Saturday, April 30, 2005
George Bush on Social Security reform
posted by Michelle @ 2:47 PM, 0 comments
This will do nothing for the PRI's credibility
Now, Chuayffet is saying Lopez Obrador should be given back his fuero. (I can't resist, it just makes me think of Power's mojo.)
According to La Jornada
El fracaso en el intento por inhabilitar al jefe de Gobierno del Distrito Federal provocó el cambio de discurso de Emilio Chuayffet Chemor, uno de los principales promotores de ese proceso, quien manifestó que los diputados "tenemos que devolverle el fuero. Andrés Manuel (López Obrador) debe gozar plenamente de su fuero".
More later. I'm going out to see if I can find some AMLO souvenirs. Wish me luck.
posted by Michelle @ 2:43 PM, 0 comments
Friday, April 29, 2005
UK seeks new "Q"
As a Bond fan (the books and the Sean Connery version), I enjoyed this story on Marketplace about a job announcement for a modern Q.
Pierce Brosnan is o.k., but there must be someone else who would be better. Brian and I regularly debate the alternatives. Who do you think would be the next great Bond? I'm partial to Hugh Jackman.
posted by Michelle @ 7:55 PM, 3 comments
NPR's ATC had this follow-up story to the Minutemen in Arizona.
posted by Michelle @ 6:45 PM, 0 comments
One picture says it all
Below is a photo of Fox and his First Lady taken yesterday. Note the look of disdain and supressed grimace on the faces of the two social security workers behind them.
Photo in print and e-editions of La Jornada.
posted by Michelle @ 4:28 PM, 0 comments
The political fallout...
What happens when a political leader convinces members of his party and those of another to pursue one strategy but then uses a different strategy himself? Lots of finger pointing.
Wednesday and yesterday President Fox indicated that he would meet with Lopez Obrador in an effort to clear up the political problems between the two men. Fox appeared to be relieved that things are going well so far.
Yesterday, accusations began to fly on all sides.
Beginning with the PRI. The PRI is now worried about their credibility and that they will be left holding the desafuero bag:
Los cambios de la estrategia gubernamental sobre Andrés Manuel López Obrador propiciaron ayer un ambiente de preocupación y encono contra Vicente Fox y el Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) entre las filas del priísmo duro que impulsó la inhabilitación del gobernante capitalino. Incluso, entre ese ambiente comenzaron a surgir voces para convocar de manera urgente y sin agenda a una reunión con Roberto Madrazo y su seguidor, Emilio Chuayffet, con objeto de explicar la naturaleza del arreglo político con Fox y el blanquiazul, porque tal hecho coloca al Revolucionario Institucional en una profunda crisis de credibilidad.
PRIista Chuayfett, and congressional leader of the PRI desafuero vote, now says:
"La política y la legalidad no están excluidas, de suerte que podemos encontrar soluciones a problemas políticos, sin que esto represente truncar la legalidad".
This from the party that claimed before that the law was the law, that no one was above the law, and that the desafuero was a legal not political question. No wonder they are worried about credibility.
Even better is the quote from a PRIista who voted against the deafuero in early April:
"Cuando yo dije que la historia me iba a dar la razón, pensé que sería dentro de 20 años, pero me la dio en 20 días".
Trans: When I said that historia was going to prove me right, I thought it would be in 20 years, but it was within 20 days.
President of the PRI and presidential hopeful, Roberto Madrazo, criticized Fox's recent announcements, saying the President's announcement was strange and that:
"...después de que hace cuando menos 12 meses se vive una confrontación estéril entre el Presidente y el jefe de Gobierno, que ha sumido al país en una verdadera confusión que comienza a amenazar la gobernabilidad democrática."
So now it's Fox who is threatening governability in Mexico. Interesting twist, if you believe the PRIistas.
And the PAN has not been unaffected either.
Yesterday, in Congress, several PANistas openly criticized Fox and Secretary of State Creel. One of the PANistas who actively supported the desafuero in the Chamber of Deputies pleaded with his colleagues to remain loyal to the party:
Desde la noche del miércoles y la mañana de este jueves, antes de la sesión ordinaria, el ánimo en la bancada del PAN era de desconcierto y enojo, a tal grado que en la plenaria matutina el mismo Juan de Dios Castro que hace 22 días, vociferante, defendió desde tribuna el juicio de procedencia y argumentó que podía adivinar las ''intenciones criminales'' del jefe de Gobierno, ayer pidió a sus compañeros ''lealtad'' al partido y respaldar la decisión del presidente Fox.
Some PANistas are even calling for Creel's resignation. Included in this group is PANista Juan Molinar Horcasitas, who also happens to be a political scientist with a Ph.D. from UCSD.
posted by Michelle @ 3:58 PM, 0 comments
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Polling and social security
Paul has a very nice comparison of question framing, social security, and the interpretation of poll results at the Public Brewery. He shows how Fox frames questions in a way that is more likely to get responses in favor of Bush's plan, while ABC/WP pollsters have a more neutral frame. He also compares the leads used in the poll stories.
This is a very good example. I'm going to bookmark it for the next time I teach American Government in Comparative Perspective (yes, I do teach that occasionally, as strange as it seems).
posted by Michelle @ 7:30 PM, 2 comments
Profesora quoted on Slate.com
Bidisha Banerjee writes in "In Location Parentis":
La Profesora Abstraída's Michelle Dion, who lives in Mexico City, points out that Porfirio Muñoz Ledo, an ex-member of the PRI party, which opposes Fox, has warned Obrador "that his opponents would still want to remove him from the 2006 race and that 'accidents happen.'
Note...PML was also a member of the PRD and recently attended the AMLO March of Silence. The statement was less a threat and more a friendly warning.
posted by Michelle @ 6:40 PM, 1 comments
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
posted by Michelle @ 9:36 AM, 4 comments
President Fox addresses nation, AG & some staff step down
Last night, Fox addressed the nation on television to announce that the Attorney General has resigned. First, here are the important parts of his speech. Analysis will follow.
El Presidente de México cree en la democracia y ha luchado gran parte de su vida, con millones de ciudadanos, para hacerla realidad en su patria.
Hoy, estoy convencido de que no hay mejor camino para hacer de México un país más libre, más participativo y más justo.
Fortalecer nuestra naciente democracia es la más alta responsabilidad que nos exige la realidad política del país. A todos nos compete contribuir a esta noble causa.
Siempre será mejor para nuestro México nuestra disposición al diálogo y no al desafío; nuestro propósito de conciliar y no de dividir. Nuestro futuro como país será promisorio si somos capaces de coincidir en lo fundamental en vez de confrontar estérilmente.
Como Jefe del Estado mexicano me corresponde promover la unidad del pueblo en defensa de las instituciones, de la legalidad y de los valores democráticos.
