- Associated Press - Saturday, December 1, 2018

MEXICO CITY (AP) - The latest on the inauguration of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

In one of his first acts in office, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has signed an agreement with his counterparts from three Central American countries to establish a development plan to stem the flow of migrants seeking asylum in the U.S.

The Foreign Ministry said Saturday that the plan includes a fund to generate jobs in the region and aims to attack the structural causes of migration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Thousands of migrants, mostly Hondurans, have joined caravans in recent weeks in an effort to speed through Mexico to request refuge at the U.S. border.

Dozens of migrants interviewed by The Associated Press have said they are fleeing poverty and violence in their countries of origin.


5:45 p.m.

Mexico’s newly inaugurated president has been formally anointed leader by indigenous groups at a ceremony at Mexico City’s main square hours after he took the oath of office at Congress.

Mexico has more than 70 indigenous communities, and new President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has pledged to end centuries of poverty and marginalization for them.

Traditional healers brushed Lopez Obrador with bunches of herbs and blew incense smoke over him to purify him. They then invoked the spirits of their ancestors and the land to liberate him from any bad influences, turning to the four cardinal points with individual prayers.

Indigenous activist Carmen Santiago Alonso then handed the president a ceremonial wooden staff denoting leadership. It is the first time a Mexican president has ever taken part in this kind of ceremonial inauguration by indigenous groups.


12:40 p.m.

New Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador reached out to the U.S. and Canada in his inaugural speech to Congress.

The first foreign dignitaries he greeted from the podium Saturday were U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump.

He also said that since the day he was elected “I have received respectful treatment from President Donald Trump.”

Lopez Obrador said he wants to reach an agreement with governments and companies in the U.S. and Canada for investment to develop Central America and southern Mexico, so people there won’t have to emigrate.


11:20 a.m.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been sworn in as the first leftist president in Mexico in over 70 years. Lopez Obrador took the oath of office at Mexico’s Congress, in a ceremony attended by Vice President Mike Pence, leaders from Latin America and British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Lopez Obrador pledged “a peaceful and orderly transition, but one that is deep and radical.”

Lopez Obrador’s inauguration marks a turning point in one of the world’s most radical experiments in opening markets and privatization.

10:10 a.m.

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is getting an especially warm welcome at the inauguration of Mexico’s new leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Corbyn was among a few people hosted by Lopez Obrador at his home in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas the day before the inauguration.

He’s also attending the inaugural ceremony at Mexico’s Congress on Saturday.

Corbyn is a veteran socialist whose wife is from Mexico.

A Labour Party statement issued from London said the new president “faces huge challenges in his mission of transforming Mexico, but Jeremy hopes his election will offer Mexico’s poor and powerless a real voice and a break with the failures and injustices of the past.”

It adds that the new president “has shown that a progressive agenda for change can win power and take on the status quo.”

The party statement, however, botched the new president’s name, referring to him only by his maternal surname - calling him President Obrador instead of Lopez Obrador.


9:50 a.m.

One of the first official acts of the administration of Mexico’s new president has been to throw open the gates of the secretive, sprawling presidential residence located in a corner of Mexico City’s largest park.

Incoming President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he won’t live there and will use it as a cultural center instead.

Only a few people showed up Saturday in the hours before the opening of the Los Pinos compound, which has been closed to the public since the first parts were built in the 1930s.

Among them was retired secretary Gabriela Barrientos, a Lopez Obrador supporter. She says, “This is a day that will never come again.”


9:30 a.m.

Conservative legislators in Mexico are using their country’s presidential inauguration for a protest against Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Several lawmakers have taped a banner reading “Maduro, you’re not welcome” to the podium in the lower house of Congress, where leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is soon to be sworn in.

Maduro has been invited to the inaugural ceremony, but it’s not clear if he’ll arrive.

Mexico’s conservative National Action Party has voiced objections to the invitation because of the economic and political crisis in Venezuela and they accuse Maduro of veering toward a dictatorship.

Critics of Lopez Obrador have long attempted to associate him with Venezuelan-style socialism, despite little evidence he favors such policies.


8:20 a.m.

Mexico’s new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, hasn’t yet been sworn, but new cabinet secretaries have already taken over key security posts.

The midnight handover is part of a tradition meant to ensure there’s always someone at the helm of the Army, Navy and Interior Department, the country’s top domestic security agency.

New Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero said in a post-midnight ceremony that the new government will “listen to everybody, the majority and the minorities, because in a democracy all opinions can be expressed.”

Similar ceremonies were held at the Navy and Army headquarters. Lopez Obrador plans to rely heavily on the military to form his new anti-crime force, the National Guard.


2 a.m.

Mexicans are getting more than just a new president. The inauguration of leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will mark a turning point in one of the world’s most radical experiments in opening markets and privatization.

Mexico long had a closed, state-dominated economy, but since entering the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs in 1986, it has signed more free trade agreements than almost any other country. It’s also privatized almost every corner of the economy except oil and electricity.

Now, though, Lopez Obrador is talking a talk not heard in Mexico since the 1960s: He wants to build more state-owned oil refineries and encourages Mexicans to “not to buy abroad, but to produce in Mexico what we consume.”

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