Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The candidacy of the left-wing guy who ran for president of Mexico and lost, Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, is now over.

Since we introduced highwayscribery readers to AMLO (as Obrador is known) and then staked the publication’s nonexistent reputation for clarity with a prediction that ALL HELL WAS ABOUT TO BREAK LOOSE IN MEXICO! we thought it best to address why that did not happen.

Cooler heads prevailed. Demonstrative of his power to screw things up, charged by his detractors with being messianic, Lopez Obrador refused to throw his street supporters into battle with the forces of order. He pulled back and nobody got hurt.

Vicente Fox was cool, too. Circumventing a clash with Obrador’s army he held the national fiesta of “el grito” someplace other than where they usually do, because that was flooded with AMLO’s army.

The government finally declared Felipe Calderon, the conservative guy with a great education, its president.

Lopez Obrador’s people declared him the president of everyone else and the repeated spectacle of half countries disavowing their fealty to a sketchily elected president played out more clearly than ever with his launching of a “parallel” government.

We’ll have to see how that goes.

He got no love from the international press which played it safe and backed the electoral process as presently constituted in Mexico, which is more diplomatic than questioning, but there are limits, to what writing articles about someone or something can achieve.

It was dismissive of those who supported him, happy to accept conservative Mexico’s characterization of them as dangerous and riff-raffy, which they probably were.

Lopez Obrador pushed the system to its limits through civil disobedience, made things uncomfortable for people. But his vaunted and threatened revolutionism turned out to be simple reformism, taking his movement the civic route rather than a violent one.

If he left everything in tact and standing - after intimating he could probably do otherwise - he certainly gave voice to a deep anger from poor Mexico. Those gripes are here to stay and they are no longer poorly kept secrets. It is no mistake that Calderon’s first public pronouncements as president-elect were in the name of “equality.”

That is Obrador’s doing and largely because he had serious backing. By giving the still-new party a moment of rally and a grudging place in the annals of Mexican history, he may have helped to give it an identity as it moves into a position of real power.

No comments: