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“As it is”… the un-holy matrimony of PAN and PRI

23 April 2007

Even as an outsider, I’d noticed that the 2006 election bore more resemblance to the 1988 election than to anything in the U.S.  In 1988, Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas probably got the most votes, but through some fancy manouvering (and possibly some nudges from the Reagan administration which certainly didn’t want a leftist administration in Mexico), Salinas de Gotari, “won”.  I always thought it was ironic that the political and social reforms forced through as a result of that shady election led to a PAN victory in 2000.  Which was followed by a shady PAN victory in 2006 (when again, a U.S. administration was very worried about a probable win by the Mexican left). 

Blogotitlan says it was no accident.  (My translation)


The corruption of political organisms in Mexico – esspecially by the outstanding political leaders — is the Aquilles heel of this nation. Their interweaving factional interests, to the detriment of national ones, have left the country open to the depredations of its natural resources and economy by the hegomenic United States.


Without getting into the corrupt origins of the various political parties – something more a subject for psychiatry than sociology – it is sufficient to focus on the consequences of their convergence of interests, and the criminal methods, legal and otherwise, that in their short-sighted and ignorant self-interest have negatively influenced all Mexican citizens.

Of course, it has to be said that without political apathy and tolerance, none of today’s poltical parties could have obtained the positions they occupy today, or get away with what they are doing.

When in 1988 the party failed to maintain control of the electoral system and the reality of the ballots upended the systemic inertia, “honest brokers” were immediately called on to mediate the situation. Business lawyer Diego Fernandez de Cevallos, a PAN central committee member huddled with the worried PRI leaders, and managed to strike a compromise. Ultra-private talks and round the clock negotiations developed a new scenario (one favored by the U.S. trained technocrats at the Bank of Mexico) under which PAN would become the “loyal opposition”. This flew in the face of reality, and required the left to recognize as clean and unquestionable the triumph of PRI candidate, Carlos Saline de Gortari.

Obvious, there were political and economic costs, that Salinas immediately accepted, the first being that “Jefe” Diego Fernandez was allowed to win a governorship, which convinced PAN president, Luis H Álvarez to accept the deal.

When word came down from los Pinos that Salinas would win, the vote counting mechanism was suddenly suspended for several hours. When the system was restored, the miracle had occurred, and the gentleman selected as president, Carlos Salinas de Gortori, triumphed. PAN, as Diego and Álvarez had previously worked out, admitted it had lost, but it was their votes that give the slight edge to PRI.

The fly in the ointment was that the PAN candidate, Manuel “Maquío” Clouthier, was against the deal, recognizing that it was untrue. He knew the truth. Cárdenas had lead in the vote count.

Not that it mattered. The Electoral College, controlled by PRI, had the last word. And gave it. Despite the evidence of fraud, it recognized the “legal” — though illegitimate – triumph of Salinas, and at the same time saluted Jefe Diego’s victory as the first PAN governor of Baja California Norte.

Beneficiary of innumerable canonjías [SEE NOTE], PAN, and the forces of the “institutional Revolution” functioned as a battering ram against the masses that had supported Cuauhtémoc Cardenas, indignant at the frustration of the democratic will of the people. Throughout the Salinas and Zedillo administrations, Diego’s PAN was indispensible to turning back the clock, and privatizing the country, “for the public good” to the benefit of the new political business groups that had been incubated under Miguel de la Madrid and stimulated into growth under Salinas.

The only renegade was Maquío Clouthier, who — before Cardenás turned to “institutional” conformism – set up a parallel cabinet which refused to recognize Salinas’ “triumph.” A providential auto accident took care of Maquío, and Diego and Salinas no longer had to continue fighting him.

PAN’s complicity allowed that Salinas to privatize everything, and render accounts on nothing. The famous libros blancos (white papers) that supposedly audited the privatizations were a farce that concealed outright thievery and left untouched financial mismanagement. As with the “untouchable” 1988 election results, which were under armed military guard, Jefe Diego made sure they were burned, covering the tracks of anyone involved in the frauds.

Whatever vestiges of ethics were left in the PRI government were gone. Collusion between PAN and PRI allowed Salinas to reign with impunity, in return for preparing the way for “el cambio” (the change) – an extraordinary deceit that installed a government “of the industrialists, by the industrialists, for the industrialists,” true predators of the national wealth and public property, as has been verified by the recent scandal involving the public audit of state accounts.

18 years later, the Salinas scenario was repeated, though in 2006 PRI played the supporting role to PAN’s lead. The new production was updated with technocratic “modern” touches: IFE, supposedly “citizenized” when in fact it was “mafia-ized”; new software that featured subroutines to change the calculated vote count to meet agreed upon results; mass media already dependent on timely canonjías suborned by the advertisers who had benefited from previous frauds; foreign advisors openly using lies, slanders and social manipulation in the electoral process, despite specific Constitutional prohibitions; purposely myopic electoral authorities ; and dubious court decisions based on the convenience of legitimizing results and not open to appeal despite numerous Constitutional violations. In a word… corruption.

As during the Salinas era, the unsanctified marriage of PRI and PAN, with the unholy brood of brats – the Greens, PANAL and Alternativa – seek to demolish the remaining social and political structure, one that took a lot of time and effort to construct and, despite imperfections, was the source of progress in this country, that allowed people to obtain an honest job and put food on the family table. But today, PRIAN [PRI+PAN, considered by many, like Blogotitlan, as one party] seeks to undo everything, auctioning off the pieces to private interests, who seek instantaneous returns on their investments, encouraged by tax exemptions that are supposed to “stimulate” investment, but are really a cover for bribes to the government, which do little to bring in national investments or create jobs.

The indignity is that both chambers of Congress write laws harmful to the citizens with the overt support of (when not actually written in) Washington, supposedly benefitting “national” industrialists, but – as soon as they’ve received the concession (or canonjía) turn around and sell them – tax free – to foreign multinationals, as was done with the banks and other state-owned enterprises. The country not only loses a source of wealth, but also sovereignty.

What is even more repugnant is the way that this corrupt political marriage is preparing the way for the political and social annexation of the country (the economic annexation being a done deal) to American hegonomy, transgressing the most elementary notions of policy and honor, racing to approve bad laws, throw up roadblocks in the way of necessary changes, and otherwise harm the people the chambers are supposed to represent.

In short, the litany of indignities and aggressions against the citizens of the country committed by that nauseous pair that proclaims itself “decent and responsible”, or “democratic and nationalistic”, is applauded by its accomplices in the political, media and business world.


For the good of the country, and for it’s survival, we hope that the growing awareness of citizen anger will be recognized by those around Andrés Manuel Lopez Obradór – a living demon to those “Men without a country” [apátridas]. There is a need for obstinate resistance to defend Mexico against the useless couple.

[TRANSLATION NOTE] “Canonjías” are literally “artillery barrages”, but the term is used figuratively in Mexico to mean economic an political arrangements used to co-opt the opposition.   It comes from Álvaro Obregón’s cynical observation that “no Mexican general can withstand a barrage of gold pesos”. Obregón consolidated the Revolution and ended the violence by basically coopting the opposition, both through power sharing arrangements, and through outright bribery.


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