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Thursday, March 03, 2005

Trouble Brewing in Mexico

John Ross writes about how President Vicente Fox's PAN party and the PRI party are teaming up to remove Mexico City's mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador from office and put him in jail, all for trying to build an access road to a hospital. Lopez Obrador has had a 10-point lead in polls for next year's presidential election. I guess it's like if a Green Party candidate was the frontrunner in the 2008 presidential race, and the Repugs and Dumbocrats teamed up to throw him in jail for double parking while giving someone CPR (which they'd do in a minute, BTW).

Ross says that all sides are gearing up for trouble:
Long-time political observers here, not just this grizzled veteran of 20 years of partisan felonies, see this PRI-PAN ploy to get rid of Lopez Obrador as one of the dirtiest tricks ever perpetrated in the deviant annals of recent Mexican electoral history, one that indeed spells the end of the line for Mexico's glacial "transition to democracy."
Signs of impending unrest abound. PRI and PAN national headquarters here are reportedly contracting private security forces in the event of unruly mob attacks, not trusting to the Mexico City police to get the job done, and the French news agency Agence France-Presse just handed out gas masks to all its reporters for the turbulent days to come. Writing in La Jornada, Aviles suggests that long dormant guerrilla groups in the capital's outlying suburbs could be stirred to act as the result of the desafuero.

In a March 1st communique from the mountains of Chiapas, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation's quixotic spokesperson Subcomandante Marcos made it clear that while the Mayan rebels do not support Lopez Obrador or the party he represents, the Zapatistas view his possible desafuero as a serious injustice and call upon all their members to join in demonstrations around the country to oppose it.

President Fox is empowered by the constitution to impose martial law on the capitol should the protests turn too hectic and even declare a state of exception.
As in 1988, the "coraje" (both courage and anger) of the protestors is bound to escape PRD control during prolonged confrontations, considers left political columnist Luis Hernandez Navarro. With civil society in the driver's seat, occupying public buildings and tying up Mexico City traffic day after day, Navarro contemplates the crystallization of "a movement of historic proportions" that will far outstrip the reinstatement of AMLO's candidacy. "Fox and the right do not yet understand what the desafuero has unleashed."
(AMLO=Lopez Obrador; desafuero=removing his political rights.)