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What they’re saying

2 July 2018

Gary Denness, (The Mexile) finds another politician with which to compare AMLO: Tony Blair!

Noel Mauer (The Power and the Money) sees,despite what may be a massive shake-up of the political system, only moderate change likely.

Mexican conservative columnist Sergio Sarmiento sees change, but within constraints, from the incoming administration. English translation in Mexico Voices.

Joanna van der Gracht Rosada (Changes in Our Lives), flew back to Mexico from her native Canada to vote … for hope and change.

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And another thing… back to the future

2 July 2018

Once more, from “Real News Network”… see you in 24 minutes with a few miscellaneous thoughts.

Amazing as the election results were, it’s not over: as both Lauta Carlsen and ALex Main note, that while the Presidential victory margin was more than enough to guarantee the Morena-coaliton victory, fraud will be apparent in some of the “down-ballot” races, especially those for legislative seats. The old party system is by no means dead, and … unmentioned… not all of those elected on the Juntos Haremos Historia ticket (the Morena-Workers-Social Encounter coalition ticket) are squeaky-clean themselves. More than a few were opportunists who sensed which way the poltiical winds were blowing, or disgruntled office seekers denied a candidacy by their traditional party.

THat said, and recognizing this as a watershed event, I see it more as a return to Mexican tradition, than as a break with the past. Only with the recent past. Mexico never has sought to be a world power, or even invested much in attempting to become a regional one. Except for material support for the American Revolution (and that was under the Viceregal reign) and in the anti-Fascist 1930s and 40s, it stayed out of other countries affairs, and just accepted them the way they were. Unlike Brazil, which under Lula, wanted a larger role in the United Nations (including a pemanant seat on the Security Council), and was keen to extend its economic reach into neighboring countries like Paraguay, AMLO is more in the tradition of past leaders… and I would include Santa Anna here: as Benito Juarez phrased it, “Entre los individuos, como entre las Naciones, el respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz“.. or more colloquially, “Stay out of my shit, and I’ll stay out of yours”. With the exception of Pancho Filla, our heroes are not those that fought to preserve what we had, not to extend power: Cuauhtémoc, Guillermo Lombardo, Hidalgo, Morelos, Benito Juarez, and even Porfirio (“Between us and the gringos.. the desert!”) Díaz. Respect us, come if you like, but we don’t tell you what to do, so don’t try to control us, or tell us how to do things.

Given that, one can’t ignore the (orange haired) elephant in the room. Since Don Porfiro’s day, Mexican business has had to concern itself with an over-dependence on exports headed one direction: north. Porfirio attempted in a way to balance the equation, although keeping us dependent on foreigners: German tecnology and military equipment, French banking, British and American mining and oil exploitation. It was, in large part (or the major part) what the Revolution sought to overcome. The most creative years of the Revolutionary era were the 920s up until World War II… when Mexico turned inward, looking for solutions to its own issues. This did not mean it paid no attention to the outside world, but rather that it adapted its own way of working within the increasingly complex international business community. That we nationalized natural resources didn’t unduly ruffle supply or demand (although not without political costs), nor did Mexico’s non-interventionist foreign policy prevent us from being seen as a respectable nation and a “moral” one. Mexico’s lonely stand against the Anschluss, and its stand in the League of Nations against Italian aggression in Ethiopia, and it’s refusal later to join the U.S. led boycott of Cuba, may have been quixotic, but given it’s traditions, Mexico could do no other.

Finally, I would point out that since the Revolution, and Alvaro Obregon’s forumaltion of the Revolutionary Family to include all those who fought in the Revolution, regardless of economic ideology, Mexico has pursued an “flexible” political ideology. Millionaires and peasants, farmers and landlords, workers and employers… everyone with the Revolution was absorbed into the family. The family becoming the PRI. There was here (less abroad) talk that AMLO was just the “old PRI”… but that’s not a bad thing. The “old PRI” — for all its faults (and they were legion) — did promote economic an social growth. There was a 5% per year rise in GNP in the last years before NAFTA, followed by an anemic 1 or 2 percent rise in the years since. What made the difference? The neo-liberal wing of the PRI gained control of what was a big tent (a very big tent) authoritarian party. There was always a leftist cohort within the PRI and not all left when the PRD became the presumed party of the left. Many, like Beatriz Rangel, who during her short tenure as Party Chair renewed ties with Socialist International, stayed for the simple reason that the PRI was the party that was able to get things done. That the PRI dominated government was not a problem simply resolved by electing the anti-Revolutionary PAN to the Presidency, nor by absorbing what had been the disappointed PRI-istas turned PRDistas into one large party whose salient point was “we’re not PRI”… other than that, they might as well have been.

The voters said enough to pleasing other nations, or a small self-proclaimed elite. They showed a lack of respect to their neighbors, and it was, among neighbors, that Mexicans overwhelmingly voted to respect their neighbors and demand respect for themselves.

The people, yes!

1 July 2018

Illegal aliens?

30 June 2018

The brothers Yayo and Payo Rodríguez achieved national prominence when on the morning of August 19, 1965, at eight o’clock in the morning, they claimed having witnessed the landing of a sizeable glowing disk on an open field near the Politécnico’s campus. The otherworldly vehicle allegedly charred vegetation as it settled to the ground on its tripodal landing gear. As if the landing of this spaceship, drawn straight from My Favorite Martian, wasn’t enough, the Brothers Rodríguez also claimed that a pair of diminutive beings wearing respirators of some kind emerged from the craft and walked up to the terrified students, depositing at their feet a metallic object. The dwarfish “away team” returned silently to their conveyance, which took to the air in a matter of seconds.

