Militarization of Mexican Politics
"In the same way that
September 11, 2001 permitted George W. Bush to make war, the battle against the
drug cartels has allowed the Mexican chief executive to seek to entrench and perpetuate
Felipe Calderón has made the
war on narco-trafficking the centerpiece of his administration. Combating
organized crime has provided Calderón a mantle of legitimacy denied him at the ballot
box. The militarization of politics has given him the tools to administer the
country with exceptional measures. The politicization of public security has
made it easier to restore the chain of command and obedience.
In the same way that
September 11, 2001 permitted George W. Bush to endeavor to make war, the battle
against the drug cartels has allowed the Mexican chief executive to seek to
entrench and perpetuate his government. But instead of sending troops to Iraq and
Afghanistan, Mexico's president has pulled them out of their barracks take up positions
within national territory.
The Army is in the streets of
many of the country’s towns, carrying out functions that they have no place
performing. He has set up road blocks and conducted de-facto curfews and raids.
Military commanders occupy police stations. In what appears to be a dress rehearsal
for the plan of action for several northern states, in places like Ciudad
Juarez and Chihuahua, they are experiencing a situation akin to a state of
emergency that has not been declared by Congress.
Day after day, Felipe
Calderón appears before the media as commander-in-chief of a national crusade.
The nationwide propaganda portrays him as the defender of Mexican families. His
travels around the country are planned with great secrecy. His official events
are engulfed by elements of the Presidential Guard. All Complaints and protests
against him are silenced by the police.
In the short term, the
politicization of public security has provided positive outcomes to the chief executive.
Polls show reasonable approval ratings, although they have fallen consistently
over recent months. The violent expressions of social discontent experienced in
2006 have escalated. [Author refers to protests and unrest after the contested presidential
election of 2006].
SECRETARY HILLARY CLINTON INTERVIEWED ON MEXICAN TV
Among the first casualties of
the war we are living through have been human rights: the legal framework has
been transformed in spite of them. In the macabre tally of beheadings, unburied
corpses and pozoleros that are recorded every day, the assassination of civic
leaders barely even registers. The criminalization of social protest is progressing
[Editor's Note: Pozoleros
is the nickname of an assassin known for dissolving people in acid - and
is also a type of spicy Mexican soup].
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
It doesn't seem to concern
the president that the militarization of politics has eroded and degraded him. It
seems that he could care less about the economic crisis, stagnant national
production, growing unemployment and a jammed immigration escape valve to the
United States - or that his room to maneuver has been reduced. He sees intensifying
the war as his only way out.
The latest episode of the politicization of public security has been
the repeated charge made by various leaders and lawmakers from the [ruling] National
Action Party (PAN) that seven governors from the [opposition] Institutional
Revolutionary Party (PRI) are involved with organized crime. Whether the
allegations are true or not, far from being a way to actually combat organized
crime, this only shows the blue and white's
[see graphic, right] desire to use the fight against drugs to beat up on their electoral rivals.
For Felipe Calderón, the immediate future is bitter. All surveys
predict a tricolor triumph in the
next federal elections. The loss of the PAN majority in the Chamber of Deputies
[the lower house] will mean an early death sentence for Calderon’s six-year
term, which is already growing short.
The only chance in the short
term for the National Action Party to overcome the electoral mountain seems to
be to have the federal government unleash a furious media campaign that delegitimizes
key PRI politicians by associating them with drug trafficking. The PAN has extensive
experience with negative election campaigning, and Antonio Solá, the president’s
chief adviser on these matters, still has great influence over the man of Los
Pinos [Los Pinos is where the official presidential residence and
offices are located].
For Calderón, continuing a
course of this type will necessarily involve putting his remaining supporters
and already precarious administration at serious risk. But by not doing so, he
would presumably lose the majority in San Lázaro, leaving him in a very
difficult situation for the 2010 elections, when almost a third of governors will
be replaced - making him a prisoner of the tricolor
In 2006, the PAN and the
powers that be weren’t afraid to polarize the country and bring it to the brink
of violent confrontation. [Again - a reference to the contested 2006
presidential election]. Although the PRI will not have López Obrador [the
loser of the 2006 election], the situation in 2009 will be much the same. And
that will be even more the case if the path chosen by the president is one of
increasing the military presence on the streets, keeping them far from the
barracks and having them do the work of civilians.
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