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|[Nettime-bold] [Fwd: Mexico News Summary, Fox seeks contact with EZLN, July 15-21]|
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- Subject: Mexico News Summary, July 15-21
- From: "Mexico Solidarity Network" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2000 15:01:20 -0500MEXICO SOLIDARITY NETWORK WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY JULY 15-21, 2000 CONTENTS: 1. Fox names transition team 2. Fox seeks contact with EZLN 3. Chiapas governor's race heats up 4. Tabasco state electoral organs lack credibility: PRD 5. Briefs 1. FOX NAMES TRANSITION TEAM The long-awaited "transition team" of president-elect Vicente Fox Quesada, made up of 20 politicians, intellectuals, and business executives, was officially named on July 17. The team's primary task will be to work with the outgoing administration to achieve an orderly transition of power, tasks, and administrative responsibilities between now and November 30, and to "help define the strategic paths" for the next government. Fox - together with his still-unnamed cabinet - will be inaugurated on December 1. The most notable element about the transition team is that none of its members hails from the dogmatic or ideological sector of the National Action Party (PAN). In fact, half are not even members of the PAN. The following are the members of the transition team and their portfolios. PERSONAL SECRETARY: Alfonso Durazo Alfonso Durazo was the personal secretary of Luis Donaldo Colosio, the original 1994 presidential candidate for the PRI, assassinated on March 23 of that year. Durazo has since left the PRI, but did not become a militant of the PAN. POLITICAL COORDINATORS: Rodolfo Elizondo and Santiago Creel Rodolfo Elizondo is the most "panista" of the PAN members on the transition team, having been a member of the National Executive Committee of the party on three occasions. Nevertheless, he is not considered one of the doctrinaire figures of the party, but rather part of the group which began its ascendancy with Manuel Clouthier in the 1980s. Santiago Creel was the PAN's nearly victorious mayoral candidate in Mexico City this year, though he only joined the party last year. He is considered a moderate, and is a likely candidate for the Interior Ministry position in Fox's government. COORDINATOR OF STUDIES ON STATE REFORM: Porfirio Muñoz Ledo Porfirio Muñoz Ledo was once the president of the PRI, once the president of the PRD, and this year was the presidential candidate for the PARM before dropping out of the race to back Fox. His portfolio in the transition team is rumored to be a position invented in order to keep him from meddling in other matters. ECONOMICS PORTFOLIO: Luis Ernesto Derbez and Eduardo Sojo Derbez and Sojo are economists who studied in the United States, and at least one is likely to become a Cabinet member in December. Derbez has experience working with international economic agencies such as the World Bank and the InterAmerican Development Bank. SOCIAL POLICY: Carlos Flores Alcocer and María del Carmen Díaz Carlos Flores was Fox's social development and anti-poverty director in the state of Guanajuato, while María del Carmen Díaz is currently an independent federal deputy. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: Jorge G. Castañeda and Adolfo Aguilar Zinser Neither Jorge Castañeda nor Adolfo Aguilar Zinser are members of the PAN, yet both stand out as perhaps the closest advisors of Vicente Fox throughout his campaign. Both are intellectuals, not politicians, with a political trajectory on the left end of the spectrum until very recently. Both were also advisors to Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas in his 1994 presidential bid. Castañeda, whose father was a well-respected diplomat, is considered a shoo-in for the position of Secretary of Foreign Relations in Fox's Cabinet. JUSTICE AND SECURITY: José Luis Reyes Vázquez and Francisco Javier Molina Reyes Vázquez and Javier Molina are lawyers who worked for the State Attorney Generals of Guanajuato and Chihuahua, respectively. LEGAL AND JUDICIAL: Carlos Arce Macías and César Nava Vázquez Carlos Arce and César Nava are lawyers and PAN politicians. Nava was elected to the federal Chamber of Deputies on July 2. PRESS AND COMMUNICATION: Martha Sahagún and Francisco Javier Ortiz. Sahagún, a PAN militant since 1988, is a close friend and advisor of Fox and was his press spokesperson during the campaign. Ortiz worked for Televisa for much of the past decade. ADMINISTRATIVE AFFAIRS: Carlos Rojas Magnon and Lino Korrodi Both Rojas and Korrodi are business executives with little political interest. ADVISORS: Pedro Cerisola and Ramón Muñoz Gutiérrez Cerisola and Muñoz are also businessmen, the former hailing from Aeroméxico and Telmex, and the latter - an eighteen-year veteran of the PAN - an executive of the Bimbo bread company. 