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.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Geez...would they just get on with the desafuero already

Today, the Chamber of Deputies was supposed to vote on the desafuero of Mexico City Mayor AMLO. You see, he (or someone under him) ignored a court order to stop building a road (quite near my host university, as a matter of fact) on an expropriated piece of land. The road was a short cut to a private hospital.

(I recognized the road on the way to VIPS for lunch, a Wal-Mart owned Denny's-like chain; you can't avoid Wal-Mart in Mexico. I only recognized the road because last fall, I saw a news program where they were interviewing a gardener about how fast the grass would grow on that slope, as a means of estimating when construction on the road stopped. I have a picture. I'll post it sometime.)

So now, the powers that be in the national government (the PAN and PRI parties) want to desafuero AMLO, or remove his immunity from prosecution as a public official.

Why would they want to do this? Because AMLO leads the polls as the most popular candidate from any political party for the Presidency in 2006. Oh, and he's a lefty. So the PAN and PRI have banded together (no wait, they denied any collusion) to desafuero AMLO and effectively make him ineligible to run for President.

So today was supposed to be one of the first votes. And it has been delayed until Friday. [read: they need more time to negotiate some back-door deals]

All this, while the markets are getting nervous. I'm not really sure just why the markets are nervous. Sure, 80% of Mexico City residents are against the desafuero, and in a country where bumper stickers are rare, people have attached homemade signs to their cars against the desafuero. (And since they have enough money to have a car, they are at least middle class.)

The markets shouldn't be nervous because AMLO is doing nothing to mobilize the millions of people who support him. It's quite astonishing really. He could be making speeches and urging his supporters to storm Congress, but instead he is calm and resigned.

Even more ridiculous is the claim that the attorney general's office is keeping an eye on AMLO to make sure that he doesn't flee prosecution. AMLO has said he'll run for President from jail; why do they need to watch him? It's all hype.

And AMLO's the only one coming out looking good in all this. He'll let himself be martyred to prove his point: the PAN and PRI are intent on keeping power, through legal schenanigans if necessary. I don't understand how the PAN and the PRI can miss it. It seems so obvious, and I'm not even Mexican.

posted by Michelle @ 10:20 PM,


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