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Details, details!

19 July 2018

It hasn’t even been three weeks since the election,  and the new government won’t take office until the First of December, already it seems any comments one might have about the governance in this country are no longer sent to Los Pinos but to Chihuahua 291, Roma Norte.  And, that includes the complaints… about what hasn’t happened yet.

The incoming government campaigned on various promises, and three weeks into the transition, they have started to flesh them out.  I suppose it’s only natural that those most affected are already finding “issues” with this or that proposal, but then again, there’s still another four-plus months until anything at all even starts.

Nothing’s happened … yet… which doesn’t stop people from already looking for why this or that proposal just cannot be done.

If the President cuts his salary to 103,000 pesos a month, and the Constitution says that no government official can receive a higher salary than the President, then, Claudio X. Gonzales worries, won’t some highly paid officials leave to work in the private sector?

If federal agencies are decentralized, who is going to pick up the tab for support staffers who need to find new houses?  What about day care in Aguascalientes?  What if one spouse works for the Secretariat of Natural Resources, and her husband for the Secretariat of Labor?

If old refineries are rehabilitated, when is the environmental impact statement to be published?

While President Enrique Peña Nieto deserves some credit for admitting that crime has only gotten worse on his watch, and a new paradigm is needed, even pro-AMLO media like La Jornada want to know EXACTLY how some of these programs are going to work. Who is going to sit on the “Truth Commissions” (it was only today that there was a court ruling that would allow such commissions to be financed)?  How is amnesty to be administered?  How will crime victims be compensated… and what victims?

And those were just the kinds of issues raised in the pro-AMLO Jornada.

It seems a five month transition between the election and inauguration is ridiculously long*, but with what is looking to be a complete paradigm shift in governance and policy, I have to give credit to Enrique Peña Nieto for staying out of the way. It would be easy to capitalize on the endless worry of what the proposed changes will mean, or to push through last-minute legislation that would stymie, or at least slow down, some programs. Our last change of this major a scope was not when Vicente Fox took the presidency from the PRI, nor when Venustiano Carranza refused to leave office, and had to be overthrown in a coup, but whose interim successor, Adolfo de la Huerta did his best to clear the path for Alvaro Obregon’s election, but when but when Porfirio Díaz resigned to avoid a revolution, and Franciso de la Barra spent his short tenure as interim president packing the administration and bureaucracy with anti-Madero die-hards. Fox simply changed the style and pace of neo-liberal “reforms” that had marked the previous two administrations under a different party label. Carranza, de la Huerta, and Obregon simply disagreed over the details of how the Revolution was to be consolidated. With Madero, it was an attempt to create a new style of government, and to change the country through democratic means… alas, too moderate in his ambitions, given what the people wanted.

AMLO’s program is ambitious… much more so than Madero’s and as radical as Benito Juarez’:   naturally there are those who fear change, or have their doubts as to what can be accomplished. But, what is looking more promising is that, despite the doubters, the changes are not out-of-hand rejected, though people are bedeviled by the details.

* My understanding is that in the future, the Presidential term will begin on the First of September, when the new Legislative session begins.

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