2. FOX SEEKS CONTACT WITH EZLN The members of Fox's transition team in charge of political affairs, Rodolfo Elizondo and Santiago Creel, have officially asked PAN senator Luis H. Alvarez to represent the president-elect in his attempts to contact the leadership of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) and open a dialogue with the rebels before he takes office on December 1. Alvarez, the only member of the original Commission on Concordance and Pacification (COCOPA) who still serves on that commission, announced on July 20 that "certain contacts" have already been established between Fox's transition team and the EZLN. The senator from Chihuahua added that his principal goal in the coming days and weeks will be to arrange a direct, face-to-face meeting between Vicente Fox and the EZLN's spokesperson and military chief, Subcomandante Marcos. Alvarez is now Fox's point man and top advisor for Chiapas, and if a dialogue is established it will likely be Alvarez who directs the movement and positions of the future Federal Executive with respect to the Zapatistas. Fox and Alvarez also met recently with Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú, who offered her services to the new government in order to "facilitate" the peace process. Menchú will have direct access to the future president's "Chiapas team," and will apparently serve as an informal advisor helping to develop a social and economic plan for the state during the Fox administration. The EZLN has yet to make a public pronouncement regarding Fox's victory in the July 2 presidential elections, nor has it announced whether it will seek or accept a dialogue with the president-elect before his inauguration. Meanwhile, trite soundbites about the conflict in Chiapas continue to hound the offices of the president-elect, who once said that if elected he would resolve the problem in Chiapas "in 15 minutes." Recently, Nobel literature prize-winner José Saramago said that the conflict could be resolved in just ten minutes if the Fox administration really wanted peace for the indigenous inhabitants of Chiapas. Fox advisor Rodolfo Elizondo then responded by saying it could be resolved "in one minute," if the EZLN had the desire and will for a peaceful settlement. 3. CHIAPAS GOVERNOR'S RACE HEATS UP On August 20, the state of Chiapas will undergo the only electoral process this year which rivals that of this past July 2 in importance. The Chiapas gubernatorial race pits the PRI candidate, Sami David David, against an alliance of literally every other political party on the state's political map. The Alliance for Chiapas candidate, Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía, is a national senator who served on the original Commission on Concordance and Pacification (COCOPA), the legislative commission established in 1995 to facilitate peace talks between the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) and the federal government. Salazar stood out on that committee as one of the most vehement supporters of indigenous rights, and together with PRI deputy Jaime Martínez Veloz often defied his party to back what he considered legitimate Zapatista concerns and positions regarding the peace talks, the San Andrés Accords on Indigenous Rights and Culture, and the excessive military presence in the state. After leaving the PRI last year, Salazar has drawn closer to the PRD but remains an independent candidate. His campaign is currently backed by the PRD, PAN, PT, PVEM, and four smaller parties. The PRI's Sami David David has said he is confident of victory, since the PRI conserved its hegemony in the state in the July 2 elections (winning 43% of the vote against a divided opposition). The PRI's candidates won nearly everything on the ballot in Chiapas: the presidential race, 11 of the 12 federal electoral districts, and two majority Senate seats. Pablo Salazar cites the same figures, however, to demonstrate his own confidence in victory: the combined PAN and PRD vote on July 2 was 55% of the total. The PRI, he says, is a minority; while the Alliance for Chiapas is already a majority. While David David has expressed his "legitimate concern" that the PRI may lose its most important bastion of support in the country on August 20, Salazar (and the parties which support him) is worried about fraud. Chiapas held the dubious distinction of being the state with the greatest number of electoral violations on July 2, and stood out as the state with the most blatant use of national PROGRESA (the federal anti-poverty program) and PROCAMPO funds to literally purchase votes for the PRI. Meanwhile, the "war of the widely-varying polls" which marked - some would say "stained" - the federal electoral process in July, has now taken hold in Chiapas. Sami David's campaign is disseminating a poll taken by the Rosenblueth Foundation before July 2, which places the PRI candidate in the lead with 49.9% of voter preferences, compared with 38.9% for Pablo Salazar. David David adds that the Rosenblueth Foundation is best known as the pollster of choice for the PRD. Salazar has retaliated with a poll taken just after the federal elections by the Doxa Internacional polling agency, giving the Alliance for Chiapas candidate a lead of 8 points - more than a nineteen point swing from the Rosenblueth poll. It is expected that both president-elect Vicente Fox and ex-presidential candidate Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, rivals in every other aspect, will soon tour Chiapas - separately - in support of Pablo Salazar's campaign, while Sami David David has said he is expecting the support of Tabasco governor Roberto Madrazo and other governors of the Southeast. 