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Calderon’s “Enemies List”

19 August 2009

I made a few small revisions from the original post, to clear up an inadvertent slur.  There are U.S. conservatives here, but what they say about Mexican politics is usually so very wrong that for U.S. conservative views I go right to the horse’s ass and quote some U.S. source.

Patrick Corcoran’s Gancho Blog posts:

The army accidentally searched a Juárez house of Manuel Espino, one of Calderón’s prickliest critics from the PAN. High-ranking officers have apologized to Espino, calling the incursion a “mistake”. That’s quite an embarrassing mistake to make. I have a friend in Los Pinos who tells me that other houses to be “mistakenly” searched in the comings weeks include those of Creel, AMLO, Ebrard, Encinas, and Beltrones.

I haven’t seen any mention of this yet in “my” newspapers[1], and languishing out here in provincia, don’t have any Los Pinos contacts these days, but still, the idea of an “accident” is a little incredible.  During the last election, the Calderon administration did everything it could to claim their opponents were criminally-motivated (or bought) and it wouldn’t be the first time the administration has used military “investigations” to harass opponents.

I’m dismissive of the “three-ten theory” (there was a 14 year war of independence starting in 1810, a ten year revolution starting in 1910, therefore, in 2010…) but I did say  way back in 2007 that Felipe Calderon reminded me of Porfirio Diaz.  Make that Porfirio Diaz ca. 1909 when Don Porfirio was still considered an indispensible man outside of Mexico despite troubling allegations of human rights abuses.  Then, as now, there were clear signs of dissatisfaction with the President — from the left, right and center; poor farmers were being hammered by the “free trade” of their day (with many rural residents supporting those who turned to alternative businesses — like Pancho Villa); the intellectuals fussed about economic and social domination from the north, and looked for more ties to the south; and the President was using the Army to harass political opponents.

The big difference is that Porfirio’s “lame-duckitude” was mostly a matter of old age where Calderon is about to become the first real President we’ve had to face a united opposition.  While Congresses during the Madero, Salinas de Gortari and Zedillo administrations also had opposition majorities.  Madero wasn’t able to control his congress (and it ended up badly for him), but Salinas and Zedillo were able to finish out their terms and carry out most of their own agenda, mostly because they faced a fractured opposition of opposing parties.  Calderon faces a PRI plurality boosted into a majority by the  Greens (a weird Green party to be sure, but unlikely to buck the PRI in anything but symbolic measures), and a PRD vehemently opposed to the Calderon agenda.  And the Supreme Court has taken on a more active role in political affairs than previously.

There is not going to be an armed uprising, but between an isolated president dependent on the Army and foreign support, intellectual and political calls for change and economic uncertainty,  2010 will be a year of change.

[1] Everybody seems to have their favorites.  Patrick, being a more conservative sort than I am, usually references the “mainstream” media pundits or Excelsior.  I’m supposedly leftist (though I don’t think particularly so in Mexican terms) and tend to look at the middle-of-the road Milenio and El Universal, as well as the socialist Jornada, and folks like “Blogotitlan” although I try to find links in English-language sources.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 19 August 2009 12:46 pm

    Hi Richard,

    First, it was clear that my friend at Los Pinos was just a figment of my imagination, right?

    I also want to clarify, I’m not conservative. I’ve never voted for a Republican in my life, I believe in a social safety net, progressive taxes, regulation of business (although who doesn’t these days), et cetera. I also don’t think I’ve ever referenced Reforma, and I never read it (I don’t want to pay to register). I’d guess I link El Universal more than any other paper, although Excélsior is a close second. I also try to link to commentators from a wide range of ideological camps, from Schettino to Zuckermann to Crespo to Ramirez de la O. My criticism of parts of the left in Mexico isn’t principally ideological, so much as it is a product of their tactics. I’m not nearly as hard on, say, Ebrard as I am on AMLO.

    • 19 August 2009 1:13 pm

      There’s nothing wrong with presenting Excelsior more than Jornada. I meant to showcase an alternative to my “commie-taries”.

      Given Calderon’s reaction in Michaocan (and the attempts to link Leonel Godoy to something his step-brother … who he didn’t grow up with doesn’t seem to have anything more to do with than a father in common), I’m sure a Nixon-style “enemies list” has crossed Calderon’s mind. And everyone else’s… after all, politics is a contact sport in this country.


  2. 21 August 2009 11:20 am

    How convenient that Espino’s house be searched, although how I must ask how innocent is he in these kinds of unseemly deeds?

    Back in 2006, the PGR, acting on a PAN complaint that was lodged by Espino, showed up at the door of PRI gubernatorial candidate Arturo Zamora mere days before the election. The complaint involved supposed fraud in the IMSS and was conveniently dropped after the PAN won the state election. Zamora had been the pre-election favorite.

    Still, I have long maintained that Espino has been prophetic in his warnings that the PAN was living dangerously by making so many deals with the PRI. PAN deputy Gerardo Priego is another that has refused to be quiet on this issue – and he’s not exactly a hard-core conservative or religious type.

    As for the newspapers, a new tabloid-style paper called La Razón launched in DF and it’s the best five pesos I spend every morning. It’s well-written, with good columnists, and excellent analysis of the messy world of DF politics. That’s what I’m reading these days.

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