Democratic Vista: “If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.” –Bill Gates.
El modelo Calderón: Carlos Fazio of La Jornada, a Uruguayan-born political scientist who survived an assassination attempt earlier this year after denouncing what he called “the journalism of infiltration” in the campaign mounted by Mexican mass media owners in support of PAN in last year’s elections, assesses the Felipe Calderón’s European tour.
One of the more interesting signs of the times this week is the transfer of the Internet domain odca.cl — the Web site of a Pinochetist party in Chile — to new owners. Administrative contacts: Manuel Espino, president of Mexico’s National Action Party (PAN) and Xavier Barrón, of Peru’s Partido Popular Cristiano.
See also my Spinning the World Backwards: Revolution and Counter-Revolution.
At the same time, this came over the press-release wires:
New Study: Mexican Political Polarization Limited to Elites Despite Contested 2006 Election
The topic: a symposium from the American Political Science Association, until recently headed by Harvard professor emeritus James Q. Wilson, the Ronald Reagan Professor of Political Science at Pepperdine University — author of From Welfare Reform to Character Development — and now by Robert Axelrod of U. Michigan’s Gerald Ford Center for Public Policy.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — New research by political scientists challenges the belief, widespread following the hotly contested 2006 presidential election, that Mexican society is divided by deep political divisions. The findings conclude that claims of such divisions are unsupported by recent field research and that a better understanding of the state of Mexican democracy depends on improved observation of politics among Mexico’s political elite — which are more polarized now than at any time since 1988. The research is presented in a special symposium entitled “The 2006 Mexican Election and its Aftermath,” and includes contributions by seven political scientists who have been heavily involved in generating new sources of data to analyze Mexican politics. The symposium appears in the January 2007 issue of PS: Political Science & Politics, a journal of the American Political Science Association (APSA).
The Chicago Boys, it seems, are back in business, and receiving massive support in the Latin American corporate media for the proposition that the choice between Pinochet-style dictatorship and direct democracy is a polarizing partisan issue.
The cold, hard question, I suppose, for the superior risk manager, is whether they can prevail, and whether the price of tortillas is consistent with Calderón’s pledge to “guarantee the security of foreign investments in Mexico.”
I tend to think that publications like La Jornada are the canary in the coal mine in this respect.
It is not a good sign for the Autonomous University-published daily, for example, that men linked to the 1968 Tlateloco massacre — and allegedly to the narcotraffic as well — are now firmly in charge of Mexico’s military.
I have a running bet with a foreign correspondent friend and colleague here that press freedom will soon be more explicitly curtailed — jailings and mass firings of journalists and installation of government shills in the key editorial positions, and draconian legal action, rather than the odd one-off assassination by glue-sniffing rent-a-sicários and their cousins from the local force — and that other aspects of a permanent state of exception will soon be explicitly evident in Calderón’s policies.
On the other hand, the freedom with which dailies like El Universal are going after massive corruption in the Fox administration, giving a wider audience to the work of investigative journalists like Miguel Badillo, Proceso, and Zeta, indicates that the polarization of Mexico’s “elites” could actually be the decisive factor here.
You might feel reassured by the notion that political polarization in Mexico is “confined to the elites,” but then again, you might well have your head firmly up your ass if you buy that notion without duing the due diligence on the downside risk.
See also “The Surprising Competence of Calderón the Harvard-Educated Technocrat.”
The emerging markets funds loved Zedillo, too, recall.
It is not a hard and fast rule, true, but as a rule of thumb, I find that journalists who get assassinated for reporting on corruption in high places are not generally assassinated because they are chasing phantasms in the night.
Therefore, I translate Mr. Fazio’s analysis, on the theory that there is at least a slight chance that this point of view represents a downside risk to the strategy of armed liberation of markets kept closed by “populist dictators.”
Calderón was elected with 35% of the vote in an election with 60% turnout, according to Wikipedia –I thought I saw a much lower figure the other day, let me check that — and as Brazil’s Lula pointed out at Davos, while Chávez was reelected in 2006 with some 63% of the vote in an election with 75% turnout. Lula was reelected with 61% of the vote and 83.2% turnout.
Systematic election fraud — at the national level, at least — has not been alleged by anyone in Venezuela or Brazil, that I know of.
El modelo Calderón
Con una diplomacia de “mercado”, oportunista y sin principios, y un discurso y prácticas políticas de corte ultraconservador propios de la guerra fría, Felipe Calderón y el Partido Acción Nacional se aprestan a ser más funcionales a Estados Unidos en su proyecto de reconquista en América Latina.
With a “market driven” diplomacy, opportunistic and devoid of principle, Felipe Calderón and PAN are in a hurry to sign up as employees of the United States in its project to reconquer Latin America.
En Davos, Suiza, al más puro estilo foxista, Calderón alabó al “libre mercado” y criticó las expropiaciones, las nacionalizaciones y las “dictaduras personales vitalicias”. En México, Manuel Espino, un anticomunista cerril que preside al PAN y a la Organización Demócrata Cristiana de América (ODCA), anunció que la derecha “va por todo” en Latinoamérica, con la mira puesta en tres objetivos principales: Cuba, Bolivia y Venezuela; los mismos que figuran en la agenda subregional de Washington.
In Davos, Calderón praised “the free market” in the purest tradition of Vincente Fox and criticized expropriations, nationalizations and “personal dictators for life.” In Mexico, Manuel Espino, the crude anticommunist who presides over PAN and the Christan Democrat Organization of America, announced that the right “is going for it” in Latin America, with its eye on three objectives: Cuba, Bolivia and Venezuela, the same targets that loom largest in the regional agenda of Washington.