Quiero informarles que he decidido aceptar la renuncia que me ha presentado el Procurador General de la República, Rafael Macedo de la Concha....
... La Procuraduría revisará de manera exhaustiva el expediente de consignación del Jefe de Gobierno del Distrito Federal, buscando preservar dentro del marco de la ley la mayor armonía política del país.
Como gobernante, una de mis mayores preocupaciones ha sido ampliar los derechos de las y los ciudadanos, y adaptar nuestra legislación al derecho internacional.
En la iniciativa de Reforma Integral de Justicia y Seguridad, presentada por el Ejecutivo el año pasado, ya se contemplan la garantía de presunción de inocencia y la autonomía del Ministerio Público.
Además, he decidido enviar a la consideración del Congreso, una iniciativa para resguardar los derechos de los ciudadanos sujetos a juicio, en tanto no se dicte sentencia final y definitiva.
Ambas reformas contribuirán a dar certeza jurídica a los ciudadanos que enfrentan procesos legales.
Como Presidente de un país democrático, asumo mi deber de garantizar, en el ámbito de mis atribuciones, que el proceso electoral del 2006 sea legítimo y que cada partido político participe en un ámbito de apertura, de respeto, sometidos todos a la ley y en defensa de nuestras instituciones.
Mi Gobierno a nadie impedirá participar en la próxima contienda federal.
El compromiso que todos compartimos es a favor de la democracia y sólo con apego a la ley y mediante el diálogo podremos alcanzar la unidad y el progreso.
He begins by mentioning the importance of strengthening Mexico's young democracy. Then, he says he has accepted the AG's resignation. The AG's office will thoroughly review the AMLO file to determine the next step. He mentions to legal reforms that he has or will submit to Congress. One would provide for the presumption of innocence, and the other would protect accused rights (presumably including political rights, like the right to run for office) until a case is resolved definitively. He claims that his government will not prevent anyone from participating in the 2006 elections.
Until a new AG is formally approved by Congress, Fox's legal advisor will be heading the AG's office.
posted by Michelle @ 9:23 AM, 0 comments
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Should I be nervous?
That someone at the State Department keeps reading my blog?
posted by Michelle @ 10:43 AM, 5 comments
...what you've all been waiting for.
AMLO returned to work on Monday. The President's office and the Deputy Attorney General continue to claim that he should not be at work. While legal scholars say otherwise.
The judge in the case rejected the AG's bid to bring charges against AMLO without arresting him by allowing a couple of PANistas to pay his bail. The AG's office will have to resubmit the charges, and formally arrest AMLO. The AG was hoping to avoid an arrest, which would enable AMLO to play the martyr.
There's been more talk of 'negotiation' and 'dialogue.' AMLO called for a dialogue with President Fox during the March of Silence on Sunday. Since then, the President's office has indicated they are willing to meet with AMLO when and where he proposed. Various leaders of the PAN and PRI support the idea of a dialogue. Of course, many people are skeptical of Fox's sincerity.
posted by Michelle @ 10:20 AM, 0 comments
And I thought my visa delays were bad...
Ok. I've been waiting for my work visa here in Mexico since August, in part due to a mistake by the Secretary for Foreign Relations here. They sent my paperwork to El Paso, rather than Austin. And since then, I've had to give them my passport and photos, etc. several times. For instance, my photos were accepted one month, then rejected a month later because my hair was down even though you could clearly see my ears.
Anyway, the U.S. Embassy here in Mexico city usually processes 2,000 appointments for a visa to go to the U.S. for work or vacation per day. In the entire country, they process 5,000 per day.
Due to staffing cuts, the waiting period for an appointment will be almost 2 months. After than, the time to receive your visa will be another 5 weeks. People who call the 1-900 number (yes, Mexicans pay by the minute) today, will not get an appointment until the 11th of July. Renewals will not get an appointment until June 13. And student or work visas will be seen after May 9th.
Some of the delays are surely due to heightened security checks, but others are caused by the staff cuts (probably because of budget constraints). Overall, however, the delays are likely to hurt commerce as families can't take that trip to Disney World and business reps can't attend meetings to expand cross-border trade.
posted by Michelle @ 10:12 AM, 0 comments
Mexican Senators have been busy bees....
Yesterday, commissions discussed reforms to the financing of Pemex, the state oil company.
They also approved reforms to the extradition law.
Today, they plan to approve legislation to allow Mexicans abroad to vote.
posted by Michelle @ 10:06 AM, 0 comments
Monday, April 25, 2005
How many attended AMLO's rally?
According to the Secretary of Public Security of the DF, 1.2 million attended. According to the national Secretary of Public Security, only 120,000 attended.
What does it look like to you?
Image from La Jornada front page.
Apparently, the march also generated good business for the informal sector, selling t-shirts, banners, and masks. Maybe the desafuero will actually help the economy (read: incredulous).
Image from La Jornada.
The short guy is former president Salinas and the tall guy is Fox.
posted by Michelle @ 9:32 AM, 0 comments
Sunday, April 24, 2005
March of silence in support of AMLO
Today, a million (or more, according to some accounts) Mexicans marched from the equivalent of the White House to the main plaza in Mexico City in support of the Mayor, Lopez Obrador.
Image from El Universal
Image of Paseo de la Reforma from El Universal
Other images. Zocalo 1. Zocalo 2.
Of course, everyone was selling AMLO souvenirs along the way. Sorry to say, we did not get ours. Since the government had no problem deporting foreigners who participated in a Zapatista march years ago, I didn't want to risk showing my very gringa face near the Zocalo today. Though, in hindsight, they might not have noticed me in a group of 1.2 million.
More on his speech later.
posted by Michelle @ 7:47 PM, 0 comments
Mariachi's in U.S. schools
I'm back, but way behind in the news.....
As a warm-up, there's this story about Mariachi classes in public schools.
In my native Austin, several high school's had mariachi bands back in the late 80s and early 90s. In elementary school, I remember putting on Cinco de Mayo presentations for our parents and learning to do dances that are now referred to as 'ballet folklorico'. Nevermind that Cinco de Mayo is almost a non-holiday in Mexico.
posted by Michelle @ 1:38 PM, 0 comments
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Top secret mission...Shhhh.....
No posts will be made until Saturday a.m.
posted by Michelle @ 12:02 PM, 0 comments
More on the desafuero of AMLO
According to the NYTimes, the AG's office finally submitted the case against AMLO to a judge yesterday:
After days of mixed signals from the president, federal prosecutors finally sent their case against the embattled mayor of Mexico City to a judge on Wednesday, but then said the popular left-wing politician would not be arrested and sent to jail.
Instead, the prosecutors said two allies of President Vicente Fox would put up bail money for the mayor, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, keeping him out of prison. The move seemed designed to deny Mr. López Obrador the chance to play the part of a Gandhi or the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., two people to whom he has compared himself.
