Monday, July 31, 2006


The inhabitants of Mexico City like to believe that they live in the brink of chaos. They deal with the most horrifying traffic, pollution, lack of safety, widespread corruption, water and power shortages and a host of other surreal problems with clenched teeth and road rage and then they lull themselves to sleep by insisting they are on the brink of chaos but not quite there. I beg to differ. I think Mexico City is already an urban catastrophe, but people get used to everything. The poor are used to a lot of misery and the rich to a lot of inconvenience. Life goes on.
Now they are going to have to get used to the disruptive mass antics of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is already manufacturing absolute urban chaos with his bully tactics. I wonder how long it's going to take all those people who believe the vote was clean and who do not want a recount, to get off their asses and counterdemonstrate. I also think that while the winner, Calderon, has wisely kept a low profile up to now, it's time he starts speaking up more forcefully.
AMLO is busing people to Mexico City to demonstrate, just like the PRI used to do. His tactics are the most crass, cynical manipulation of the poor and the hapless.
Mr. López Obrador, 52, has said his campaign for a recount is not an attempt to seize power, but a selfless drive to save Mexico’s fledgling democracy from what he sees as impure influences, like Mr. Fox’s use of his bully pulpit to help his party’s candidate and attack advertisements against Mr. López Obrador paid for by business groups.

“I want to stress the cause we are defending is fundamental,” he said. “I want to tell you that it goes beyond the fact that they should recognize my triumph as president of the republic.”

Then he added: “I am not a vulgar opportunist. Money does not motivate me nor interest me. Power only makes sense when it is put at the service of others.”

HA! The chuztpah. The nerve. The gall.
Listen, I would love to be wrong about this guy. I would love it that if he ever comes to power he will be a just and wise ruler that will help the poor and still allow the country to progress. I have serious doubts that he is capable of doing both. You have to read Spanish, but this article by Enrique Krauze in Letras Libres, explains quite cogently that AMLO is dogmatic, but not pragmatic; like Bush, he is uninterested in the world at large, and he thinks every criticism is a conspiracy. In short, a bully. His character leaves much to be desired, and that is what I fear in him.

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