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La patria es primero?

11 December 2013

… Camacho Solís … more than suggested that not only was he offered “campaign contributions” (or, as we call them in Mexico, “bribes”) …  but that while he turned the money down, Vicente Fox took it. 

Photo:  Jorge Rios/El Universal

Photo: Jorge Rios/El Universal

Standing in the well of the Senate of the Republic, PRD Senator Manuel Camacho Solís dropped a bombshell Sunday … which has gone all but under-reported (or, ignored) by the media here… or in the United States.

Camacho Solís, a former PRI staltwart, served as  the Regent of Mexico City from 1988 to 1993 (until 1997, the federal district’s government was headed by the Presidentially appointed Regent), and — despite his close personal ties to Carlos Salinas — has been considered one of the best administrators the Federal District ever had, even by the leftist PRD that has run the District since 1997.

Or, because of it.  Although he was appointed to serve as the Salinas Administration’s Foreign Secretary in November 1993, Camacho Solís was increasingly at odds with the neo-liberal wing of the PRI, then led by  Salinas and which now controls the party… and includes, of course, Enrique Peña Nieto.  Supposedly in disgust over the party (and Salinas’ role) in both the assassination of reformist PRI presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio and the PRI’s response to the Zapatista uprising of January 1994, Camacho Solís — together with younger PRI reformists like Marcelo Ebrard — joined the new PCD (Democratic Center Party) and was the party’s Presidential candidate in 2000.

Camacho Solís only received 0.6 percent of the national vote, and the party merged with the PRD the following year.  Camacho Solís is in an odd position… the PRD was mostly formed out of old socialist parties, the Communist Party and the left wing of the PRI.  That Camacho Solís has been a Salinista (a neo-liberal), a centerist and now is a sitting senator for a socialist party (albeit, one moving rapidly towards the political center) has always opened him up to accusations that he is a “grillo” (literally a grasshopper, figuratively, a politician willing to switch parties and ideology as his own interests dictate), and his connections to Salinas, the assassinated Colosio and his fight with Ernesto Zedillo to become the replacement candidate for Colosio, have led many to question his motives and to ask whose interests he really represents.

Still… speaking against the proposed energy reform bill (which he concedes is likely to pass), Camacho Solís — almost in passing — more than suggested that not only was he offered “campaign contributions” (or, as we call them in Mexico, “bribes”) that would have … oiled his campaign for Los Pinos (and made it happen, according to the Senator), but that while he turned the money down, Vicente Fox took it.

There is no question that U.S. oil companies, often in conjunction with the U.S. government, have been attempting to subvert the Mexican government for the benefit of those oil companies for over a century.  While not going so far as to stage a coup, as U.S. Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson, aided and abetted by oilman Frank Buckley did in 1914, or to finance military rebellions (and a religious terrorist movement) as Buckley and others did in the 1920s, the threat has always been real.  That Salinas — who reorganized PEMEX as part of his grand scheme to move Mexico towards a more neo-liberal state — had to resort to fraud to win the 1988 election … and that the United States government had a major role in permitting the fraud to occur (and probably financing much of it) is hardly conjecture.

With people like U.S. Republican public relations “adviser” Rob Allyn admitting to working illegally and often under a false name on the Fox campaign, as well as the involvement of the Reagan Administration in underwriting minor “leftist” parties that ran a fusion ticket with Fox’s conservative PAN (letting Fox argue that his candidacy was the only “useful vote” against the PRI) the charges are at the very least plausible.  And disturbing.

One has to weigh Camacho Solís record as an opportunistic politician (and twice thwarted Presidential candidate) against his solid record as a relatively honest administrator, and as a politician whose initial break with the party he’d grown up with, and with a president with whom he’d had a long personal relationship was — at least publicly — motivated by nationalist principles.

While the accusation that the “reforms” (which include constitutional reforms basically undoing the 1938 expropriation, and returning if not quite to the Porfirian era’s merely theoretical ownership of natural resources, than at least to the Obregón era’s “Bucarelli Treaty” which merely required foreign companies to acknowledge Mexican government’s  sovereignty over the oil fields, while upholding the rights of foreign lease-holders to pump (and market) the oil they pulled out of Mexican soil.  Camacho Solís is pleading for a referendum (which, it appears, may be required before these reforms can be implemented) which would likely reject the reforms… absent U.S. oil money underwriting a “Yes” campaign that is.

 

 

Sources:

Juan Arvizu Arrioja, “Reforma energética es tramposa acusa Camacho Solís”  El Universal, 8 December 2013.

Simon Romero, “Republican Strategist Is Taking Heat for Taking Mexico as ClientNew York Times, 28 December 2005

Texas GOP Political Consultant Rob Allyn Admits Covert Activity in Mexican” Presidential Campaign, Narco News, 9 July 2000

VIDEO: Camacho revela que EU le ofreció la presidencia a cambio de PemexSDPNOticias, 10 December 2013

Gods, Gachupines, and Gringos and the usual on-line encyclopedias.

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