Version from La Jornada:
''Sin embargo, en lugar de orden de aprehensión, la dependencia pidió una de comparecencia, y manejó en secreto que por la mañana dos militantes panistas pagaron 2 mil pesos de caución que el Ministerio Público Federal autorizó para que el jefe de Gobierno del Distrito Federal no pudiera ser encarcelado.
En absoluto hermetismo, la PGR manejó la existencia del acuerdo ministerial acerca de la caución y el pago de los 2 mil pesos que al filo de las 11 de la mañana realizaron los asambleístas del PAN Jorge Lara y Gabriela Cuevas....
[According to the Deputy AG:] "Dos ciudadanos mexicanos presentaron billete de depósito para que Andrés Manuel López Obrador goce de la libertad provisional desde este momento y, con fundamento en el artículo 416 del Código Federal de Procedimientos Penales que permite que un tercero otorgue garantía, fue aceptada.
Two PANistas were kind enough to pay AMLO's bond so he won't go to jail.
The AG's office turned in the paperwork five minutes before the deadline yesterday. Is this a case of typical Mexican tardiness? Or, as some speculate, did the Deputy AG want a special judge on the case? More about the judge.
In related news, the PRD plans to reform their candidate selection procedures as necessary to ensure that AMLO can run for President in 2006.
posted by Michelle @ 11:59 AM, 0 comments
Resolution to Ecuadorian crisis, redux
According to the NYTimes and Mexico City La Jornada, the Congress removed the president and replaced him with the Vice President in Ecuador.
posted by Michelle @ 11:56 AM, 0 comments
AMLO en Villahermosa
Front page of La Jornada
posted by Michelle @ 8:52 AM, 0 comments
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Last post of the day...
More discussion about allowing mandatory private pension fund administrators (Afores) to invest in the energy sector.
Some argue that pension funds should be investing in Pemex (oil) and CFE (electricity) to help those para-statals (sp?) expand their operations or upgrade their infrastructure. They argue that the pension funds shouldn't be investing abroad.
While domestic savings and investment might have been one of the goals of the pension privatization in Mexico (see book by Raul Madrid), I'm not convinced that investing those funds in Pemex or CFE would be good for future pensioners. Until those companies demonstrate efficient returns and subsidies are eliminated (did I really just say that?), I doubt pensioners would get good returns on their investment. And their pensions are already going to be dismal, even with funds invested abroad.
posted by Michelle @ 10:40 AM, 0 comments
Mexican wages is U.S. rising faster than those of professors
According to an article in La Jornada , salaries for Mexicans working in the U.S. rose by 12.4% last year. That's a lot more than the 1% GATech faculty received in January, which was the first raise since 2002 when our new Governor froze all state employee wages.
The total salaries earned by Mexicans in the U.S. are equivalent to 17.5% of Mexico's GDP. And a larger percentage of those earnings are returning to Mexico as remittances. Expectations are that remittances will bypass tourism as the second leading contributor to Mexico's gross income, second only to petroleum.
posted by Michelle @ 10:34 AM, 0 comments
PAN backs away from anti-immigration bill
The bill that was supposed to be voted on in the Senate yesterday was withdrawn by the PAN who plans to "enrich" the bill before resubmitting it for consideration. They are going to eliminate some vague references to "zones of risk."
posted by Michelle @ 10:32 AM, 0 comments
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Can AMLO go back to work next Monday?
AMLO has announced plans to go back to work next Monday to demonstrate that though he has lost his immunity, he has not been removed from office. In a bizarre twist, the legislators that removed that immunity agree that he still holds office until the AG's office formally files charges against him.
The AG and President's office are taking a harder stance. Both have said that the desafuero not only removed AMLO's immunity, but also removes him from office.
The President's spokeperson, probably in response to the comments made by the Secretary of State yesterday, also announced that the President has not considered pardoning AMLO. Granted, Creel's comments yesterday about a "political arrangement" were vague, but clearly Creel and Fox are not on the same page. (Maybe this is because Creel and Fox's wife both want to be President in 2006.)
In any event, even those that wanted AMLO's desafuero do not agree on his current status. And some may even be trying to backtrack from the political fallout that the desafuero has caused.
Meanwhile, AMLO has stated various times over the last few days that he will not seek revenge when he becomes President against those who voted for the desafuero.
"Si la mayoría de los mexicanos me eligen Presidente, no voy a actuar con venganza ni les voy a fabricar delitos a mis adversarios políticos"...
"'Si hay diferencias, que las hay, en cuanto a concepción de país, en cuanto a proyecto de nación, esas diferencias las tenemos que resolver mediante el método democrático. Es en las elecciones donde el pueblo va a decidir qué candidato, qué partido, qué programa debe prevalecer en nuestro país a partir de las elecciones de 2006"
My interpretation of this? AMLO is trying to tell his political enemies that once he becomes President, he will not try to punish them. Why? It reiterates his confidence that he will be elected. It also provides an incentive for his enemies to soften their stance because they can be assured that the costs of AMLO's victory will not be too high for them. You can think of it in terms of Dahl's cost of suppression versus costs of inclusion in a transition to democracy. You're more willing to allow your enemies to participate if you think the costs of their victory will not be too high.
posted by Michelle @ 10:09 AM, 3 comments
For all you anti-immigration enthusiasts
Today, in the Mexican Senate, the Senators will vote on a law that will enable the government to arrest would-be migrants before they cross the border into the United States.
But, it leaves me wondering, how will they establish "intent" to cross? And how might authorities manipulate such a law to harrass workers or political opponents?
posted by Michelle @ 9:56 AM, 0 comments
Monday, April 18, 2005
As I was saying....
The desafuero conflict is likely to be resolved with some sort of negotiated outcome, in part, because all actors fear the economic consequences if foreign investors get too freaked out. I repeated this claim last week, too.
It seems the Mexican Secretary of State (and would be PAN candidate for President in 2006) agrees with me. In a press conference, Santiago Creel said that the government would wait for the decision of the Supreme Court, but that some sort of "political arrangement" was possible. From the story in El Universal :
En conferencia de prensa, Creel Miranda, en nombre del gobierno federal, planteó la posiblidad de un arreglo político, aunque primero esperaría a conocer las resoluciones del Poder Judicial.
De esa manera, "para ver si hay un campo de acción en donde el presidente de la República pueda intervenir desde el punto de vista político, en los márgenes que permitan las resoluciones de los jueces".
Se buscará una salida política pero sin trastocar el Estado de derecho, precisó.
Primero, insistió, tenemos que esperar a que resuelvan las instancias judiciales que, en su opinión, de ninguna manera han sido rebasadas por este conflicto.
Hmmm....I seem to recall predicting something just like this when I was in Chicago last weekend. I said that they'd negotiate some deal to keep markets calm, and to prevent all hell from breaking loose. I think there was some sort of bet involved, too.....
posted by Michelle @ 9:58 PM, 0 comments
More desafuero news....
