halve this to 100,000 pesos.

In order to reduce the budget he would also cut the wages of anyone in government earning over 400,000 pesos per month. In Mexico, ministers of the Supreme Court’s Office, deputies, senators and secretaries of state can earn to 600,000 pesos monthly, double their counterparts in Brazil.

“This is not to scare anyone. I have to act responsibly, to tell people that to finance development there are only two options, or apply an austerity plan and combat corruption, or increasing taxes. And no, we will not raise taxes,” Lopez Obrador explained.

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