Mexico City.- Considered a symbol of political and spiritual authority of indigenous communities, the baton has been used by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at rallies, ceremonies and official events.
In December 2018, the president began his administration with a ceremony, in the heart of the Zócalo, where he received a cane, on behalf of the 68 native peoples.
Wearing the presidential sash, he knelt in front of an indigenous doctor, was ‘cleansed’ with herbs and copal smoke, and received the wooden staff, with a hand-carved head of Quetzalcoatl.
“We are going to consecrate our President of the Republic. The indigenous and Afro-Mexican peoples come to place in your hands the baton of command, which will help you to command by obeying the people”, expressed Carmen Santiago Alonso, priestess of the central valleys of Oaxaca.
“We deliver this sacred staff, which will be your guide to govern our country, as long as, first, we, the indigenous peoples,” warned a Mixtec from Ayutla de los Libres, Guerrero.
After the “purification ritual”, López Obrador presented the promise that, for him, that baton of command meant: “Here in the Zócalo of Mexico City, the main public square in the country, after receiving the baton from the original peoples of our great nation, I reaffirm the commitment not to lie, not steal and not betray the people”.
In accordance with the uses and customs of the indigenous communities, the command baton is a symbol of respect, trust, service and gratitude, which represents the sacred and is given to the person who, elected by the people, assumes command in the community.
However, within the framework of an early succession, the president decided that now it will be he and not the indigenous communities who will hand over the baton of command.
According to the president, this act represents the end of his role as leader of the political movement that he has led for years.
“I end as leader of the transformation movement when I hand over the baton and I no longer intervene in any decision that has to do with the transformation movement,” he said.
Just on Wednesday, López Obrador was questioned about his decision to hand over the baton to a Morena leader and not to the person who will succeed him in the Presidency next year.
“It is a way of handing over a responsibility that has fallen on me as a leader of a transformation movement, the cane symbolizes that,” he justified.
“Above all, it is a symbol of indigenous communities, of the poorest in this country, and it means giving that symbol to whoever should lead the transformation, who should give continuity to what is essential for us: helping the poor and help the indigenous people.”
-Why, if you received the baton as president, do you not hand it over to the next president? she questioned.
“Oh, too. No, there I have to deliver is the band,” he responded.
-No, the baton, why not hand it over to the next president and hand it over to a party (Morena)? he insisted.
“I will no longer be there, yes, I will no longer be there by then. In other words, no, I hand over the band and to Palenque, Chiapas, ”she said without answering the substance of the question.