Well, not really. Not much is happening, though the attorney general's office, the Presidency, and AMLO are taking turns making statements to the press.
The AG and President's offices are now taking the position that not only did AMLO lose his immunity when the Congress voted, but that he was also immediately removed from his post as Mayor of Mexico City.
For his part, AMLO has said he will be back at work next Monday, after running the city from his home for the last two weeks. This seems to be an attempt to call the AG's bluff and try to get them to request the arrest warrant and get on with the case.
The Supreme Court is still considering two claims, one by the Mexico City council and another by the Chamber of Deputies.
posted by Michelle @ 9:47 PM, 0 comments
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Something to talk about other than the desafuero in Mexico....
First, it seems that legislators are talking about the proposals to reform Mexican labor law again. Proposals have been floating around for the last decade.
"Official" unions, or those affiliated with the PRI, have resisted reforms that might give more space to "unofficial" or "democratic" unions. I put "democratic" in quotes because all unofficial unions are not, by definition, democratic, though most claim to be.
"Unofficial" unions want reforms that will give them more room to organize workers, but fear that a full-fledged reform will reduce protections for workers and unionism, in general.
This is a well-founded fear. Employers have been trying to get formal labor reforms to relax restrictions on lay-offs and restructure union rules.
These differences have led to a stand-off. Everyone wants reform for different reasons, and fears the types of reforms that the other political actors want.
Second, the proposed privatization of public sector pensions is back in the news.
Since the early 1990s, there has been discussion of privatizing public sector worker pensions, but union opposition has blocked reform proposals. (I have a book manuscript that discusses this, if you're interested....) In any event, the Fox administration has drafted a new proposal and has been shopping it around to the unions, which happen to have their own problems. I believe the ISSSTE reform won't go anywhere given the distractions of the desafuero and the jockeying that will begin soon for candidacy for the 2006 presidential elections.
Interesting facts mentioned in the article:
The IMSS privatization is costing the federal government 35% more than expected so far, and costs are expected to rise throughout the next decade.
The average replacement rate so far for the private system is about 45%. To receive the minimum pension (which is 1 minimum wage), middle-class workers (making 5 times the minimum wage) will need to have real returns on their accounts of at least 8% for 25 years of contributions. Real returns have been much, much lower so far.
Not a shining example for privatization, I'm afraid.
posted by Michelle @ 11:24 AM, 0 comments
More music on NPR
This time, on Weekend Edition Sunday. This post is really for Brian, who doesn't really like singer/songers usually. But, I thought the way this guy used computers to loop violin playing was interesting.
posted by Michelle @ 10:50 AM, 0 comments
R. Crumb on NPR
Reclusive Crumb is interviewed about his music interests in this Weekend Edition segment. For me, it made him seem less creepy. I've seen the documentary and looked at the art, and normally, I find (him and) his work unsettling.
posted by Michelle @ 10:36 AM, 0 comments
President Gutierrez in Ecuador has rescinded the state of emergency, but still wants the Supreme Court resolved. Read the NYTimes coverage. Or, coverage in the Ecuadorian press.
posted by Michelle @ 12:25 AM, 0 comments
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Trouble in Quito, Ecuador
Last night, the President dismissed the Supreme Court and declared a state of emergency. Street demonstrations were the precipicating factor for the decree, but conflict has been brewing for a while.
Before being elected in 2002, Lucio Gutierrez was best known for leading a coup attempt in 2000 for which he spent 6 months in jail. In 2002, he ran on a populist-ish platform, but claimed he would respect property rights.
The pre-December 2004 Supreme Court apparently opposed many of President Gutierrez's policies. There was an aborted plan to impeach the President last November.
When the Congress dismissed all but five of the justices last December, Gutierrez had the political backing of former president Abdala Bucaram.
Most recently, the newly appointed Supreme Court has dropped corruption charges against Bucaram, which sparked last week's street protests.
In response the protests, President Gutierrez appeared on national television last night (with military officers standing directly behind him to demonstrate their support) to announce dissolution of the new Supreme Court and the declaration of a state of emergency. The state of emergency eliminates civil liberty protections.
posted by Michelle @ 2:49 PM, 0 comments
The Economist chimes in....finally...
....and it doesn't look good for Fox. The lefist paper, La Jornada, is running a story about the stories in The Economist (sub required) about the desafuero. Of course, it's La Jornada's attempt to emphasize international sentiment against the desafuero. They are also running stories about French socialists against the desafuero and international solidarity behind AMLO in general.
posted by Michelle @ 8:55 AM, 0 comments
Where I went last night....
posted by Michelle @ 5:05 AM, 0 comments
Friday, April 15, 2005
Just what Texas needs...
More crazy people with guns. Let me repeat.
[And I say that as a proud Texan.]
posted by Michelle @ 2:14 PM, 0 comments
More or less free speech...
It seems that demonstrations follow Fox everywhere these days. First, in Acapulco. Now, at a private university in the D.F.
In this case, a 17 year old high school student held up a protest sign ("Se consumó el desafuero, no permitiremos que se consuma la democracia") and yelled at the President during an event at a local private university. (She attends the high school associated with the university.) Other students told her to shut up. And eventually, she was removed from the event, even after presenting her ID to prove she was a student there.
[Update 4/6/205: The student will not be punished in any way, after school officials met with her, her father, and their lawyers.]
posted by Michelle @ 1:48 PM, 0 comments
Desafuero in the Supreme Court
The Court will hear both cases brought before it regarding the desafuero. In the meantime, however, the Attorney General's office can present the case to a judge, and request a warrant for AMLO's arrest. The AG's office is expected to request the warrant sometime next week.
While the court considers the case, both side have begun a public relations campaign to convince the public that they will win their case. As you might imagine, this involves overly optimistic interpretations of any small Court announcement by both sides.
posted by Michelle @ 1:37 PM, 0 comments
Gender bias in academia?
Of course. Though many of my male colleagues are sensitive, warm-fuzzy types (not all, but probably a greater proportion than you'd find in the general population), many still don't understand the subtle gender biases in academia, some of which they inadvertantly help to perpetuate.
Take for example, the comment made to me by a new colleague on hearing that I had just received my Ph.D. before starting my first tenure-track position: "Congratulations. In my field, it takes a white, male an average of seven years to get his first tenure-track position." Well, I could have retorted (had I not been so dumbfounded) that his field is also one of very little practical use these days...
posted by Michelle @ 10:35 AM, 0 comments
Thursday, April 14, 2005
The beginning of the rainy season
Bummer. It's barely 8pm and it's pitch black outside with rain the size of elephant tears. Lovely. It will now rain every afternoon for months.
posted by Michelle @ 9:07 PM, 0 comments
Legislators try to resolve differences the old-fashioned way...with a nice brawl in the lower chamber of Congress
According to the coverage in El Universal, some PRDistas came into the Chamber with a large banner in support of the Mayor which they proceeded to hang on the wall near the PANista wing of the Chamber. The PANistas objected because several of the PRDista group did not appear to be legislators.
