posted on Apr, 8 2005 @ 10:28 AM
The mayor of Mexico City, the country's front-runner in next year's presidential elections, now faces criminal charges after the Congress voted
Thursday evening to strip away his immunity from prosecution, paving the way for his removal from office.
An estimated 150,000 Lopez Obrador supporters converged on the central square, the Zocalo, Thursday morning, throwing black and yellow confetti,
hoisting signs, freeing balloons and chanting. In anticipation of street riots and social unrest some 3,500 policemen patrolled the downtown streets,
helicopters hovered overhead, and tens of thousands of people stayed home from work. The stock market, meanwhile, has tumbled, falling 12 percent this
"I have rarely been as concerned as I am today regarding the course of political events unfolding in Mexico," says New York -based Morgan Stanley
senior Latin American economist Gray Newman. Congress' decision, he warns, could well lead to a "prolonged bout of political turmoil."
Thursday's 360 to 127 vote by lower house of congress is unprecedented: No elected executive has been stripped of immunity before. If prosecuted and
convicted, Lopez Obrador could face up to eight years in prison. He has vowed to continue his fight from behind bars if necessary, but according to
most interpretations of Mexican law he would be banned from running for president until the case is resolved - a process which could takes years in
Mexico's labyrinthine legal system.
Mexico on the brink April 4th, 2005
CIA director Porter Goss wasn´t kidding when he put Mexico in with Venezuela, Haiti, Bolivia and Nicaragua as the most unstable countries in the
hemisphere. Right now, the potentially dangerous development is political, and may affect us very tangibly in the U.S.
Fox won the election five years ago promising to change Mexico, but ... jobs were not delivered to those who needed them most. In Mexico, that group
comprises the majority.
As a substitute for reform, Fox encouraged Mexicans to skip over the border to the U.S., to take up life as illegal aliens - and send dollars back to
Mexico. Ten percent of Mexican voters now live in the U.S. legally or illegally, but they account for fifty percent of Mexico´s purchasing power. And
they send home enough billions in foreign exchange to make the government in Mexico very comfortable indeed. The Interamerican Development Bank says
they sent home $16.6 billion in 2004, up from $10.5 billion in 2000, the year Fox was elected. Fox has called these people ´heroes´ - encouraging
U.S. banks to accept Mexican identification cards to ease money transfers in 2002 and permitting his government to print out booklets advising
Mexicans how to get over the border illegally but safely by 2005.
But it´s no life to be an illegal alien. If you have ever seen the movie El Norte about the plight of Guatemalan illegal aliens in Los Angeles, you
will understand why. The poverty, the exploitation by the migrant rackets, the permanent underclass status, the ease with which aliens can lose
everything they´ve worked to build if they are apprehended by law enforcement is heartbreaking. These people are helpless.
Not only that, in the case of Mexico, there are whole villages whose only residents are women and children - all of the men have gone to the U.S. to
work illegally - so the children grow up fatherless. This is a huge price to pay just to get a job.
So what do you do if you are a Mexican voter, soon to be offered a choice of three candidates for election, one from the old discredited PRI that
ruled and ruined Mexico for 70 years, one from the disappointing new third-way PAN that openly wants you to flee your homeland, abandon your family
and send home dollars, or one from a third party in the wings, the PRD party, which has a charismatic mayor of Mexico City running for election on a
"stand up for the poor" platform of soup-kitchen spending and sticking it to the U.S.?
It shouldn't surprise anyone that you pick that third candidate if you are a Mexican.
And this reality makes everyone - the other two Mexican parties, the U.S., and the rest of Latin America blanch. For Mexico, the high welfare spending
should kill off all potential job growth for everyone except party bureaucrats. For the U.S., there's a potential Hugo Chavez on its border, one
who's already talking about an oil alliance with Venezuela. Oil supplier number three teaming up with oil supplier number four to stick it to the
gringos sounds like $??? a barrel oil already.
Right now, Mexico's two other parties, PAN and PRI, have conducted legal maneuvers to knock this third-party Mexican mayor out of the presidential
race. They are prosecuting him over some road violation, a very trivial technicality. And that's pushed his popularity from 27% to 37% in the
three-way race already.
Torpedoing his candidacy but aren't fooling anyone into thinking it's just because they are interested in law and order. By behaving this way, they
are making Mexico's bitter, fed-up population even angrier. It amounts to an insult to democracy and contempt for their wishes. It may easily lead to
[edit on 8-4-2005 by MattMarriott]