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President Sheinbaum?

22 October 2021
A skinny, Jewish woman scientist for President…Hell, Yeah!

A recent El Universal poll, not exacty surprisingly, showed MORENA likely to hold the presidency and Congress in 2024, even if it faces a fusion ticket of the four opposition parties (PRI-PAN-PRD, presently the official opposition, and Movimiento Ciudadano… the third force in the legislature). What is surprising is that over 80 percent of respondents would welcome a woman president… and the only woman being mentione is Mexico City’s “governor”.

One can imagine the head-shaking and disbelief among conservtives and those who “buy” the myths about Mexicans. She is not of Spanish, but rather of Lithuanian and Bulgarian ancestry, a Jew in a Catholic country, a PhD in Energy Engineering (which makes sense in an oil producing nation), an environmentalist (more surprsinging in a resource-exporting country), and… oh yeah… a single woman (she was divorced in 2016, following her then-husband’s entanglement in a complicated political scandal). All of which go against the grain of our image of Spanish, macho, Catholic, export-export-export! leaders.

Yes, Latin American has had, and has, women leaders… and actually more than the English speaking Americas. Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua have seen women president, while women have run on major party platforms in Colombia, Paraguay and here in Mexico as well. And, despite what one may think, lip-service to the Church has never really been much of an issue, although militant anti-clericalism has led to backlash. Sheinbaum is described as a “Secular Jew”. As Engineer and academic, she is better known for developing energy-saving statergies and sustainable development projects (as a member of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change… specifically as an expert on the effects of energy consumption on migration patterns… she shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007).

Of couse, before we start talking about Presidenta Sheinbaum, one can expect a few roadblocks being thrown up. Besides the far right (which lately bends over to pretend to not be misogyntic) whispering that “you know… she’s a Jewish socialist”: well, DUH! And the usual scandals that befall the administration of any megacity (and even those of the federal government) will be used against her… though, other than last year’s Metro bridge collapse… there haven’t been too many out of the ordinary juicy scandals to pump. And, when it came to the bridge collapse, she made a brilliant political move: almost the next morning, hiring a Norwegan engineering failure team to begin studying what went wrong. Considering her only possible rival for the party’s nod… Foreign Minister Ebrahart… was the head of city government when the line was built (and had problems even then)… she is pretty much bullet-proof on this issue.

One more factor in clearing her way may be the hard-fought energy bill pushed by the administration… which would limit foreign ownership of energy providers, and give a larger role to the state energy company, CFE.While the argument that this might lead to move CO2 emisions from coal plants (ironic, coming from the conservative side) and higher consumer prices, the claim that this is a return to the PRI policies of the 1960s and 70s has some appeal to the “old guard” of what was once the ruling party (really, the only party) and claimed a socialist-develomentalist philosophy. And, with some disgust among even conservatives with what appeared to be a link between some in PAN and the Spanish Fascist party, VOX, it’s possible a few PANistas may be distancing themselves from the party.

AND… at least for now… while not unexpected, the opposition did well in the mid-term elections (denying Morena and its allies a supermajority in the legislature)… AMLO himself enjoys an approval rating of somewhere over 60 %. Numbers any President of the United States would sell his mother to garner, two thirds of the way through his term. If the election comes down to a two candidate race (and, there’s no guarantee it will) and Sheinbaum is — as it looks — Morena’s candidate, it will be another nail in the coffin of our collective imaginings of Latin American presidents.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. permalink
    22 October 2021 9:13 am

    Rich, I have attempted to post comments, but because I type the wrong Website at the bottom after I reply, my comment does not go through?  Please help resolve this problem? Thanks, Jaime Rendon Hernandez

  2. Rebecca Ore permalink
    25 October 2021 6:24 pm

    The cliches about Latin America on women tend to be rather off base considering that Anglo culture comes across as more sexist, and confused when Latin women are both powerful and very feminine. Also, amazing doting fathers here.

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