PRDista Duarte stepped forward to stay that he, indeed, is a legislator (he also chaired the desafuero committee, so he's not an obscure legislator). PANista Rubén Torres proceed to spit in his face. Torress also apparently spit on another PRDista named Troba. And then the shoving began.
Security was called in to separate the legislators.
Shortly thereafter, all parties involved denied any physical altercation had occurred. (Of course, this is typical....)
Good thing. If someone wanted to press charges, they could be desafuero-ed themselves.
This is why I study Latin American politics, in part anyway.
posted by Michelle @ 6:22 PM, 3 comments
Mexican president visits Acapulco
When President Fox visited Acapulco earlier this week to inaugurate a new tourist market (heck, the entire city is a tourist market), he was not greeted by the Mayor, who is a member of the PRD. The Mayor said it was a personal decision out of loyalty to AMLO. The Governor of the state, who is also a PRD member, did host the President, and they exchanged thinly veiled niceties regarding the desafuero:
Zeferino Torreblanca dio la bienvenida al mandatario federal con un mensaje en donde puntualizó que "la transición hacia una nación de instituciones es un complejo proceso que requiere paciencia, tolerancia y desprendimiento de todos los protagonistas".
Y lo llamó a "profundizar las coincidencias, hacer a un lado las divergencias y lograr que las cosas sean más pactadas que forzadas".
En respuesta, el presidente Fox agradeció al gobernador Torreblanca la invitación a visitar Acapulco, el recibimiento respetuoso que recibió y la disposición del mandatario local a trabajar por las instituciones, el crecimiento económico y el bienestar de los mexicanos.
That exchange is reported in an article from La Jornada .
The article focuses more on the fact that politicians and other attendees to the President's formal visit were made to remove small pins that expressed their support for AMLO. The pins were small red, green, and white striped ribbons like the red ribbons and pink ribbons worn in support of AIDS and breast cancer research funding. Normally, the pins are just worn on Mexican Independence Day in September; I have a couple that have tiny bottles of Corona and Tequila glued to the ribbon. But recently, the ribbons have become a sign of support for AMLO, and apparently anyone wearing such a ribbon was required by the President's security team to remove the ribbon before entering the area of the photo op.
While elites inside the photo op were not allowed to display "their colors," plenty of protestors were waiting outside with signs protesting the desafuero.
It seems that freedom of expression is a right that is selectively protected.
posted by Michelle @ 9:50 AM, 0 comments
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Is the desafuero really a test of Mexican democracy?
I must admit, I'm against the desafuero. However, I'm also tired of everyone framing it as a test of Mexican democracy. As if our conceptions of democracy are so limited. Or that mob rule is the same as democracy. Fujimori in Peru had loads of public support, but he was not very democratic.
Now that the debate has moved to the Supreme Court, the court case protesting the desafuero brought by the Mexico City General Assembly against the national Chamber of Deputies is also being called a test for democracy. A test of the independence of the judicial branch. Yes, it is a test of the judicial branch's independence. But, unfortunately, Mexico has such ill-defined institutions, that it would be hard for the Court to pass a judgement based purely on law or precedent. The Constitution just isn't clear. And so, yes, the Court will probably make a politicized decision. And, yes, it is worrying that the Court has delayed their ruling.
But will the Court's decision be some sort of final litmus test for Mexican democracy? No. Our conception of democracy is so much more complex, or at least it should be.
posted by Michelle @ 11:34 AM, 0 comments
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Wierd Toy of the Month at the Public Brewery
Paul Brewer has a nice blog feature: "The Wierd Toy of the Month." This month's winner is a Talking Jesus Doll. I agree, that's just wierd.
He has winners from previous months, as well.
posted by Michelle @ 1:36 PM, 2 comments
Secretary of Finance praises AMLO's restraint
The Mexican Secretary of Finance recently praised the restraint of AMLO and his followers. Francisco Gil Diaz said that Lopez Obrador and the PRD had been mature in their decision not to encourage disruptive protests. Instead, AMLO and the PRD have encouraged non-violent demonstrations, and specifically urged bus and taxi drivers not to disrupt streets and highways in protest.
Secretary Gil says that the restraint of the PRD has helped minimize market volatility in the last week. The Mexican stock market even gained some of the value it lost immediately before the desafuero of AMLO last Thursday.
All this highlights something I said last weekend, that the political elites will take extreme positions and make fierce proclamations, but that in the end, even the left is worried about the market and foreign investors.
posted by Michelle @ 1:10 PM, 0 comments
An increasing role for the Mexican Supreme Court?
I don't study courts, nor has the Mexican Supreme Court ever seemed like something worth studying. The Mexican Supreme Court has been like most other courts in Latin America, weak compared to the other branches of government. However, I've noticed over the months that I've been here that political actors are regularly appealing to the court to intervene in legal (but really political) disputes.
For instance, the government passed a law last August which essentially overrode the pension provisions of the labor contract of the workers of the national social security institute. The union is strong, independent (sort of), and has fiercely opposed efforts to privatize medical services. The union also has very generous pension benefits. Unable negotiate reductions in these benefits, the government passed a law which would effectively limit pension benefits. The union has appealed the case in the court system, claiming that Congress can not overturn benefits negotiated in a labor contract. I mentioned it briefly before.
Another example. According to labor law, government employees must all belong to one labor federation: the FSTSE. The FSTSE is an official union allied with the PRI, and has been, quite frankly, a poor defender of workers' interests. A leader of one of the teachers' unions, a member union of FSTSE, began organizing a dissident union, la FEDESSP. This leader also happens to be the Secretary General of the PRI and does not get along with the President of the PRI either. As far as I can tell, she doesn't get along with many people. She organized the FEDESSP and the Secretary of Labor under the Fox administration granted them legal status, contrary to labor law. The case was considered by the Supreme Court, and they ruled the labor law requiring all government workers to belong to the same Federation unconstitutional.
Since the new Federation (FEDESSP) claims to represent 8 of 10 government workers, it then proceeded to sue the FSTSE for its land, offices, and other property, claiming that the property should be transferred to the new Federation. I mentioned this court case before.
Which....brings us to the latest case. The Mexico City general assembly has gone to the Supreme Court to claim that the Chamber of Deputies violated the Mexican Constitution when they stripped the Mayor of his immunity. The Deputies are countering the claims in front of the court. The court is apparently divided over the issue. Even before the desafuero, the court had its doubts.
posted by Michelle @ 12:31 PM, 0 comments
Saturday, April 09, 2005
Merrill Lynch fears that desafuero has made AMLO stronger candidate...