The Rodríguezes delivered the putative extraterrestrial fragment to the campus laboratory, where it was apparently subjected to analysis by investigators. According to an article in Mexico’s El Gráfico newspaper (defunct) a few days later, a number of journalists and photgraphers from different media organizations visited the site, where burn marks were plainly visible and where traces of a curious liquid, characterized as “fuel” were found. Despite the good physical evidence, Yayo and Payo were not considered credible witnesses. Even Dr. Santiago García, in his landmark book OVNIS Sobre México, would headline his chapter on the Rodríguez case as “¿de cual fumarían?” (“which did they smoke?”).

Scott Corrales, “Mexico: UFOs of the 1960s ” Inexplicada, the Journal of Hispanic Ufology, 12 June 2018

By the way… a few thoughts in passing

27 June 2018

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A lawyer for Joaquin Guzman, the Mexican drug lord known as “El Chapo,” said Tuesday that he believed US prosecutors had evidence that his client was a mere “lieutenant” in Sinaloa Cartel, not a leader as prosecutors claim.

On the one hand, the U.S. (and Mexican, and … well … everyone) has been claiming Chapo is the Lex Luthur of the narcotics export industry, and on the other that he’s just some hillbilly from backwoods Sinaloa. Nothing says that hillbillies can’t be highly intelligent and unusually gifted when it comes to cunning, but c’mon… ever been to rural Sinaloa. There’s no money there, and it’s always been doubtful that anywhere near the supposed billions (trillions?) of dollars in that branch of agrobusiness is coming back to the supposed masterminds. Sure, you see some fancy cars and gold chains, but that’s the standard uniform for gangsters everywhere, whether they have the money or not (and Chapo has never been known as a flashy type… that’d be Donald Trump’s various “business associates” over the years).

Given that a “cartel” is just a price-fixing argreement among competitors in the same line of business (think OPEC) the whole idea of labeling criminal organizations (even when they cooperate) as a “cartel” was always kind of silly…. though not wquite as silly as labeling them “Transnational Criminal Organizations”.

If you’re looking for the “head” of the “cartel”… there isn’t one. That kind of international commerce isn’t run by hillbillies, cunning or not, working with various gangs. It’s run by the same old rich white guys in offices in New York or London or Amsterdam, that have controlled the international agricultural markets for centuries.

A federal judge in Mexico yesterday barred the import of fresh potatoes from the United States on national security and biosecurity grounds.

The decision, made by José Francisco Pérez Mier of the Seventh District Court in Los Mochis, Sinaloa — a potato-producing state, overturned a 2016 decision adopted by the Secretariat of Agriculture (Sagarpa) to allow potato imports from Mexico’s northern neighbor.

The judge said that Sagarpa’s reform to the Federal Law on Plant Health was unconstitutional because it didn’t include measures to protect against the introduction of plant diseases and therefore posed a threat to national sovereignty and security and crops such as chiles, tomatoes, eggplants and tobacco.

The domestic potato industry could disappear if fresh potato imports from the United States continue, Pérez said.

Potato Pro News

This is being presented in most US reports I’ve seen (and in the English language media here) as some kind of retaliation to the Trump Administration’s anti-Latin and anti-Mexican policies. Congrats to Potato Pro News for recognizing that the issues have less to do with a fit of pique, and more to do with public health and food security. The timing is just a coincidence, and potato imports, while hardly the sexiest of issues, has been a back-and-forth legal issue here for at least the last 15 years.

En Cancún, Quintana Roo, ocurre la “desintegración de las familias porque los padres trabajan en la industria turística con horarios complicados”, señaló el director del Consejo de Promoción Turística estatal, Darío Flota.

Dario Flota, Director of the State Tourism Promotional Council, said in Cancun (more or less) that family disintergration is a result of the work schedules for tourism industry employees

La Jornada

Backed up by United Nations data, Flota is referring to the growing phenomenon of “latchkey kids”… unsupervised children, left to their own devises because their parents are at work. Unlike in the US… where crocodile tears over children “abandoned” by their parents to seek refuge in that country… When a tourism official is calling for changes in how tourism industry operators (hotels, restaurants, clubs, etc.) schedule work so that parents can have sufficient time to spend with their children, it shows the genuine importance Latin culture places on family, and calls into question the assumption that parents have just sent off their children to seek refuge in the United States for mere financial reasons.

Faith based voters…

26 June 2018

Not what I would expect. AMLO does well, very well, among the most devout (measured by the frequency of church attendance) although Anaya does better among Evangelical Protestants than AMLO, even though AMLO’s coalition includes the openly Evangelical “Social Encounter” Party. And… very surprising to me… Anaya actually gets a better percentage of the vote among the unchurched, although given AMLO’s quasi-biblical language at times (and his first presidential run, which took its name (“For the good of all, but first the poor”) directly from Liberation Theology. Perhaps Anaya comes across as “goody-goody” whereas AMLO comes across as Godly?

Sombrero tip to Rodolfo Soriano N.

Empire blues

23 June 2018

Once a culture buys into its own right to empire, it doesn’t matter whether the government is “liberal” or “conservative”… they may sell exploitation and justify their sense of entitlement over the “colonials” in different words… but that doesn’t let the imperialists off the hook.