Thursday, April 28, 2005

Mexico Rising?

the scribe’s a little late in reporting on this report (which is sort of what we do here at highwayscribery) from Copley News Service’s S. Lynne Walker.

She/he? profiled Andrés Manuel López Obrador (we’ll be dispensing with the accent marks from here out) who is the mayor of Mexico City and the prospective presidential candidate of the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD), which is Mexico’s progressive grouping.

highwayscribery discussed, in an earlier posting (“Power and Impunity” April 13), efforts by the country’s two other corrupt parties, to drum him out of office on piddling charges, because, it would seem, Lopez Obrador is on his way to being the next national leader.

You’re not hearing a lot about the groundswell gathering beneath him in the U.S. press because he is (glp!) a left-wing guy.

But the scribe likes what little he’s reading.

As a young man and functionary of the long-reigning Revolutionary Institutional Party (more institutional than revolutionary!) he was put in charge of dealing with indigenous peoples and got quite a shock at the poverty in which they lived.

Walker writes, “He helped farmers improve their production and paved the roads to their towns. He sent tons of cement to impoverished villages to build houses instead of straw shacks. He set up a breakfast program for students and made junior high available to Indian children.”

Here at highwayscribery we believe if government doesn’t do this kind of stuff, it should be shut down.

He wanted to be governor of Tabasco, but the PRI had somebody else in mind so he united a number of smaller leftist parties under the revolutionary democratic banner and built his base with poor and indigenous people.

Quoting again: “[H]e began to read the teachings of Mohandas Ghandi and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., ‘the great ones of resistance,’ said Auldarico Hernandez, former state president of the PRD.”

And if you don’t like those teachings, maybe you should find another blog.

He ran for governor and lost and then gathered up his ragged troops and marched on the national oil consortium to protest the pollution that was destroying local agriculture and fisheries.

The article recounts that his first political meeting in 1988 drew ten people and that he said, “Today were are just ten. Tomorrow there will be 11. That is how it has to begin.”

Last week one million gathered in Mexico City in a silent march in his defense.

He told them: “We are talking about a country for everyone, a country for the poor, for the disposed and humble. We cannot govern our country, nor have progress, nor tranquility, nor social peace with an ocean of inequality.”

Which is why we focus upon him here today.

As mayor of Mexico City, “He gave modest monthly stipend to elderly and disabled residents, awarded scholarships to children who couldn’t afford pencils and books and founded the University of Mexico City. He also built double-decker highways to speed traffic and renovated the historic downtown...The mayor traveled across the city in an aging economy car and lived in a crumbling apartment building near the university where he had earned his degree...He worked long hours, sometimes sleeping only three or four hours a night. When his wife died of lupus in 2003, he returned to work two days later...”

If you get a candidate like that running for mayor of your city (and you won’t) give him your vote.

More to come on this intriguing politician and human being.

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