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De-FeCal-ation

25 March 2012

Jorge Zepada Patterson, one of Mexico’s best-respected, and best-informed “inside the Periferico” political analysts, muses in his Sunday column on Felipe Calderón’s fate after the transfer of power on December first of this year.

Zepeda points out that there is no question that Calderón could be facing very real criminal charges in international courts:

… there will be indictments connected to the 50 thousand dead and well documented disappearances of civilians.  That is a fact.  How these indictments are handled depends on the will of the incoming executive and judicial branches.

(my translation)

Zepeda points out that the Calderón Administration provided some support (mostly documentation) to Ernesto Zedillo, who faced merely civil charges in the United States over a single human rights violation charge (related to the Acteal Massacre). However, it would be difficult to tie Zedillo directly to the murders in Acteal (which seem to have been the work of local party militants, not necessarily under presidential control) and a Connecticut court wasn’t a likely venue to hear the case in the first place.

Zepeda thinks it is unlikely that Vásquez would pull something like the embarrassing Luís Echivierra’s successor, José López Portillo did — appointing the wannabe Secretary General of the United Nations to a slightly less visible position… as Mexican Ambassador to Fiji.  On the other hand, given the likelihood that a Vásquez administration (assuming that’s even within the realm of possibility), would have to deal with a PRI dominated legislature, there wouldn’t be much the Presidenta would be able to do to support Calderón.  Nor, given the fractures Calderón has caused in his own party over his obsession with the narcotics trafficking issue (notably the defection of Sinaloan senator and PAN staltwart, Manuel Clouthier) would it be politically possible for her to provide more than the informal support Calderón provided Zedillo.

Calderón might actually be better off if Enrique Peña Nieto becomes President. Whereas, Zepeda argues, a PAN president would need to keep the embarrassing FeCal under wraps (and as far away from Los Pinos as possible), PRI would want Calderón around as a bargaining chip, trading off protection for their former leader for  legislative support of their own programs.

Should AMLO gain the presidency, Zepeda suggests Calderón not only have his bags packed, his passport handy and a visa for some other country in his pocket, but a bunch of lawyers on speed-dial.

I don’t believe that the Loving Republic’s Franciscan-style forgiveness is going to embrace the orchestrator and beneficiary “whatever happened, happened.”

(In other words, AMLO is going to get his revenge on the stolen 2006 election, or so Zepeda believes, despite AMLO’s statements this weekend that he would not be pursuing Calderón, and could live with him in the country).

Among recent presidents, Diáz Ordaz, Echeverria, Carlos Salinas and Zedillo left the country after their term expired.  Diáz Ordaz, at his own urging, accepting an appointment as Ambassador to Spain, side-stepping both personal difficulties over his presiding over the Tlatelolco Massacre and possible questions about Echeverria’s involvment.  As it was, Diáz Ordaz was a very sick man, without long to live.    Echeverria kept a low profile after his stint in Fiji.  There were attempts to bring him into court during the Fox Administration, but the nascent truth commission that looked into the “dirty war” was never able to touch him, and was shut down before it ever really got off the ground.  Given Echeverria’s advanced age (he is now 90 years old)  he will never be called to answer questions about the “dirty war” of the 1970s, or his own role in the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre, let alone stand in the docket.

One possibility, mentioned first by the Wall Street Journal, and considered plausible by Zepeda, is that Calderón — claiming that he is a target of narcos, will go to Brazil to work at a think-tank run by Brazilian ex-president Lula de Silva.   This would put him far away, more or less protected by a foreign leader and “on ice” should the political climate change.  Salinas hied himself to Cuba (and later Ireland),  protected first by Fidel Castro, then by Irish banking secrecy laws (and quirky extradiction procedures) , where, under the radar, he was able to keep his hand in PRI politics, and make behind the scene deals, that probably will keep him out of court the rest of his life … unless of course, the unthinkable happens and AMLO is able to pull off an uncontested victory this time.

In that case, as Zepeda says about Calderón, but true also of Salinas,  in the event of an AMLO presidency they are both “a la chingada“… fucked.

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