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.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The quagmire that is Mexican politics

So earlier today, a commenter asked my opinion about recent developments in Mexico, and I said I'd have to follow-up later. Specifically, anonymous (who appears to be from the D.F.) wants to know what I think about the fact that gunmen shot at the armored SUV of the wife of a businessman who is in jail after videos surfaced two years ago showing him bribing a D.F. official and close aide of Lopez Obrador. This happened this morning, the day that new videos, documenting corruption by another AMLO-government official, were to be presented.

Since I can't watch the debates, and I'm too zapped to work on the book (ok, that's a bit of an excuse, I am just procrastinating a bit, but I'll get back to work after I post), I poked around the interweb a bit to see what I could find.

Here's the crop of articles that I skimmed quickly, followed by my reaction:
Milenio overview
Hearsay description of contents of videos that weren't released (El Universal)
(I won't speculate or comment on the fact that Robles and Ahumado chat on the phone.)
Lopez Obrador's campaign claims videos won't hurt him (El Economista)
Some inconsistencies hamper the investigation of the gun attacks (El Economista)--this is the story that is repeated most often

My summary of what happened and a little background for readers

A couple of years ago, while AMLO was Mayor of Mexico City (affectionately known as the D.F.), videos surfaced of a businessman (Ahumado) giving large bribes to a close aide of AMLO in the city government. The videos showed the aide grossly stuffing large bills into his pockets, etc. Lopez Obrador was able to claim that he didn't know what his aides were up to and pretty well distanced himself from the corruption scandal. Some, however, continue to be skeptical...and skepticism is always helpful when you're talking about Mexican politics.

Fast forward to now. Sometime recently (I don't know exactly when; I haven't followed it that closely), the businessman's wife and/or others have said they would be releasing additional videos that further implicate officials in Lopez Obrador's government of corruption. Those videos were to be released today. This morning at 6:30am, someone shot at the wife's SUV as she took her children to school. Nine to ten bullets hit the vehicle.

The following items currently being reported lend themselves to interesting speculation and/or conspiracy building:
  • The presentation of the videos has now been postponed indefinitely, according to the wife.

  • The wife says all this could be cleared up if they would allow journalists to interview her husband.

  • The police claim that there are some problematic inconsistencies in the witness accounts of the shootings.

  • I'm fairly agnostic about the interpretation of events, but I can imagine how the pro-AMLO and anti-AMLO camps will try to spin these events.

    The pro-AMLO spin:
    This is just another example of the conspiracy against AMLO (possibly even engineered by Salinas). The videos won't prove anything and probably don't even have anything damaging. It's all a stunt to try to make AMLO look bad. The videos, the shooting (the Suburban was armored, after all, so it wasn't a serious attempt), the withdrawal of the videos is all a well-orchestrated stunt to smear AMLO just before the debates. If the videos really were damaging, they would have presented them anyway. They were trying to use the videos to blackmail the PRD city government into giving Ahumado certain privileges. This just goes to show how far the anti-AMLO forces will go to keep him out of office.

    The anti-AMLO spin:
    This is just more evidence of the bad, marginal, corrupt way that AMLO and his clique do politics. It's not surprising given the types of seedy types his government has cultivated for support. (I'm imagining here people thinking about AMLO's ties to leaders in some poor barrios of Mexico City.) Of course, some gangster shot at Ahumado's wife to try to intimidate her into not releasing the videos, and apparently it has worked. If we elect AMLO, this is the type of gangsterism and lawlessness that we can expect to continue. Oh, and of course the pro-AMLO police are going to make it seem like a set-up; we all know we can't trust the police.

    So which is the truth? Heck, if I know.

    The pro-AMLO position smacks of conspiracy-theory craziness, and the anti-AMLO position makes you wonder if supporters of AMLO would really be dumb enough to think that shooting at Ahumado's wife would be better for AMLO than the videos being released. If his supporters are that simple-minded....Well, it doesn't say a lot for him even if he is elected.

    posted by Michelle @ 10:43 PM,


    At 6/08/2006 2:14 PM, Anonymous J SANCHEZ ZOLLIKER said...

    The correct last name is "Ahumada", not Ahumado.


    At 6/09/2006 8:19 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

    Con todo razon...perdon...tal vez fue un "fruedian slip"...isn't that how you spell 'smoked'? Or something else?

    At 6/09/2006 11:17 PM, Anonymous J SANCHEZ ZOLLIKER said...

    Correct. Ahumado = smoked ;)
    I'll keep reading. Hope your book is doing fine.



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