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FUTBOL (what’s really important), Politics and the Church…

12 June 2006

There was a touching moment just before the Mexico-Iran game in Nuremburg when the Iranian players presented Oswaldo Sanchez with flowers, who had to fly home for his father’s funeral earlier this week. Which didn’t stop el TRI from whupping the Iranians 3-1 — with, or without voodoo.

The Copa Mundial takes precedence over everything else, of course, but there are those pesky elections coming up …

The New York Times (alas, registration required — so read it in the Denver Post instead) has a nice article on IFE’s role in the election — basically playing referee in a mudslinging contest. Calderón has been stung by the “inconvenient inlaw”, but claiming to the Associated Press — and everybody else — that it doesn’t matter. El Universal’s poll gives Calderón a lead this week (37% to AMLO’s 34%) but it’s within the margin of error, so it’s still anyone’s guess.

And — though they’re supposed to keep quiet — the Church seems to be weighing in on PAN’s side:

The Catholic Church might be using “hot-button” issues to influence voters in favor of Felipe Calderon, Mexico’s National Action Party (PAN)presidential candidate and an abortion-rights opponent, Mexican Catholic community groups said on Thursday, Reuters reports. Guadalupe Cruz — speaking on behalf of six community-based Catholic groups, which include Catholics who oppose the church’s position on birth control and support abortion rights — said that church leaders appear to be supporting candidates who fit an ideological profile, especially surrounding “sexual morality” issues. According to Reuters, the Catholic Church in Mexico this year has held “unprecedented” meetings with presidential candidates, asking them to “speak up” on such issues including abortion. In addition, the church has organized workshops and forums nationwide designed to educate voters on the candidates and their policies. The church says that the workshops aim to help voters understand what the candidates believe about certain issues. However, the community-based groups said they think the workshops might inappropriately interfere in the elections because of the connection the church has with PAN and Mexican President Vincente Fox, a PAN member. Cruz said, “[T]he risk of the Catholic hierarchy influencing votes has been greater in these federal elections than in others due to its closeness to the federal executive.” She added, “Those factors increase the risk of influencing votes in favor of the PAN” (Orlandi, Reuters, 6/8).

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