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, April 28, 2005

Cabinet reshuffle opens way for dialogue, maybe

I wouldn't want to be too optimistic, but the stalemate between Fox and AMLO might be nearing an end and dialogue might be near. As I mentioned yesterday, AMLO asked to meet with the President to discuss the political situation. Yesterday, Fox agreed to meet one-on-one with the Mexico City Mayor.

In part, this is possible because Fox accepted the resignation yesterday of the AG and 12 of his closest staff, including the Deputy AG who handled the case against AMLO. The former general who held the AG position said he did not want to be a political obstacle to Fox and the resolution of the crisis created by the desafuero. AMLO was pleased to hear about the resignation.

According to legal experts, the AG's office has until Thursday to re-present its case against Lopez Obrador before the judge that rejected it last week. According to Fox's speech, the AG's office, under new leadership, will need to thoroughly review the file.

Disturbing, though, is the warning from ex-PRIsta, ex-PRDista Porfirio Muñoz Ledo who appeared with Lopez Obrador at the March of Silence on Sunday. He warned AMLO that his opponents would still want to remove him from the 2006 race and that "accidents happen." Here's his exchange with the reporter from La Jornada:
LJ: ¿Violencia?, ¿magnicidios?

PML: No quiero ser catastrofista y espero que nada ocurra, pero 1994 está muy cercano. Por ello, hay que reducir enconos y promover diálogos. Podemos hacer pactos indispensables antes de las elecciones.

That last bit is a reference to the assination of the President Secretary General (2nd in command) of the PRI and the PRI's presidential candidate in 1994 in the months leading up to the election.

posted by Michelle @ 9:36 AM,


At 4/28/2005 10:24 AM, Blogger S said...

Do you think Mexico would explode into social crisis if AMLO were to be assassinated?

At 4/28/2005 2:50 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Good question. I think it would be pretty hard to contain the frustration of many. Part of the problem, I think, is the same with all personalistic leaders. Though AMLO has a party, it's not clear who in the party could step forward to keep his supporters calm (certainly not Cardenas). Granted, there are some within the party who control large groups that have heretofore supported AMLO, but I don't think there's one figure who could coordinate them all.

I'm skeptical that full scale riots would occur. It just doesn't seem likely. The economy is ok, and I can't imagine crazy violence like other Latin American countries.

On the other hand, I think the financial markets would go haywire. After the March of Silence, the Mexican stock market actually rebounded--probably because investors realized AMLO could contain his supporters. I think if something happened to AMLO, investors would panic (better the devil you know that the one you don't). The ensuing economic crisis (or devaluation) might lead to just the type of riots seen in Argentina after their devaluation. Then, market skepticism could become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

At 4/29/2005 2:17 PM, Anonymous Miguel said...

IMHO, both an assasination attempt and civil unrest are EXTREMELY UNLIKELY. First of all, we're not a banana republic, having coups d'etat left and right. That's more South America (One does not think less of the U.S. because of Mr. Kennedy's assasination). Second, Mr. Lopez is not that popular. His national support stands around 34% and this masks severe regional differences. He polls 2nd and third in the North and West, respectively, which are huge parts of the country, where he is not just unpopular, but ridiculed and hated (Just look at a map! The North runs from Tijuana to Tampico and the West is the triangle between Nayarit, Lazaro Cardenas and San Luis Potosi). Mr. Lopez polls very well in Mexico City (not in the suburbs, though) and in parts of the poor South. I cannot fanthom national riots breaking out with such localized support.

At 4/29/2005 4:39 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Good points, Miguel.


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