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Like a thief in the night…

1 December 2006

In a surprising midnight ceremony at the presidential residence of Los Pinos, outgoing Mexican President Vicente Fox handed over the green, white and red presidential sash to incoming president elect Felipe Calderón. Fearing that the inauguration would be blocked, Calderón – a 44- year-old conservative, pro-business politician who is close to the Catholic Church – decided to get a head start on opponents. Calderón follows fellow National Action Party (PAN) member Vicente Fox, who broke the once-dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) seven-decade grip on Mexico in 2000.

(Full story at ¡Para justicia y libertad!)

 One small quibble — Vincente Fox’s 2000 election wasn’t the end of the PRI.  It was the PRD’s creation after the 1988 election was stolen from the left by the PRI that led to the democratization — at the cost of many PRD leader’s lives.  FOX was the first non-PRI president elected since the party was created in 1948, but he did not end that party’s hegonomy.  There was an opposition congress throughout Zedillo’s sexeninal and Fox was not elected as the PAN candidate, but as the candidate for a coalition of Conservatives, Social Democrats and Greens.  Without the 5% vote for the Greens, the PRI would have won.   And, Fox’s selling point was that a vote for him was a “voto util”… PRD candidate Cuauhtemóc Cardenas having no chance of winning in 2000 (at least according to Fox’s U.S. spin-meisters). 

Calderón’s cabinet is somewhat worrisome… mostly U.S. educated economists (it’s a bit of trivia, but every financial crisis in Latin America in the last 30 years occurred when the President or Finance Minister was a graduate of the Harvard Business School).  Augustin Carstens, the new Economics Minister, is a former World Bank official.  While he’s made some statements suggesting he’d be open to a “New Deal” iniatives like those pushed by AMLO and the “alternative presidency”, he is also enamoured with the idea of privatizing the energy sector.  That won’t happen without a fight. 

I’m worried that outgoing Jalisco governor, Francisco Ramírez Acuña for Secretaría de Gobernacion.  As Xicanopwr writes in his ¡Para justicia y libertad! article:

As Jalisco governor, Ramírez Acuña allegedly authorized the use of excessive force against anti-globalization protesters during a summit of Latin American and European leaders in Guadalajara in 2004. Both national and international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, denounced what they said were arbitrary detentions and even torture of suspects.“The blatant and prolonged nature of the alleged police abuses strongly suggests that they were carried out with the approval of some level of command within the security forces,” said José Miguel Vivanco, executive director of Human Rights Watch´s Americas Division after a probe into the incidents.

Meanwhile… the World Bank is agreeing with AMLO that the monopolistic practices of the larger Mexican businesses need to be controlled.

This is gonna get interesting.

Ana Maria Salazar’s English-language blog, Mexico Today, has better analysis and updates than anything I can do on the fly.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 2 December 2006 12:54 am

    La Jornada had an editorial you might want to check out:

    http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2006/12/01/index.php?section=edito

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