Senior aide to Mexican president steps down
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday one of his top aides has left the government, dissolving a prominent bond between his administration and the longtime leader of the country's left, Cuauhtemoc Cardenas.
Lazaro Cardenas Batel, a son of Cuauhtemoc who had been head of the president's advisers, would move to regional bloc the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Lopez Obrador, a fellow leftist, told a news conference.
Lopez Obrador said he would continue to work with Cardenas, but the news of his departure follows friction between the president and the senior Cardenas, who has taken a critical stance toward aspects of the current administration.
The president regularly calls out what he describes as his "conservative" adversaries, and in late January suggested Cuauhtemoc Cardenas belonged to the "moderate wing of the conservative bloc" when he was linked by media reports to a new political project involving prominent critics of the government.
Cuauhtemoc Cardenas subsequently distanced himself from the project, and the president stressed he was on good terms with the 88-year-old, and had great admiration for his family.
Still, Lopez Obrador's jab revealed frictions on the Mexican left as the country gears up for a presidential election next year in which Lopez Obrador's successor will be chosen.
Cuauhtemoc Cardenas was presidential candidate of the Mexican left three times between 1988 and 2000 before he passed the mantle to Lopez Obrador, 69.
The elder Cardenas is the son of former president Lazaro Cardenas, an icon of the Mexican left who nationalized the oil industry in 1938, the anniversary of which Lopez Obrador will celebrate on Saturday with a rally in central Mexico City.
Lopez Obrador said Lazaro Cardenas Batel was being put forward to head a new CELAC permanent secretariat, while continuing to play an important role in Mexican politics as part of the generation succeeding his own.
(Reporting by Dave Graham; editing by Grant McCool)