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It’s not a bribe, it’s a service contract.

23 July 2012

Now I understand why a wonk like Gabriel Quadri was running for President… so he could get his kid a job.

It’s a bit complicated here, but besides the 300 Deputies in the Chamber (the lower house in Congress… similar to the U.S. House of Representatives), 200 seats are apportioned to the political parties depending on how well their party did in the national vote. As long as they get at least two percent of the national vote, they get a couple of Deputies. The parties publish a list of their “plurinomial” candidates (who will be appointed depending on how many seats they get after the votes are counted), and it looks like Quadri’s son, Luciano Quadri Barba, was high up on the PANAL list, basically guaranteed a job as a Deputy, if his father got at least two percent of the vote. Which he did, thanks to party’s, or rather, party leader Elba Esther Gordilla’s, machine.

Quadri “junior” has started out his public career defending Enrique Peña Nieto, by assessing vote buying as a “private contract”.

“Vote buying is immoral, but it’s a matter of private contract law,” the young law-giver opines.  “And AMLO is a stickler for legality.”

Junior Quadri: this vote for sale?

Quadri senior, at one point in the debates (the yosoy132 debate I believe) made some statement to the effect that he was the only “Liberal” in the

campaign. I barely registered it at the time, but it makes perfect sense.  “Liberal” in Mexico usually refers to the original meaning of the term — adherents of the 18th century economic theories of Adam Smith. Although Smith, like Karl Marx, presumed the rich should contribute more proportionally to society than the poor, at its simplest, “liberalism” in Latin America is the classic “Free minds and free trade,” as the U.S. Republican Party used to label it, back in the 19th century when “liberal” wasn’t a dirty word in the United States. At least it was in Benito Juárez’ day, when freedom of religion and the press was considered as important as the free passage of financial instruments.

That was then, this is now. Like the U.S. Republicans, who’ve sort of given up on the “free minds” part of the equation, modern liberalism in the Americas has more to do creating financial incentives for public investments. That is, privatization of public services.

Liberal, in this sense, is more like “Libertarian” in the U.S., and, although “Libertarianism” is a form of anarchism, usually associated with the right, or the far right. With the exception of the Canadian Liberal Party, all the American parties in Liberal International are right-wing (Honduran Liberal Party) or far-right-wing (Authentic Radical Party of Paraguay) parties. I don’t think Esther Elba, who is after all supposedly represents a union for state workers, is going to be all that happy with representatives like the libertarian junior Quadri… but then, those making private contracts (like Enrique Peña Nieto?) will no doubt embrace him.

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