Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Stirrings Of A Left Wing Revolution In Mexico

In his excellent book, "Fire And Blood: A History Of Mexico," author T.R. Fehrenbach likens the country to a volcano, quiet for periods but subject every few decades to political eruptions.

Certainly Mexican revolutions, first against Spanish rule, later against despotic indigenous regimes, have marked both the 19th and 20th centuries, and, often, these revolutions have drawn in the United States, always sensitive to what is happening just south of the border.

Mexico, after the latest period of relative stability, may now be drifting toward another revolution. The left wing presidential candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has not accepted his narrow defeat in the recent election, nor the refusal of the Mexican electoral commission to order a full recount. After weeks of demonstrations in Mexico City, Obrador is planning to proclaim himself president and form a "People's Government" on the Mexican independence day, Sept. 16.

A Los Angeles Times editorial this morning views this with alarm, which is appropriate. Obrador, the former mayor of Mexico City, has long been suspected of totalitarian instincts. He could well be a dangerous man in the developing circumstances.

By the best indications, conservative candidate Felipe Calderon is the legitimately elected president. He and his predecessor, the present president, Vicente Fox, while restrained up to now, could be expected to fight for their positions if Obrador goes ahead with his plan. As recently as the Mexico City Olympics in 1968, there was a crackdown on leftwing demonstrators in the national capital that killed hundreds of people.

In Mexico, in the past, the political situation has rather quickly spun out of control in tense circumstances. Passions are often high in the poverty-stricken country, and the business elite now represented by Calderon and Fox and formerly by the PRI, has been in power for a comparatively long time. Pressure against it has been building, as witnessed by the close election and violently rebellious incidents in Oaxaca and the Chiapas state in the southern part of the country.

That a relatively liberal editorial page like that of the Los Angeles Times is already viewing the situation with alarm is not a surprise. In virtually all American quarters, there would be a violent reaction to the coming to power of a left wing government in Mexico.

Already, elsewhere in Latin America, we see the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, adopting a more and more anti-American posture, lining himself up with Fidel Castro on the one hand and the Fascist governments of Iran and Syria on the other.

Suppose the same kind of government were to come to power in Mexico. It would not be long before, I would think, there were hostilities with the United States.

"Poor Mexico, so far from God and so near to the United States," Porfirio Diaz, the Mexican dictator before the 1910 revolution, is reported to have said. That could ring true for Mexico again if Obrador succeeds in grabbing power.


Blogger TourPro said...

Great post. I could not imagine the nightmare of having ALMO as a neighbor. If Mexico is split, at least he would only be in control of the south.

Oaxaca - Watch

8/30/2006 12:08 PM  

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