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Perverse and unnatural unions

21 January 2010

It seems the Church isn’t the only organization in Mexico that wants to decide what is, and what isn’t, “natural” when it comes to associations.

PRI Senate leader Mario Fabio Beltrones sneers that such unions are “unnatural” , and presidential hopeful, State of Mexico Governor, Enrique Peña Nieto called them “perverse.  Not THAT — although even the party’s General Secretary hasn’t a clue what the party line is, but the proposed PAN-PRD fusion tickets in the PRI controlled states of Hidalgo, Durango and Oaxaca in this years gubernatorial elections.  Other than a PAN’s inistance (which is probably negotiable) that PRD recognize Felipe Calderón as the “legitimate president” of Mexico (which may be negotiable demand), the union would be no more perverse than any other marriage of convenience and could produce off-spring.

Going back to Mexican independence (when Criollo landowners, the church and peasant leaders agreed on a single formula for independence), compromise and mutual interests have always been the way politics works in this country.  Historically, the PRI was an outgrowth of Plutarco Elías Calles’ Mexican Revolutionary Party, which united the “Revolutionary Family” of anarchists, peasant traditionalists, nationalists, proto-fascists, communists, socialists, democrats, syndicalists … and opportunists … into a single political machine.  With so many moving parts, the machine didn’t always function as well as it should, but gave years of service.  Last time I checked, PRI was  ostensibly socialist,  although with its pure  “neo-liberal” and pro-capitalist stances over the last few years, hard to say.

While PAN has always adhered to a fairly “pure” ideology, the intermural squabbles of the last few years (and its disastrous showing in the 2009 Congressional elections) are largely the result of attempting to stay “pure”… the “Catholic” party line never did resonate with large sectors of the electorate, and PAN’s adherence to U.S. style economic theory doesn’t play well outside the north.  People tend to forget that Vicente Fox, PAN candidate, did not win the 2000 Presidential Election.  Vicente Fox, PAN-Green-Social Democracy “Alliance for Change” candidate captured Los Pinos by appealing for a “useful vote” against PRI that, he argued, would be wasted voting for any of the other opposition candidates (including Cuautémoc Cardenás, running for the “pure” PRD).

PRD — despite the best efforts of  Cuauhtémoc Cardenás — never was “pure”.  It was, after all, a fusion of minor parties to begin with, and Cardenás’ insistence that the party not compromise with the PRI limited its ability to compete against the machine.  Andres Manuel López Obrador — love him or hate him — masterminded the party (and his own political machine)’s spectacular growth, both by emulating Lazaro Cardenas  (bringing untapped interest groups into the party, in PRD’s case, street vendors, prostitutes, indigenous migrants to the Mexico city and “persons of the third age” — i.e., old people) AND though strategic alliances with dissatisfied PRI factions and politicians, as well as PAN and minor parties to run candidates under the PRD label.

And, it’s not like these left-right fusions are new. It was only by breaking the “old” PRI that the opposition parties were able to carve out a meaningful political presence.  In 1993, the PRD-PAN alliance ran PRD candidate Salvador Nava for governor of San Luis Potosí, and as a way of breaking the “caique” control of Salvador Santos.  Dr. Nava, unfortunately was already dying when he ran for office, but his election did seriously weaken the machine.  In 1999, PAN candidates ran fro the governorships of both Tamaulipas and  Coahuila.

These last two candidates lost, as did Gabino Cué Monteagudo — a PRI operative who lost out in an internal power struggle and joined Convergenica, was the PRD-PRI fusion candidate (along with Convergencia) in Oaxaca in 2004.  This time, with PT, which was the only one of the national opposition parties to not join the anti-PRI coalition will be part of the fusion ticket.  Cué has a reasonable chance this year, especially given the ambivalence of the national PRI towards the state’s party, and their present governor, the odious Ulises Ruiz, opposed within the party itself as a “dinasaurio” — seen as opportunists avid for money and power, and an embarrassment to the PRI, whatever ideology its espousing today.

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