AMLO and the unexpected reason for the greatest happiness in Mexico

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Mexico is one of the countries with the highest rate of violence in the world: every day, for example, nine women are murdered.

There are more than 350,000 displaced people and last year it closed with the highest number of homicides in its history.

But at the same time, this year Mexicans feel happier than in the past.

At least, that reveals the 2019 World Happiness Report, prepared by the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Network.

Of the 156 countries where measurements are taken, Mexico ranks 23rd, one place above its registry in 2018.

End of recommendations.

One of the reasons, explains the document, was the presidential election won by Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) .

AMLO at the inauguration of his presidency.
Image captionOne of the reasons for the happiness of Mexicans is the result of the presidential election.

And it’s not because the country is suddenly happier thanks to the current president.

According to specialists, with the result of the elections many felt that some elements that annoyed the Mexicans were defeated.

The voters

Some of these factors were responsible that, between 2013 and 2017, the country will fall in its welfare standard.

There were scandals in cases of corruption, the increase in violence or the increase in the price of gasoline and diesel in January two years ago.

That affected the measurements of the World Report of Happiness and the result was shown in the presidential elections when López Obrador obtained more than 53% of the votes.

A man transporting himself on a scooter.
Image captionOne of the criteria to determine the happiness level of Mexicans is if they feel safe traveling through their neighborhoods.

According to the report, the previous government-headed by Enrique Peña Nieto-seemed to offer good results in economic evolution and employment.

They are two of the aspects measured by the experts of the Sustainable Development Network.

But in the measurement, they found that Mexicans perceived the authorities as “incapable” of resolving the growing problems of corruption and inequality.

When the elections were “as wanted by these voters” the expectation of an improvement in the country was awakened.

“It was an optimistic perception although we have not documented the results of the change,” Rosalinda Ballesteros, director of the Institute of Happiness Sciences at Tecmilenio University, told BBC.

In that does not have much to see the winner, he adds. “It is the perception of the change itself, regardless of the result.”

Customs

Beyond the electoral result, why do Mexicans feel happier, even though the violence in the country has not changed?

Women in a protest with a sign that says "No more dead".
Image captionEvery day, nine women are murdered in Mexico.

One answer is the way the UN and the foundations that collaborated in the report made the measurement, explains Ballesteros.

The report measures some welfare standards in all countries, such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita or income inequality in different social sectors.

They also take into account aspects such as the possibility of access to education, employment or health services, and also the rates of violence and insecurity.

In some of these sectors, the evaluation of Mexico is not very positive.

But the world report also includes other aspects that the specialist Ballesteros defines as “social support”, where the perception of Mexicans is very different.

Violence does not change the percepcipon of happiness for Mexicans
Image captionViolence does not change the percepcipon of happiness for Mexicans.

“They are the ones who speak to you if people have a support network, have friends or feel an important part of something in their life,” he explains.

“And in these indicators of social support, which is one of those that the report gives more value, Mexico comes out very b in evaluated .”

Something similar happens with the perception of violence. To prepare the report, respondents are asked if they feel safe walking in their neighborhood.

In Mexico, many answered yes.

” Case study 

A feature of this country that in various reports on happiness of the UN had already been detected.

In this year’s report, for example, it is recognized that Mexicans give a better rating to their personal relationships.

And at the same time, they point out that their social security conditions “are low”.

Enrique Peña Nieto, former president of Mexico.
Image captionAccording to the UN report, the government of Enrique Peña Nieto seemed to offer good results in economic evolution and employment.

Why then does the perception of wellbeing perception improve? Again, because of the way the study was done.

The National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) gave the UN its hard data on the crime rate, which is often one of the most analyzed internationally.

This information is combined with the subjective responses of the respondents. The result is the level where this year Mexico was placed on the list of happiness.

“We have become accustomed to living with certain protocols to understand what situations are at risk and how I can get into them”, explains the specialist.

The answers are compared with information about insecurity. ” We perceive our reality in a different way ” as it could be seen from other countries.

Source: BBC MUNDO

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