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mexico: disillusioned or reality? September 3, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in politics.
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In case you did not notice, Mexico is undergoing a second revolution in six years. The battle between the leftist candidate Lopez Obrador, a former Mexico City mayor, and Felipe Calderon, the incumbent government’s candidate, is somewhat reminiscent of the American elections of 2000. The exception that makes this “tiff” much more interesting is that the “losing” candidate and his supporters actually care. For almost two months now Obrador and his supporters have been marching around Mexico City and camped outside the historic Zocalo since July 30. After only been awarded a partial recount that still favoured Calderon, Obrador has recently threatened to set up a parallel government on the streets.

I find Mexican history fascinating. You start with the richness and mystery of the Olmecs, the Teotihuacan, and then of course the Maya and Toltec civilizations, culminating in the Aztec (or Mexica) empire. The story of Spanish conquest is one of greed and deception which would set the stage for politics in Mexico for the next five hundred years. Mexican independence at the start of the 19th century would lead to a clash with their northern neighbours which would see the secession of Texas and what we now know as Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah.

What I find the most interesting about the latter part of the 20th century is how the “champions of democracy” (United States) and “little D” (Canada) did not mind making a deal with what was a one-party state in NAFTA. Okay, so it is not surprising because it is the United States, but one has to wonder whether the PRI administration in Mexico would have been considered part of the “axis of evil” by the current Bush administration. I have actually been wondering what the qualifications for the prestigious club are. Anything I can think of is easily dismissed by the nations named by the “good” administration. No bother, maybe that is a discussion I can talk about elsewhere. Back to Mexico.

The end of the PRI in Mexico was supposed to be the end to all things corrupt. But as we see with any form of government, especially fledgling democracies, this is hardly the case. Vincente Fox, the first president of the open democratic system was and is plagued with numerous accusations of corruption. The most serious accusation would be the latest one driven by Obrador which stated that President Fox had a hand in the fraudulent elections. Of course any evidence for this would probably be circumstantial and would probably not hold up in a court of law – although who knows if Obrador is going to set up a parallel judiciary as well.

I personally like the idea of a divisive nation. What good is unity if it only supported one half of a nation? Is a country stronger because half of its citizens simply throw up their hands and say, for the good of their country, they will be governed by a potentially fraudalent leader? But even if Calderon has done no such thing, does that still make Obrador’s hypothetical parallel government illegitimate?

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