Editorials | Opinions | April 2008
|An Enraged AMLO Says He Is "The Movement"|
Allan Wall - PVNN
The dispute over the future of PEMEX, Petróleos Mexicanos, the Mexican state oil monopoly, has entered a new phase.
|Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, de facto leader of the opposition|
As a result of the Calderon Administration's reform proposal (really a "reform lite," but which cautiously moves in the direction of more autonomy for PEMEX,) the FAP (Broad Progressive Front) alliance, composed of legislators from the PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution) and two other parties, took over the podiums in both of Mexico's congressional legislative chambers.
On April 25th, this takeover ended. The FAP had negotiated with the PAN (National Action Party) and PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party.) The parties agreed to hold a formal legislative debate in Congress over the future of PEMEX. The debate is to last 71 days (from May 13th to July 22nd.) The time can be lengthened if necessary.
The takeover of the podiums lasted more than two weeks. Why did the Calderon Administration allow it to last so long?
To begin with, just imagine what would have happened if Calderon had sent security forces into the congressional chambers to forcibly remove the opposition legislators! It would have looked real bad on television, and would have cast the oppositionists as victims and martyrs.
But allowing the protest to continue caused problems for the opposition.
According to one poll, taken on the 15th and 16th of April, 68% of those polled said the taking of the podiums was not justified, only 27% thought it was. Also, 53% now have a bad opinion of AMLO (Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador,) de facto leader of the opposition. (In February it was 35%.)
Furthermore, 60% of those polled said AMLO disrespects the institutions of the country, while only 29% think Lopez Obrador is respectful of the nation's institutions.
Nor was the podium takeover successful in shutting down Congress. The non-FAP parties (PAN, PRI and some micro-parties) were able to meet elsewhere, form quorums, and pass legislation. In this manner, they passed 14 pieces of legislation, some of which the FAP opposed.
So not only did the podium takeovers fail to help FAP increase its support in the court of public opinion, they actually made it easier for other parties to pass legislation!
Other opposition leaders might well question the role of AMLO, who considers himself the "legitimate president of Mexico," though he's not even the official leader of the PRD (which currently has none, but that's another story.)
The FAP coalition has its origins in AMLO's 2006 "Coalition for the Good of Everybody" presidential campaign, so it's his creature. But if the coalition fell apart and if the PRD renounced him, where then would Lopez Obrador be?
If the PRD follows AMLO's scorched earth policy, the party might lose all its input on the important issue of the future of PEMEX. At least if the party is part of the process it has input.
On April 25th, AMLO held a meeting with representatives of the 3 FAP parties. Lopez Obrador was angry that PRD senator Graco Ramirez had signed an agreement with the government.
"So now Graco is more important than me!" complained AMLO.
Lecturing PRD congressional coordinator Carlos Navarrete, Lopez Obrador dramatically proclaimed that "I have unchained this movement and the congressmen and senators should pay attention to what the movement resolves."
Navarrete, who was catching his drift, replied, "Let's see, so that it's completely clear - that means that you are the movement?"
"Yes, I am!" shouted AMLO to the assembled members of the 3 parties.
Such an affirmation is reminiscent of Louis XIV's (possibly apocryphal) claim that "L'État, c'est moi" ("I am the State!") AMLO is the movement!
Afterwards, AMLO's "I am the movement" outburst was reported. But rather then justifying it, Lopez Obrador used his old "conspiracy" argument, claiming that the CISEN (Center of Investigation and National Security, the Mexican CIA) had been spying on him. The CISEN needn't have bothered, apparently AMLO was talking so loudly that reporters on the balcony could hear him!
Lopez Obrador claims that he fights the PEMEX reform proposal for the good of the nation, but his egotism and dictatorial methods are counter-productive to his cause.
Maybe the Calderon Administration is thinking along the lines of an apt Napoleon Bonaparte quote: "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."
Allan Wall is an American citizen who has been teaching English in Mexico since 1991, and writing articles about various aspects of Mexico and Mexican society for the past decade. Some of these articles are about Mexico's political scene, history and culture, tourism, and Mexican emigration as viewed from south of the border, which you can read on his website at AllanWall.net.
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