Dirty Tricks in Mexico

by Miguel de Icaza

I have been considering for a while to write about the creative coup being cooked in Mexico. It is a creative coup, because nobody had thought of this before. If there is one area where we mexicans excel is in coming up with some crooked schemes. This time is the turn of President Fox.

President Fox is using a technicality on a minor issue to block his strongest opponent from running on the upcoming elections.

I envision many countries will be able to follow Mexico's leadership on this new twist on bringing improved democracy to their people. The trick is simple: make sure to sue your opponent shortly before he presents his candidacy for the elections. You must ensure that your country has, or passes a law that will allow you to keep people under investigation to run for office.

Laura Carlsen's article gets to the facts quickly and with no verbiage.

A few selected quotes:

When Vicente Fox ended the 71-year reign of Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party in the 2000 presidential elections, many observers heralded it as the beginning of a long-overdue transition to democracy. Now President Fox, in a concerted effort with members of the former ruling party, has closed the door on that transition.

By orchestrating a pseudo-legal offensive against Mexico City's popular mayor, Andr�s Manuel L�pez Obrador, Fox has not only dashed the hopes of Mexicans for a real democracy, but has also destroyed the political capital he gained back in 2000.

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Mexico City's central square to protest Congres's decision to strip L�pez Obrador of immunity to prosecution granted elected officials. The mayor will now stand trial for allegedly failing to follow a court order to halt work on an access road to a local hospital. According to the federal attorney general's office, the government will likely put L�pez Obrador behind bars, as a "preventive measure," before the trial even starts.

The president and his Secretary of State initially claimed that they were not involved in this activity, until the details about the secret meeting between them and a federal Judge came to light exposing the complot. Oops. They blamed the opposition for `politicizing' the issue.

The trial for Andr�s Manuel is over a minor problem (read the article for the details), and you have to wonder about priorities.

In the meantime, Fox has yet to answer to various charges of corruption in his administration involving his own campaign, Petroleos Mexicanos (the state owned oil company), his special properties, the use of federal resources for his personal use and the Cuban scandal.

The Cuban scandal is probably the best, it is like Watergate but ten times bigger: infiltration, complots, video-taping, bribery, federal agents concocting against the opposition parties. It has it all. The only difference is that nothing is happening to Fox.

On the economic side, the last week saw the largest capital transfer out of the country since the 1994 depression (the one that would bring the dollar price from 3 to 10 pesos).

So we are dealing with a special kind of weasel here: a dumb weasel.

The Independent story is here

Edd is back from Lebanon.

Edd, who was the first person to tell me that Lebanon was a great place to visit, just came back from his second trip to Lebanon. He posted parts of his travel log and some pictures on his blog.

Posted on 10 Apr 2005