La Profesora Abstraída

Weblog of Michelle Dion, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, at McMaster University. My blog has moved to Visit my other website.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Cardenas claims he's the only hope for the left.

That's the headline in an article from La Jornada based on a recent interview with Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Solórzano.

For those that don't know, Cardenas was a PRIista earlier in life. His father was the famous leftist Mexican president, Lazaro Cardenas, who is usually credited with creating the tripartite (labor, peasants, middle classes) corporatist system of the PRI which helped the party maintain power for seven decades. In the mid-1980s, young Cardenas (though I guess he wasn't really that young even then) left the PRI with a group of other PRIistas, who were collectively known as the Democratic Current within the party. They were in part upset with the party's direction and that the Cardenas group was unlikely to have significant influence (i.e., get to pick) the PRI's presidential candidate for the 1988 elections. They were sore losers, so they left. Cardenas launched his own campaign for President, and probably won, except that the central vote counting machine in Mexico City 'broke' for a week, and when the final results were announced, Salinas, the PRI candidate had won with a narrow margin (less than a couple of percent). Cardenas was robbed of the presidency, or so many Mexicans believe.

Since then, he organized the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) and has run as that party's candidate in 1994 and 2000. In many ways, the PRD has been his party.

Until recently.

The current mayor of Mexico City, AMLO or peje or Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has become the most popular political figure of the PRD. Most expect him to be elected president in 2006, that is, if he's allowed to run. The Fox administration has been trying to disqualify him by accusing him of criminal activity related to an unfinished highway project in the city. The city government appropriated land, the appropriation was challenged in court, the court issued an injunction to stop construction, and allegedly construction was not stopped. AMLO has been accused of ignoring a court injunction by allowing the road construction to continue. For Professors Ackerman, this conflict has become a crucial issue for the future of democracy in Mexico.

Anyway, back to Mr. Cardenas. He's no longer the political cat's meow; he has been replaced by AMLO. And how does he respond? By saying that he's the only politician able to bring the PRD together and to win in 2006. How is that possible? According to Cardenas:

El PRD se va a presentar. No creo que haya desafuero. El PRD se va a presentar y creo que yo voy a ganar la elección. Creo que soy la única posibilidad que existe en la izquierda de construir una mayoría política en torno de mi candidatura....No es que se empeñe. Vamos a ir a una elección interna entre los perredistas y ahí habrá una decisión democrática.

He's referring to the PRD internal primaries. He thinks he can win those, and maybe he can. Maybe party members will remain loyal to Cardenas, though he's clearly not the most popular PRDista available. Or maybe Cardenas is confused.

posted by Michelle @ 9:53 AM,


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