Don Fidel's Ghost Continues to Haunt Mexican Workers

Tony Abdo aabdo at
Sun Aug 6 21:17:27 MDT 2000

The current leader of the CTM (Mexico's AFL-CIO) is showing that his
part of the PRI is co-operating in setting up the new dysfunctional
Mexican 2 party political system.       His message to Fox.... Don't
pick on us, and we won't pick on you.

Translated.... that means that the CTM will not represent workers any
more than it did with the PRI in the presidency.      PAN needs a
company house union working strong in Mexico,  just like the PRI
dictatorship did.      So there is no quarrel here,  between the old
'state union federation' and Vicente.

The CTM will play an important role in the efforts of the PRI to now try
to plant itself as THE Party of the Mexican Left.      Will the AFL-CIO
cooperate in this fraud, somewhere soon down the road?       It was too
compromising for the AFL-CIO to maintain a close relationship with the
CTM while PRI still was officially a one-party dictatorship.

Now, the AFL-CIO can begin to go South to the unions 'alligned' with the
PRI, just as they try to allign at home with the sweet talking liberals
of The Democratic Party.     This can be part of the effort to push
Cardenas and the PRD off the Mexican political landscape.

"Democracy' establshed by imperialism, needs 'worker co-operation' also.
The AFL-CIO under Sweeney  might even push this as a more activist
international solidarity.

Whatever lies ahead, Mexico is now on the road to trying to establish a
two party corporate state, instead of the old one party corporate state
(a dictatorship) that reigned previously.      Imperialism building
'democracy".... Careful... workers at work.

Tony Abdo
INTERVIEW-Mexico's top union stands by battered party
05 Aug 2000 17:45
By Adriana Barrera

MEXICO CITY, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Leonardo Rodriguez Alcaine, the leader of
Mexico's largest labor union, says he and the 10 million workers he
represents are not shifting with the political winds.
The Mexican Workers Confederation (CTM) was formed in 1936 as the labor
wing of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which since 1929
has controlled the federal government and dominated the country's
political landscape.

And the union is standing by the PRI, even after the party lost control
of the government for the first time in its history in last month's
presidential election.
"The CTM has strong ties to the PRI and we'll have them all our lives,"
Rodriguez Alcaine said in an interview. "We are pro-PRI. We were born
pro-PRI and we'll die pro-PRI."

The PRI, and its candidate Francisco Labastida, lost the presidency to
former businessman Vicente Fox of the conservative National Action Party
(PAN), who takes office Dec. 1. The stunning election defeat has led to
a power struggle inside the PRI as the party assesses its setback and
tries to adapt itself into an opposition party.

But Rodriguez Alcaine said the CTM was as solid as ever. "We don't need
(changes)," he said. "When we need them, we will make them without

During the election campaign, Rodriguez Alcaine threatened that his
traditionally docile movement might stage a general strike against a Fox
government. But while pledging continuing loyalty to PRI despite its
defeat, the CTM chief also offered to work for a smooth relationship
with the president-elect.

Rodriguez Alcaine, 81, took over the leadership of the CTM after the
death in 1997 at the age of 97 of the organization's long-time leader
Fidel Velazquez.

"Don Fidel," as Velazquez was commonly known, gave unswerving support
for nine presidents, making him a symbol of the PRI's seemingly
monolithic grip on power.
An example of the CTM's role in upholding domestic peace in Mexico came
when it sided in 1958 with the government that crushed a railroad
workers' strike. The labor confederation was also silent a decade later
when Mexican soldiers gunned down students in the capital during a

Since taking over the CTM helm, Rodriguez Alcaine has swayed little from
Velazquez's mandate, which included cozy relations with business and
government, and a refusal to support any labor unrest if it threatened
national stability.

In exchange for their loyalty to the system, many CTM officials won
seats in Congress. Rodriguez Alcaine, for example, has been a member of
the lower house on several occasions and once a senator.

But even before Velazquez's death, there was evidence that the CTM's
hold on workers was slipping. Unions split off from the confederation
and became increasingly unruly amid 15 years of falling wages that came
to a head with the collapse in living standards during Mexico's 1994-5
economic crisis.

Despite his pre-election strike threat, Rodriguez Alcaine sounded like
the CTM of old.

"From the ideological point of view, we've got the obligation to work
with whichever government is in power, in order not to place obstacles
in the path of country's economic growth," Rodriguez Alcaine told
Reuters on Thursday.

The labor leader met Fox on Tuesday -- the first major PRI figure to
meet the president-elect.

Ahead of the meeting, Rodriguez Alcaine told reporters Fox was "not a
close friend of mine. But I hope he will become a close friend of mine."

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