[Marxism] RE: Mexico's Green Party in Context

Tony Abdo gojack10 at hotmail.com
Sat Mar 6 23:18:06 MST 2004


Corruption Video Dents Mayor's Popularity
Fri Mar 5

MEXICO CITY - The popularity of Mexico's leading presidential contender has 
plummeted following the broadcast of clandestine videos showing his allies 
discussing bribes or stuffing dollars into a briefcase, a poll showed 
Friday.    Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has cultivated an 
image as an honest, austere populist who lives in a middle-class apartment 
and travels in an economy car.

In one video, one of the mayor's closest allies was recorded on videotape 
stuffing his briefcase and suit pockets with dollar bills pulled from a 
businessman's paper bag.   The portion of people who described Lopez Obrador 
as honest fell from 59 percent before the video broadcasts to 30 percent 
after, according to a nationwide poll published by the Mexican newspaper 
Reforma.   The poll surveyed 500 adults by telephone Thursday and had a 
margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.     Asked whether 
they would vote for Lopez Obrador as president in 2006, 37 percent said they 
would have before before the videos, while 24 percent said they would now.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fox: Mexico Democratic Despite Scandals
Fri Mar 5,11:40 AM ET
By JOHN RICE, Associated Press Writer

MEXICO CITY - Ahead of Friday's visit with President Bush (news - web 
sites), Mexico President Vicente Fox (news - web sites) said his country has 
become more democratic despite lingering corruption scandals that have 
tarnished the national political scene.

"We are passing through a transition from the hidden to openness, from 
apathy to denunciations, from unpunished fraud to punishment," Fox said in a 
Thursday speech to Mexico City's Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Despite Fox's reassurances, however, recriminations ripped through Mexican 
politics Thursday following a series of widely broadcast clandestine 
videotapes showing prominent political figures discussing bribes, spending 
vast amounts of money or stuffing dollars into a briefcase.

Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador — who leads early polls for 
the 2006 presidential race — suggested that Fox's government was behind the 
scandals, something Fox's administration denied.    Mexico's constitution 
bars politicians, including the president, from re-election.    Many members 
of Lopez Obrador's own faction-ridden Democratic Revolution Party, known as 
the PRD, were eager to blame one another.

One of the mayor's closest allies, the party's Mexico City legislative 
leader Rene Bejarano, testified before investigating prosecutors for several 
hours Wednesday night about a videotape in which he was shown stuffing his 
briefcase and suit pockets with dollar bills pulled from a businessman's 
paper bag.    Bejarano's wife, federal Congresswoman Dolores Padierna, 
alleged in an interview with Capital Radio that former Mayor Rosario Robles 
was involved in a political ambush of her husband.
Robles acknowledged friendship with the businessman, Carlos Ahumada, but 
called the allegation of involvement in the scandal "ridiculous."

Padierna claimed the money — she said it was less than $50,000 — had been 
offered by Robles and Ahumada to help support political campaigns in 
exchange for grass-roots work by supporters of Padierna's faction.     The 
businessman, Ahumada, said he was being extorted by Lopez Obrador's aides. 
City officials accused him of making those claims to divert attention from a 
multimillion-dollar fraud investigation of his construction companies.

Mexico's Green Party, meanwhile, found itself portrayed as the party of the 
rich and infamous on television news programs.    Party dissident Santiago 
Leon, who already released a video showing Green leader Jorge Emilio 
Gonzalez discussing a proposed $2 million bribe, appeared on television 
Thursday night with hotel receipts showing Gonzalez and a few friends spent 
tens of thousands of dollars last year at hotels in Paris and Monte Carlo.

Asked about the bills, which included more than $4,000 a night at a hotel's 
presidential suite, Green Party congressional leader Jorge Kahwagi told the 
Televisa network that party leaders were rich enough to afford it themselves 
and had not spent party funds.    He suggested they had shared the room, 
apparently to save money, while going out to spend $6,000 at a disco one 
night and several thousand dollars on two others. One breakfast cost more 
than $1,500.

Separately, Fox said he would discuss plans with Bush to unite North 
American nations in "a united bloc to confront the challenges of other 
regions of the world."    He said the first decade of the North American 
Free Trade Agreement had been successful, but added, "we need to promote new 
initiative that will bring us great integration and greater growth of our 
economies."

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