Well, duh. According to an article in La Jornada, Merrill Lynch analysts sent a report to investors last week indicating that the desafuero would have two effects: to unify the PRD around AMLO as a presidential candidate and to increase his name recognition throughout the country.
For investors, those things could only be bad. But how bad?
Yes, the PRI and PAN are shooting themselves in the foot by prosecuting AMLO. They are making him look like a political victim. That only makes million of Mexicans rally around the underdog.
To what lengths will the PRI, PAN, and PRD go to win this political battle, and what will be the effects on the economy?
I think all the parties recognize the importance of foreign investment and understand how potentially destabilizing investment flight can be. They learned that in 1995. The PRI and PAN shouldn't believe they could blame AMLO for an economic crisis created by captial flight in response to the desafuero. They will stop short of creating enough chaos to shake markets. Even the PRD is sensitive to foreign investment and the perception of instability. AMLO has certainly tried to calm markets by repeatedly urging his supporters to be nonviolent. The parties will reach a negotiated outcome before real instability becomes likely.
Whether the markets understand this, is another question. Whether investors will panic prematurely is unclear. Any crisis will be self-fulfilled prophesy by the investors, rather than a rational response to any real threat of instability. But isn't that usually the case? Markets are skittish, and decidely not very rational. I think market sentiments are the real threat to the Mexican economy, not the parties or the desafuero.
posted by Michelle @ 5:56 PM, 0 comments
So what is the penalty for ignoring a court order in Mexico, anyway?
AMLO's alleged crime is disregarding a court order. What is the penalty for this "ilícito no grave" (minor offence)? A fine of 200-150 U.S. dollars and one to eight years of jail time, which would be commutable.
According to the assistant attorney general in charge of the case: "La foto tras las rejas vale mucho, tiene costo..." or in other words, the photo behind bars is worth a lot, has a cost.
When does AMLO lose his political right to vote or run for office?
As soon as the judge issues an order for his arrest. And he only recovers his rights when he is exonerated. (Though, as I mentioned earlier, AMLO can appeal to keep his rights until he is actually convicted.)
I guess that means AMLO can't legally "run for president from jail."
The interview can be read in La Jornada.
posted by Michelle @ 5:39 PM, 0 comments
AMLO to be jailed in Matamoros?
According to articles in two Mexican newspapers today, AMLO's legal team fears that AMLO might be transferred to a federal prison in Matamoros (on the Texas border) once he is arrested. On the one hand, this has been done before to isolate a prisoner who also happened to be a politician. It would also potentially neutralize AMLO from his staff and the public. It would theoretically be justified to protect AMLO's physical safety.
On the other hand, it would heighten claims that Lopez Obrador is the victim of a political witch hunt. And one also can't help wonder that it's AMLO's legal team that are circulating these rumors. By implying that the attorney general's office will have him transferred to Matamoros and speculating on the reasons for such a transfer, AMLO's defense may help deter the PGR from pursuing that strategy.
posted by Michelle @ 5:28 PM, 0 comments
Critique of Washington Post AMLO coverage....
This is a perfect example of why I don't read the Mexican news coverage in the NYTimes or Washington Post. As Eric Umansky points out, the Post reporter is close to clueless. Others second the sentiment.
The U.S. press, for example, hasn't figured out that another political battle may soon unfold: who will replace AMLO? Nor do they seem to have a grip on the possible scenarios following the desafuero.
posted by Michelle @ 12:38 AM, 0 comments
Friday, April 08, 2005
After 7pm tonight, in a session that lasted all day (I don't think most of those legislators usually work this hard), the Chamber of Deputies voted to remove AMLO's immunity from prosecution.
In favor: 360
Abstentions: 2 (one of which was a PANista who left the party earlier this year)
Total: 489 present (of 500 total)
If you're interested in the full text of AMLO's speech in his defense, you can read it online.
After his presentation, he retired to his home in the southern part of the city to be with his family.
Four scenarios after the desafuero:
1. The attorney general's office can choose not to prosecute. (Unlikely, given that they claimed to have him under surveillance to make sure he didn't flee the country last week.)
2. The case against him can proceed, but AMLO can request that his political rights (including the right to run for president) be protected during the trial. He will make such a request. (There is a precendent for this. A member of a debtor's movement had been charged with invading the Congress, and later had his rights reinstated. He is now in Congress.)
3. If he is not granted his political rights during the trial, he could become a candidate again when and if he is declared innocent in the trial. However, for this to work, the PRD would have to either change its rules and maybe even move around the dates of its nominating convention to suit AMLO. (This may be possible if the party really wants him as a candidate and thinks that he will be found innocent. In the last few days, they have announced that they are moving up their nominating convention in order to nominate AMLO sooner.)
4. The court could find that since there is no injured party, there is no crime. (That's civil law for you...) But this outcome is considered unlikely.
AMLO has not been arrested, and apparently won't be until the attorney general's office files the complaint (probably within 48 hours).
posted by Michelle @ 12:14 AM, 0 comments
Thursday, April 07, 2005
...as AMLO enters the Chamber...
Some of the legislators began chanting..."NO ESTA SOLO" in support of AMLO.
posted by Michelle @ 3:41 PM, 0 comments
Complete text of AMLO's speech...
Read it here.
Highlight. He asks his supporters NOT to block streets and disrupt daily life. He inicates the 5 people he would like his supporters to follow. Read below:
Pero quiero ser aún más preciso: nada de bloqueos de calles o carreteras; nada de tomar instalaciones públicas o privadas. Nada que signifique actuar como lo tienen estudiado y previsto nuestros adversarios.
También con claridad, expreso que quienes lleven a cabo acciones de este tipo, aunque se pongan una camiseta nuestra, no están con nuestro movimiento, están con nuestros adversarios o tienen otras motivaciones políticas, que respetamos pero no compartimos.
Por eso, necesitamos una dirección bien identificada por todos y que sea la única que marque el rumbo, el ritmo y la profundidad en la defensa de la voluntad popular y de la libertad de elección.
En concreto, quiero proponerles que si no estoy presente, por las razones que explicaré más adelante, confiemos esa dirección nacional en cinco personas. Propongo una coordinación nacional integrada por dos militantes del PRD y tres ciudadanos independientes. Para ello, pido respetuosamente a los dirigentes de mi partido, que propongan a un representante del Comité Ejecutivo Nacional y a un representante del Comité del Distrito Federal.
También les informo que han aceptado participar como ciudadanos independientes, en esta coordinación, José Agustín Ortiz Pinchetti, Bertha “Chaneca” Maldonado y Elenita Poniatowska. ¿Están de acuerdo?
What he asks of his supporters in his absence:
Meditar, reflexionar y hablar en corto con familiares y amigos, sobre lo que está sucediendo y lo que debemos hacer para fortalecer el movimiento.
Portar el distintivo tricolor y colocar carteles en autos y casas.