4. PRD: TABASCO STATE ELECTORAL ORGANS LACK CREDIBILITY When the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) registered its candidate for governor of Tabasco on July 15, it did so "under protest" as the party "does not trust the electoral authorities" of the state. The PRD candidate, César Raúl Ojeda Zubieta, then accused the president of the State Electoral Institute of Tabasco (IET), Leonardo Sara Poisot, of being a partial electoral representative in favor of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and openly called for his resignation. Sara Poisot is considered a figure politically close to Governor Roberto Madrazo, who named him to the IET in 1997. Also under criticism is the State Electoral Tribunal of Tabasco (TET), which likewise is filled with Madrazo allies. The head of the state Supreme Court, which controls the TET, even published an open letter in state newspapers after the July 2 elections in which he affirmed that Tabasco "is, and will remain, a PRI state." A total of eleven parties have registered candidates for the October 15 elections, although only three are seen to have possibilities of winning the gubernatorial race: the PRI, with Madrazo protégé Manuel Andrade Díaz; the PRD, with César Raúl Ojeda; and the PAN, whose candidate is José Antonio de la Vega Asmitia. All three major candidates worked together in the PRI until very recently. Ojeda left the then-ruling party just five months ago, and is registered as an "external" candidate for the PRD. De la Vega was elected a Federal Deputy for the PRI on July 2, and only resigned from the party this week to compete for the governor's post under the banner of the PAN. Both De la Vega Asmitia and Ojeda Zubieta have offered to drop out of the race in favor of the other, depending on which of the two major opposition candidates is ahead in the polls by early October. 5. NEWS IN BRIEF - José Murat Casab, governor of the state of Oaxaca and one of the strongest allies of rebellious Tabasco governor Roberto Madrazo within the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), announced on July 19 that his home and offices were the targets of "political espionage." While presenting microphones to the press which he claims to have found within the government palace, Murat also said that he is followed when he travels to Mexico City, that he and his children have received death threats, and that his wife's bank accounts were recently audited. The governor suggested that the spying and the threats may well originate in the PRI or the Interior Ministry, as a result of the position he has taken within the party since the July 2 elections. Three Interior Ministry officials responded by filing a criminal lawsuit against Murat for defamation, accusing him of lying and of planting the microphones himself. - In Oaxaca, a judge this week sentenced two accused members of the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) to 31 and 33 years in prison, respectively, for the crimes of conspiracy, premeditated murder, and homicide. The charges stem from coordinated EPR attacks on the night of August 28, 1996 against Navy, Judicial Police, and Municipal police installations in five states. The sentences against the accused EPR militants come just two weeks after a judge in Mexico State sentenced 8 presumed EPR guerrillas, also from Oaxaca, to 40 years imprisonment each in the maximum security penitentiary of Almoloya de Juárez. The eight were accused of the same crimes and involvement in the same events as those sentenced this week in Oaxaca. - Five currents within the PRI have demanded the expulsion of President Ernesto Zedillo from the party, for having contributed to the electoral losses on July 2. Arturo Barajas, leader of the Solidarity Current, said that the consensus among the five groups was that Zedillo "left the PRI in political bankruptcy." He added that it was wrong for Zedillo to recognize the victory of PAN presidential candidate Vicente Fox before the candidate of the PRI, Francisco Labastida, had done so. The five currents said they were planning a "political trial" of Zedillo at the Monument to the Revolution in Mexico City, beginning on August 23. - On July 20, representatives of the Labor Party (PT) announced they had officially prohibited the party's members and representatives from accepting any post in the government of Vicente Fox Quesada. The PT said that rather than "sell out" to the Fox government, it would continue to work closely with the PRD in a united opposition block of the parties which made up the Alliance for Mexico in the July 2 elections. However, the PT said it is proceeding anyway with a lawsuit against the PRD for a supposed deficit of 25 million pesos incurred in the course of the past electoral campaign. - On July 21, the parents of student strikers imprisoned following the collapse of the 10-month strike at the National Autonomous University (UNAM) on February 6, lifted their 151-day protest in front of the offices of the university president. The protest began on February 22 to demand the liberation of the nearly one thousand student prisoners of the General Strike Council (CGH). No students are currently imprisoned, though several hundred are only free on bail while they face minor criminal charges. The parents decided to end the protest after assurances from the school administration that it would ask the Attorney General's Office to drop the remaining charges against the students. ______________________________________________________________ SOURCES: La Jornada, Proceso, Proceso Sur, Milenio, El Financiero. This report is a product of the Mexico Solidarity Network. Redistribution is authorized and encouraged provided that the source is cited.