Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador marked his first year in office with a speech on 1 December. Anyone else in his shoes might be struggling at this point. Economic growth has evaporated. Drug cartel violence appears out of control. On the day of his speech there were 127 homicides across the country, the highest number registered so far this year, which has itself been exceptionally violent. Among them was a clash in Coahuila which left a toll of 23 dead. Yet López Obrador’s speech was unremittingly upbeat, and his approval ratings remain high, if declining.

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