Llevar a cabo una Marcha del Silencio del Museo de Antropología al Zócalo, el domingo 24 de abril.
Hacer reuniones informativas todos los domingos en las plazas públicas del país.
Argumentar en medios de comunicación, hacer uso del derecho de réplica y hablar o escribir a la radio, la televisión y los periódicos. Utilizar también, sistemas alternativos de información, como volantes o internet.
< Intensificar la creación en todo el país, de comités ciudadanos a favor del Proyecto Alternativo de Nación.
Les informo que al día de hoy, existen 4 mil 128 comités ciudadanos en los 31 estados y en el Distrito Federal. Hay también comités ciudadanos en el extranjero, en particular, en Estados Unidos, en Canadá, en Francia y en Inglaterra.
Llamar a votar, y esta es una forma de hacer resistencia civil activa, llamar a votar, ayudar a promover el voto por nuestros candidatos, por la candidata Yeidckol Polevsky, del Estado de México y por el candidato Miguel Ángel Navarro Quintero, de Nayarit. El 3 de julio son esas dos elecciones y vamos a ganar las dos gubernaturas.
Informar a organizaciones sociales, políticas y de defensa de derechos humanos de carácter internacional, sobre el intento de retroceso de la democracia mexicana.
He's asking people to hang signs in their homes and on their cars. A march of silence on April 24 in the DF. Meetings every Sunday throughout the country in central plazas to discuss the progress in the case. To discuss the case with friends and family and in the news media. To participate in citizen committees and to vote.
AMLO will not ask for bail, nor will he allow anyone else to pay it for him. In this way, he only makes himself appear even more like a political martyr.
Overall, I fear the desafuero will happen and will create a great backlash against the PAN and the PRI.
posted by Michelle @ 3:36 PM, 0 comments
Another photo of demonstration against the desafuero of AMLO in Mexico City
From El Universal online. No subscription needed.
posted by Michelle @ 3:34 PM, 0 comments
The desafuero debate is currently underway in the Chamber of Deputies. The Mexican stock market continues to suffer.
You can listen to the presentations online at Congress Channel.
posted by Michelle @ 3:25 PM, 0 comments
Overheard at the Midwest Political Science Association Meeting in Chicago...
Prof One to Another Prof: You mean the Students for Academic Freedom?
Another Prof: Yeah. You wanna know why there are few Republican professors? Because neoconservatives are either too greedy or too antiscientific. That's why.
Funny. You never know who may overhear you.
posted by Michelle @ 3:03 PM, 0 comments
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
My internet connection has been intermittant the last 36 hours. Tomorrow I head for Chicago for the Midwest Political Science Association meetings. I will try to post and to reply to posts while I'm gone.
posted by Michelle @ 9:56 PM, 0 comments
Monday, April 04, 2005
UNC wins championship....
....finally. (Wait. Did I say that out loud?) It's good to be a tarheel.
Image from www.unc.edu homepage.
posted by Michelle @ 11:29 PM, 0 comments
What kind of dog are you?
Paul Brewer is a Xoloitzcuintle. I am a Griffon Vendeen. What kind of dog are you? Paul also reports on Presidential March Madness.
posted by Michelle @ 11:18 PM, 0 comments
The Mexican press on the Minutemen....
I almost forgot to include this article about the Cazamigrantes [migrant hunters] in Arizona.
posted by Michelle @ 12:16 PM, 1 comments
The return of the Minutemen....
Earlier, I posted about the Minutemen patrolling the border in Arizona. It was also mentioned by prominent bloggers and other interesting blogs. Since I first posted, Morning Edition has run a second story on the Minutemen. I can understand how some people concerned about immigration might be frustrated by the porousness of the border, but I'm almost certain that allowing volunteers to patrol the border is not a good band-aid.
If you're interested in reducing demand, increase penalties for employers that hire illegals. If you're interested in reducing supply, do more to boost the rural Mexican economy. Offer special tax incentives for firms willing to invest in the states that send the largest proportion of immigrants. Mexican states like San Luis Potosi, Aguascalientes. Driving south from Texas to Mexico City, I can understand why many Mexicans migrate to the States. There are long streches punctuated by tiny towns with no apparent means of economic development.
Last fall, when the Fox administration released a booklet for migrants, it made a big splash in the U.S., at least on Fox News Channel. Brian sent me the link to the online version, so I thought I'd tell you what the booklet really says.
Image from www.sre.gob.mx
The booklet tells migrants to take lots of water, not use coyotes (smugglers), not carry weapons or firearms, and not to lie to immigration officials if they are stopped. They also tell men not to beat their wives or children because the police can arrest you and take your children away. They also explain that all searches of your home require a search warrant, and that if you are arrested, you have a right to request a lawyer. All very sensible advice.
The booklet itself was written in the format of a small comic book, which are very popular among working-class men here. Often, the Spanish is filled with slang references or spellings, and always the women are scantily clad. To give you a sense, there is a series called "Luchas Calientes y las gordas del ring" [Hot wrestling, and the fat chicks of the ring] in which Mexican wrestlers, complete with spandex and masks, seduce or take various women.
For the most part, the government booklet gives factual information about the dangers of crossing the border and certainly does not glorify the process. The most damning evidence that the booklets are really going to encourage migration is the way that they depict women. The Mexican women in the booklet are modest, pretty, but not too curvy. The American women, however, look just like a character out of Luchas Calientes. You can see for yourself below.
Image from www.sre.gob.mx
Image from www.sre.gob.mx
I personally perfer the Mexican woman's style to that of the U.S. woman, but I fear that Mexican men do not have such good taste.
The entire booklet is online, and you can listed to radio announcements, too.
posted by Michelle @ 11:23 AM, 3 comments
Sunday, April 03, 2005
Opening day for baseball....
The Yanks are hosting the Red Sox, and Jeter had base hits the first two times up at bat (a single and then a double). I think it's going to be a good season.
On the other hand, I don't need more distractions.
posted by Michelle @ 8:50 PM, 0 comments
Researchers strike back against the dark Empress of the Latinobarometer...
At my CIDE email, I received a letter being circulated by Mitch Seligson. He is spearheading a much-needed effort to break Marta Lagos' monopoly on public opinion surveys in Latin America. Ms. Lagos has been director of the Latinobarometer for nearly a decade.
The Latinobarometer gets funding from various international agencies to carry out public opinion research throughout Latin America, but as the letter drafted by Mitch mentions, there are several problems with the management of the Latinobarometer. For instance, all data is embargoed for four years and then reseachers must pay by country, by year, and by variable for the data. It is very expensive. Then, the documentation for the data is poor, and it is also likely that the sampling methods and survey designs are not of good scientific quality.
Despite the problems with the data, the results of Ms. Lagos' annual reports continue to be quoted at length in highly respected news outlets. Essentially, due to the embargoes and Ms. Lagos' control of the surveys, she is often the only one able to present results from the data. These results are usually just descriptive statistics. It is really a shame that so many resources are squandered on poorly executed public opinion polls.
