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Does Sarah Palin know AMLO?

15 July 2009

One advantage of not watching U.S. television is I get my U.S. news from internet broadcasts, and can skip the clips that really don’t interest me at all.  My interest in the  Sarah Palin saga… the Governor of Alaska who — having shot up from nowhere to national prominence — then suddenly quit hasn’t been all that overwhelming.  Everyone assumes Palin’s political career is toast, though she keeps hinting that something else is going on.  Maybe if she was a Mexican politico I’d kind of believe that.

The PRD, which runs the Federal District the way the bigger parties run their respective strong-holds (crushing all opposition, internal and external) broke after the close 2006 election over whether to continue  support for Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s campaign to overturn the dubious Calderon victory, or whether to compromise and accept the PANista’s narrow win as legitimate.

The party only managed to hold together by working out a compromise whereby Lopez Obrador backers ran on two smaller parties (PT, the Workers’ Party [theoreticaly Maoist and Che-guevarist] and Convergenica [social democratic]) in the Federal District.

Clara Brugata, a Lopez Obradorista, was forced off the PRD ballot in Itzapalapa, despite overwhelming support in the party primary. So, Lopez Obrador, and his backers, supported the PT candidate, who suprised the experts, and won the seat, big-time.  El Debate de Sinaloa (my translation) wrote an editorial that explains what happened next… and what might be the result down the road.

With an informed, vigilant citizenship demanding transparency that by the political parties and the electoral authorities, it will no longer be easy to make deals behind closed doors, nor to treat the people capriously, after what happened in Iztapalapa, following the election of “Juanito”.

The triumph of Rafael Acosta Ángeles, (Juanito), the Workers’ Party candidate in Delegación Iztapalapa, over the PRD, PAN and PRI, began when the Federal Electoral Tribunal forced Clara Burgada off the ballot, touching off a citizen’s revolt. It ends with Acosta’s election, and his resignation in favor of Burada, to fulfill a political commitment to Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

“Juanito” was the instrument of the citizen’s rebellion, having run with the intention of resigning in favor of Brugada… and obtaining fame and popularity no one could have predicted in the process.

“Juanito” already gained fame and political glory, not only from those who cast their ballots for him, but from citizens generally, as a result of special circumstances that will allow him to consider being a candidate for Jefe de Gobierno of the Federal District three years hence, and – perhaps – for President of Mexico in another nine.

The strangest part of this political phenomenon in the Federal District, is that Clara Brugada, who was replaced as the candidate for Iztapalapa by Silvia Olivas Fregoso, will win her seat as Jefa de Delegación without having participated in the elections.

Finally, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who pushed Brugada’s candidacy, and – when she was removed from the PRD ticket by the Electoral Tribunal – denounced the party, is the biggest winner of all in Iztapalapa, assuming “Juanito” fulfills the political pact that he has so far honored, and said will not be broken.

I’ve always said you can’t count the guy out, and — while I don’t think he’ll be a candidate for President in 2012, I don’t think AMLO, nor his 30-35 percent of the voter’s support, ever really disappeared.  It may be significant that the editorial was not from a Mexico City newspaper, but a provincial one.  Being out of the media spotlight may have worked to AMLO’s advantage,  letting him rebuild his organization without drawing attacks from his avowed enemies, the television networks and corporate media, while working with grassroots organizations in rural areas, and in working class communities like Iztapalapa.

I don’t see a Lopez-obradorista being able to capture a third of the vote in the near future, but — given the poor showing by PRD nationally, PRD may be more amiable to a coalition with the smaller leftist parties, and — given the leftward slant of PRI chair Beatriz Paredes, whose party will have enough seats to not need a coalition with PAN, the left may be driving more of the legislative agenda for the next three years.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 15 July 2009 4:37 pm

    Lopez Obrador campaigned hard in Iztapalapa – and for good reason: It’s the most populous of Mexico City’s 16 boroughs and the heartland of the PRD’s New Left faction. The New Left is under the sway of PRD president and AMLO enemy Jesus Ortega so by seizing Iztapalapa, AMLO deals a potentially fatal blow to the man that narrow edged out his preferred candidate, former Mexico City mayor Alejandro Encinas, in the PRD leadership contest.

    I went to Iztapalapa on election day and the overwhelming sense that I got was that people were tired of local power boss, PRD Sen. Rene Arce and his family’s grip on the borough government. Arce was borough chief in 2000 and was succeeded by his brother, outgoing DF Assembly Speaker Victor Hugo Cirigo. Arce’s wife won the nomination for 2009 in a race that was decided by the electoral tribunal – the panel of judges that AMLO calls, “The mafia.” Arce’s relatives are said to be occupying key borough positions.

    Victorious PT candidate “Juanito” – who says that he will step aside for Brugada – has already said that getting the Arce clan out of the borough gov’t is a top priority. So I question if this is truly AMLO making a revival or simply capitalizing on favorable conditions. He will be around to run in 2012, but how much influence will he have? This election was about settling scores with his tormentors in the PRD and ensuring the survival of the PT and Convergence party – and ensuring their right to collect more than 1 billion pesos in public money over the next three years; money that surely will finance his activities – nothing more.

    • 15 July 2009 4:51 pm

      This may be capitalizing on a unique situation, but what I found fascinating was that provincial newspapers are seeing the move as a victory for the voters — and, by inference — suggests AMLO still has support throughout the country.

      Maintaining the registry for the two small parties is a means to the end.

  2. Timo permalink
    16 July 2009 9:57 am

    Can’t comment on the AMLO situation. But Palin’s career has just begun. She resigned because she realized – correctly – that she could have a much larger political carerr on the national level. She is, after all, by far the most popular Republican in the US. She is also the only potential candidate the Republicans can produce who is not (a) a doddering old white man, and/or (b) cheating on his wife with a stripper/prostitute/rentboy etc.

    This is why the Republican leadership has rubbished her in public: they fear her. As well they should. And the Democrats pray that the Repbulicans will choose Sarah Palin as their next presidential candidate. Just as the Republicans were praying for Hillary Clinton to be the Dem candidate in ’08.

  3. Enrique permalink
    5 August 2009 4:34 pm

    AMLO has a lot of support, even though the media tries to hide this fact

    Lopez Obrador will surely be a hit, we are with you AMLO! Go go go!

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