Mexico's president-elect is vowing radical change. And nowhere has it been more visible than in his jaw-dropping decision to forgo bodyguards, and let fans mob him — leaving security experts aghast.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the anti-establishment leftist elected in a landslide on July 1, has promised to lead his anti-corruption, pro-austerity charge by example, forswearing the presidential residence, the presidential jet, half the presidential salary and even the presidential security detail.
"Even if I end up without the shirt on my back, there is going to be austerity," the man known as "AMLO" said recently.
Even since the election, Lopez Obrador, 64, has continued riding around Mexico City in his Volkswagen Jetta, as hordes of journalists, fans and onlookers swarm around him.
Some of those fans managed to breach the security perimeter at the stately National Palace last week when Lopez Obrador arrived for a meeting with outgoing President Enrique Pena Nieto.
One woman in the crowd that burst through the army and police cordon thrust herself straight into Lopez Obrador's arms.
He gave her a kiss on the cheek.
"Let this be clear: I don't want bodyguards. That means the citizens are going to take care of me," said Lopez Obrador, who takes office on December 1.
"I just hope they don't crush me," he added with a grin.
That approach has come in for criticism.
"It's a total error. It's whimsical, not strategic," said Alejandro Hope, a security consultant and former Mexican intelligence agent.
The issue is bigger than just Lopez Obrador, he said: his wellbeing and that of his family, the secrecy of his communications and the protection of visiting dignitaries are now matters of national security.
"The cure is going to be worse than the disease," Hope told AFP.