Luckily, Mitch Seligson and others are going to strike back. Send letters to the head of USAID, the World Bank, and others that fund the Latinobarometro. Hopefully get a change in management or the creation of a better, more democratic, more academic organization to coordinate and disseminate the data from public opinion polls in Latin America.
posted by Michelle @ 2:04 PM, 0 comments
NPR's This I Believe
Starting this week, Morning Edition and ATC will be running a series of essays by a variety of listeners regarding faith and their beliefs.
The series is based on a radio series by Edward Morrow in the 1950s. The NPR site has several of the essays and original broadcasts posted online.
They have some nice tidbits. Like this excerpt from an essay by a 16 year-old girl in 1954:
Since revenge and retaliation seem to have been accepted by nations today, I sometimes have difficulty reconciling my moral convictions with the tangled world being handed down to us by the adults. Apparently what I must do to make life more endurable is to follow my principles, with the hope that enough of this feeling will rub off on my associates to being a chain reaction.
Another gem comes from baseball legend Jackie Robinson:
I do not believe that every person, in every walk of life, can succeed in spite of any handicap. That would be perfection. But I do believe-and with every fiber in me-that what I was able to attain came to be because we put behind us (no matter how slowly) the dogmas of the past: to discover the truth of today; and perhaps find the greatness of tomorrow.
I believe in the human race. I believe in the warm heart. I believe in man's integrity. I believe in the goodness of a free society. And I believe that the society can remain good only as long as we are willing to fight for it-and to fight against whatever imperfections may exist.
I can't imagine many baseball players today expressing such thoughtful sentiments.
There's also an essay by President Truman:
I believe a public man must know the history and background of his state and his nation to enable him to come more nearly to a proper decision in the public interest. In my opinion, a man in public life must think always of the public welfare. He must be careful not to mix his private and personal interests with his public actions.
The ethics of a public man must be unimpeachable. He must learn to reject unwise or imprudent requests from friends and associates without losing their friendship or loyalty.
I especially like these suggestions, though I'm not optimistic that many of our current leaders live by them.
posted by Michelle @ 1:23 PM, 0 comments
Saturday, April 02, 2005
The next political battle after the desafuero
The voted Friday 3-1 in the congressional committee to proceed with a full vote in the Chamber of Deputies on whether to remove Lopez Obrador's immunity from prosecution for an alleged minor violation of a court order by someone under him. (It's never been demonstrated that he knew that construction continued at the site, and some claim that the original court order was ambiguous regarding the construction restrictions.) A full vote will happen this week, and it is expected that they will support the desafuero.
But...another battle will begin shortly. As with so many laws in Mexico (e.g., the one regarding window tint on cars....which does not indicate whether it applies only to cars registered in the city or all cars in the city, but I digress), the rules regarding appointing a new mayor of Mexico City are vague and/or contradictory.
I can't link to the original Reforma story here, because everything is subscriber only. But, according to something I read there on Friday, the rules indicate that if the mayor resigns or is unable to complete his term, the general assembly of the city will appoint the replacement. This would leave the decision in the hands of the Mayor's party, the PRD.
But, another article says that if the mayor is "removed" from office, then the Senate of the national government will select the replacement. The Senate is dominated by the PRI.
Distribution of seats in the Senate
Image hijacked from www.senado.gob.mx
PRD leaders have already declared the the General Assembly of the DF plans to appoint AMLO's replacement and will fight any interference from the federal government.
It will be interesting to see if the PRI lets the PRD appoint AMLO's replacement.
posted by Michelle @ 2:31 PM, 0 comments
Friday, April 01, 2005
Dark Chocolate found...
Today I found a reliable source for my Dark Chocolate needs. My friend and I had lunch in the food court of the Centro Comercial Santa Fe, complete with its own golf range. Yes, it is as mamón, fresa, and annoying as it sounds. But, I wanted a nice salad for lunch, and it's the closest option. I had a Starbucks while we were there, too. There, I admit it.
Anyway, my friend, who knows where to find all the good stuff, took me to the Palacio de Hierro for chocolate. This is the place whose ad campaign is "I'm so Palacio" with billboards of women saying things like:
The problem isn't that it fits well or not, but that they've already seen it.
No man knows the correct answer to: Do you love me? How do I look?
Other choice slogans chronicled on this site:
1997: Because a psychoanalyst will never understand the curative power of a new dress.
1998: There are two things a woman cannot avoid, crying and buying shoes.
1999: Luckily we are the Weak Sex, the good thing is that he carries our purchases.
2000: I know how I look. If I ask, it's to know how much you like me.
2001: Women love more than men, and so we shop more.
2002: If I tell you that nothing's wrong, or there's no problem, don't believe me.
Here's a more recent image:
I am not so Palacio, but at least I know where to get my chocolate.
posted by Michelle @ 8:17 PM, 1 comments
Lopez Obrador desafuero-ed
Well, the congressional committee has voted to remove AMLO's immunity from prosecution, and the issue will pass to a full vote in the Chamber of Deputies (supposedly within 24 hours).
Thousands are expected to gather in protest at the Zocalo (main plaza) and protests are occuring in states throughout the country.
My nice middle-class neighborhood is quiet (except for the hound that howls day and night).
In other news....the new minutemen
The NYTimes reports on a group of volunteers who will begin patrolling the Arizona border to catch illegals coming in from Mexico. This isn't a humanitarian effort to make sure they don't die in the heat of the desert, but a mission to stop the follow of illegal immigrants into southern Arizona. That's real likely.
Some are carrying guns. Great. That helps.
NPR also ran a story on this group, and you can listen to it here.
posted by Michelle @ 6:00 PM, 0 comments
No April Fool's joke...a sad day for Mexican democracy
According to this story in La Jornada, they will soon be voting in favor of the desafuero, stripping Mexico City Mayor AMLO of his immunity from prosecution. The decision is up to 4 legislators, 1 PAN, 2 PRI and 1 PRD. The PRD vote will be no. The PRI deputies have indicated that they will vote in favor of the desafuero. All they need is a simple majority.
When the measure passes to the full Chamber of Deputies, all 149 PAN deputies will vote in a block in favor of the desafuero (that's what party discipline and a closed PR list will buy you), and 153 (of 224) of the PRI deputies will vote in favor. That's more than half of the 500 seats.
I think a representative of the Peasant's Confederation (CNC) and president of the Movimiento Territorial, Carlos Flores Rico, said it best when he said: "Vamos a cometer una pendejada."
In the face of all this, AMLO is calm. Money is being raised for his defense (a la Whitewater). And barricades and extra security are being installed around Los Pinos (the White House) and the offices of the Secretary of State.
posted by Michelle @ 12:27 PM, 0 comments