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In an unexpected turn of events, the eruption of a new youth movement has transformed the prospects for Mexico’s July 1 presidential elections. A month ago, the candidate from the old authoritarian Party of the Institutional Revolution (PRI), Enrique Peña Nieto, seemed poised to win easily by a two-digit margin and bring back the ways of the past. But after weeks of student protests against the imposition of Peña Nieto by the dominant television duopoly, as well as a series of corruption scandals that implicate the PRI, leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador has come back within striking distance.
In 2006 he scared many moderate voters by directly taking on the powers that be and refusing to accept the official results. Now he has proposed a government of national unity based on principles of “love.” He has not taken up the class-based discourse and statist development policies typical of other Latin American leftist leaders and has publicly stated that “to be on the left today in Mexico is only to be honest and ethical.”
Mexico is today more violent, more corrupt and more unequal than it was in the year 2000, when the PRI was pushed out after over seventy years of one-party rule. The twelve years of government by the right-wing Party of National Action (PAN) has only put a new gloss on the same old authoritarian ways of conducting politics.
The bitter failure of the drug war, which has led to more than 60,000 violent deaths over the past five years, is only the most glaring example of the profound institutional weakness of the state, which was inherited from the PRI and has been aggravated by the PAN.
The PAN administrations have also taken the dangerous move of breaking with Mexico’s long tradition of separation between church and state as well as with the post-revolutionary military-civilian pact. Fox first laid out the welcome mat for the church hierarchy by giving priests an unprecedented public voice. He famously bowed before Pope John Paul II and kissed his ring during the Pope’s visit to Mexico City in 2002, demonstrating subordination of the Mexican state to a foreign authority.
Calderón has also opened the door to the military. Mexico historically has stood out for the discipline of its armed forces in a region where violent coups and civil wars have been the norm. After 1946 the PRI successfully kept the military isolated from politics. But this is changing quickly today, as Calderón has empowered the generals politically through his desperate “war on drugs.”
Independently of one’s political views or preferences, and despite López Obrador’s overly bland rhetoric, a victory for the left would bring a much-needed sea change to Mexican politics and renew hope in the future of democracy. In contrast, a victory for Peña Nieto would be cause for alarm. The central question is whether there will be an extension of the rule by the same elites who have dictated Mexican politics since the 1940s, or whether the opposition will finally have the opportunity to try its hand at governing.
Originally posted by JacKatMtn
reply to post by Erongaricuaro
What do you think it would honestly take, to turn the tide and take back Mexico from the terrors that they face daily?
Cesar Santiago, wearing a red hard hat adorned with a PRI sticker, said a Peña Nieto win would bring improvements to the country's lethargic economy and reduce violence. "It was a failure," Santiago said of the drug war. "It should have been better planned, with a better strategy."
Santiago said the PRI had changed since last time it ruled, a reign infamous for corruption and, occasionally, strong-arm tactics to maintain its almost complete dominance over Mexican life. "The PRI-istas who are there now are young. They really want Mexico to improve."
But a few rows away were signs of the old, coercive PRI. Four young women sat gripping rolled-up PRI flags. They said they were required by bosses at Pemex to attend the PRI party. "If we don't come, we don't go back to work," said one of the women, who declined to give her name to avoid being punished by the company. She said she voted for Lopez Obrador.
"It's like the '60s," she said, referring to coercive PRI tactics of the past. "It hasn't gone away."
Originally posted by BobAthome
reply to post by Erongaricuaro
rule continuously for 71 years from 1939 to 2000.
will the Catholic Church be back?
(bold emphasis added)
For most of the country's nearly 300 years as a Spanish colony, the Catholic Church involved itself heavily in politics. In the early national period, the Church's vast wealth and political influence spurred a powerful anti-clerical movement, which found political expression in the Liberal party. The Catholic Church supported rebel Conservatives in the mid-19th century and later welcomed the country's occupation by a French army. Robert Haberman of the Mexican Labour Party writes:
"By the year 1854, The Church gained possession of about two-thirds of all the lands of Mexico, almost every bank, and every large business. The rest of the country was mortgaged to the Church. Then came the revolution of 1854, led by Benito Juárez. It culminated in the Constitution of 1857, which secularised the schools and confiscated Church property. All the churches were nationalised, many of them were turned into schools, hospitals, and orphan asylums. Civil marriages were obligatory. Pope Pius IX immediately issued a mandate against the Constitution and called upon all Catholics of Mexico to disobey it. Ever since then, the clergy has been fighting to regain its lost temporal power and wealth."
Turn of the 19th to 20th century collaboration with Porfirio Diaz earned the Church the enmity of the victors in the Mexican Revolution. Consequently, severe restrictions on the Church were written into the country's present constitution, the Constitution of 1917.
The 1917 Constitution outlawed teaching by clergy even in private schools, gave control over Church matters to the state, put all Church property at the disposal of the state, outlawed religious orders, outlawed foreign born priests, gave states the power to limit or eliminate priests in their territory, deprived priests of the civil rights to vote or hold office, prohibited Catholic organizations which advocated public policy, prohibited religious publications from commenting on public policy, prohibited clergy from religious celebrations and from wearing clerical garb outside of a church and deprived citizens of the right to a trial for violations of these provisions.
The Federal Government's attempt to enforce the restrictions of the 1917 Constitution in the 1920s led to violent repression and an open revolt by Catholic peasants in the Cristero Rebellion (1926–29). Tensions between the Church and the State eased after 1940, but constitutional restrictions were maintained even as enforcement became progressively lax over the ensuing decades.
From 1940 to 1960 about 70% of Mexican Catholics attended church weekly while in 1982 only 54 percent partook of Mass once a week or more, and 21 percent claimed monthly attendance. Recent surveys have shown that only around 3% of Catholics attend church daily, however 47% percent of them attend church services weekly and, according to INEGI, the number of atheists grows annually by 5.2%, while the number of Catholics grows by 1.7%.
When Vicente Fox took power in 2000 many people feared the secularism in the country would be damaged as it was the first time in decades that Mexico had an avowedly Catholic president.
Originally posted by intrepid
I know little about Mexico either than ancient history and what I get on ATS. I'm not sure what divisions there are in Mex. here they are provinces, not states. I have read here that there are actually 2 different aspects to Mex. The south is beautiful and peaceful. The north controlled by the drug trade. Is this in error? Secondly, if this is correct do you think the rest of the country and a new government could challenge the drug people?
Originally posted by BobAthome
reply to post by intrepid
government could challenge the drug people?
Originally posted by Zhenyghi
My fear is that Mexico is beyond being saved from being a Narco-State. I hope that I'm proven wrong. Mexico still is blessed with many resources, and as said here, and hard-working, industrious population. They deserve to live in peace and prosperity.