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Amlo Takes Office In Mexico, Will The Cleanse Make A Difference To The Government?

Culture & Community By CECILIA SANCHEZ and PATRICK J. MCDONNELL182 views
Amlo Takes Office In Mexico, Will The Cleanse Make A Difference To The Government?

Newly inaugurated Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador received a traditional cleansing during an indigenous ceremony Saturday in Mexico City’s central plaza, or zocalo.

At one point, Lopez Obrador, who was sworn into office Saturday for a six-year term, dropped to his knees in a cloud of incense as indigenous healers performed a rite of purification, brushing him with bunches of herbs.

The ceremony — involving representatives of dozens of Mexico’s indigenous groups, many donning traditional clothing — was a highlight of the inauguration day, with tens of thousands of people in attendance.

Lopez Obrador and his wife, Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller, were both enveloped in incense as indigenous healers performed the cleansing of the first couple.

Lopez Obrador received a traditional baston de mando — a wooden staff representing leadership and respect — and later said indigenous people would have priority in various new social programs.

“After receiving the baston de mando, I reaffirm my vow not to lie, not to rob and not to betray the people of Mexico,” declared Lopez Obrador, who held the ribbon-bedecked staff in his left hand as he spoke.

Observers said it was the first time in memory that such an indigenous rite had been incorporated into a Mexican presidential inaugural event.

“He gives us hope that things will change,” said Arnuldo Beltran, 54, who said he traveled from the Gulf state of Veracruz to witness the inauguration festivities. “Hope that Mexico will be a country in which we, the poor, are listened to. It’s a historic day, that’s why I came.”

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