Saturday, September 1, 2012

Mexico gets final "state of the nation" address from Felipe Calderón, amid rising tensions; YoSoy 132 spares no one

"Las autoridades electorales mandaron al diablo a la Constitución - The electoral court sent the constitution to hell" - Ricardo Monreal, PRD senator

Mérida, July 7: "If there is no justice for the people, there will be no peace for the government"

Mérida, Yucatán
Mexico is a nation simmering tonight.

Today marked both a beginning and an end. It's the beginning of the last 90 days of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa's sexenio, the stormy six year voyage on which the PAN president embarked Dec. 1, 2006. Historians, professionals and amateurs alike, will forever analyze and judge FCH's presidency based upon his National Security Strategy - "Calderón's drug war," as it's referred to by detractors here and abroad. About that there cannot be the slightest doubt.

Once a year Mexican presidents give a report to the bicameral legislature in this country (a senate and a house of deputies, very similar to their U.S. counterparts). It's called an informe, and it's much like the American president's State of the Union address every January. Calderón did so today, through his secretary of government (the standard method of transmission). It was the last one he'll ever have to deliver.

Another end of sorts - at least a legal end - was also on everyone's mind. Yesterday Mexico's federal electoral court ruled that the winner of the nation's July 1 presidential contest was indeed 46 year old Enrique Peña Nieto (surprise, surprise), and that his claims of "institutional fraud" notwithstanding, leftist runner-up Andrés Manuel López Obrador would not get another chance (a third chance) to capture Los Pinos.

Today Ricardo Monreal, a PRD power-house, whipped up the senate when he told its members that the electoral court had "sent the constitution to hell" by its ruling. This, from an attorney who holds a doctorate in constitutional law. It's a good thing he's protected by Mexico's equivalent of the Speech and Debate Clause. It's a good thing too they don't have bar disciplinary committees here. You can say pretty much whatever you want in this country, for better or for worse. Not that it ever changes anything, or that anybody ever really listens to anybody else. But political protesting is in the blood, and has been perfected to a fine art. It's almost a national sport, like bullfighting.

YoSoy 132 took to the streets again today in Mexico City, no doubt to rehearse for AMLO's next Big Show on Sept. 9. Their language was colorful and spirited, at least based upon a Milenio sound bite this evening, in which they freely launched "puta madre" rockets in all directions. For those wishing to expand their Spanish vocabulary, an accurate translation would be "mother-fuckers." There's nothing so stimulating as reasoned political debate at the grass-roots level.

But YoSoy didn't stop with just the electoral court and Enrique Peña Nieto. That would have been far too predictable. On the occasion of his final report to Mexico's congress, YS spokesmen lashed out at the president, calling FCH a coward for having taken on the drug cartels. I'll resist the temptation to respond to that.

Yes, tonight Mexico is simmering.

Le Monde lashes out at Mexico's "spiral of barbarism" - and takes a swipe at U.S.
Mexican voters got suckered on drug war
80% of Mexicans still approve of Felipe Calderón's drug war strategy
Yo NO Soy's "summer of discontent"
Struggle against drug cartels, organized crime will be Calderón's legacy
Why the Calderón strategy has been the right one
Why the Los Angeles Times just doesn't get it

Many are worn out and scratching their heads in confusion, with no end in sight to the political drama


  1. Linked below is a Reuters photo with a caption describing a protest in Merida against gov't failure to control organized crime in Merida. ¿Is there an evidentiary basis for this caption? ~eric.

  2. I wish I could answer that question, Eric, but I wasn´t at the event. I´m across the country, in Guadalajara, and probably will be for a number of months.

    I did read a Diario de Yucatán article flying west today, which said that YoSoy 132 protesters gathered last night (Sunday, Sept. 2) at the Siglo XXI Convention Center to stage a counter response to outgoing PRI Governor Ivonne Ortega Pacheco's final "State of the State" address. Some of them claimed they were roughed up a bit by local police contingents, but the whole account was pretty lame. If I thought some real police abuse had occurred I would have written an article about it, but I don't have enough to justify one.

    As for Reuters' account of a supposed Saturday (Sept. 1) anti-EPN rally in Merida, I don't know anything about that, either. But if you look at my previous YoSoy stories, I've got photos much like the Reuters' shot.

    Unfortunately, that one photo could have been of the ONLY protester at the rally! Not likely, of course, but the point is that a single photo really tells the reader nothing about what happened. Observe how brief the accompanying "story" is, too. That photo might have even been taken by a local "stringer," as they're called - a free-lancer who gets paid peanuts for an occasional shot or two (usually enough for a cheap dinner). All I know for a fact is that Reuters didn't cover the three "big" YoSoy events in Merida in May and June. I was there, and I did, but no other English press reported on those marches.

    As for the allegation that the Mexican government (federal? state?) has failed to control organized crime in Merida, I have no basis for an opinion one way or the other. But I do know this - every single Meridan with whom I have ever discussed this issue, and I mean EVERY single one (Mexicans, all of them, from the poorest of the poor to very successful business entrepreneurs to people with advanced academic degrees) have told me that Merida is THE city in Mexico where retired narco bosses and their top lieutenants (bankers, lawyers, money launderers, etc.) come to retire and live in peace. And a few have told me that not all of them are yet retired. So both Merida and Yucatán have that retired "God Father" reputation, whether or not it's true.

    BTW- I wrote a collateral story on that topic months ago, which you can read here:
    Yucatán a haven for Mexican fugitives,

  3. Thanks for responding, Ed. Perhaps their is a truce called in Merida. If so, I hope it holds! ~eric.