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