Sunday, October 14, 2007

Mexican Crowd Appears To Party Over Toppled Vicente Fox Statue

By Manifesto Joe

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox, Bush's amigo from south of the border, is no longer in charge of the henhouse, so to speak. It looks like he's pretty unpopular there now, as he faces a corruption investigation.

Just hours after a statue of Fox was erected in Boca del Rio, Mexico, on Saturday, angry opposition protesters gathered at the site and pelted the statue with eggs. El Fox con juevos. Then they tied a rope around the likeness' neck and pulled it down onto the street, in a scene that recalled the one in 2003 with the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.

Only this time, it looked like this incident was truly spontaneous, rather than semistaged by the powers that were.

News reports generally described the protesters as "angry." But once the statue was down and on the street, yoke-splattered, those street marauders didn't look angry in the photos taken after that. They appeared downright festive. I can't post the photo for permissions reasons, and although there is supposed to be video, none has been uploaded yet on You Tube. I will try to describe the scene a bit, and

here's a link to a report with the photo.

Some dude with a guitar showed up and was playing a corrido or something over the fallen statue. The people milling at the scene seemed to be enjoying themselves. They had everything except the mariachi band and tall shots of mescal.

Although these were said to be hardcore PRI opponents of Fox, it's still good to know that so many of the Mexican people finally realize that, back in 2000, they made a big mistake. (Now if we can just get some of those Bush 30-percenters up here to admit that they did, too.)

It took a while for people to notice, but Fox's family ranch was strikingly revamped and spiffed up during his six-year term in office. How did this happen? He was once a well-paid Coca-Cola executive, but was reported to have greatly depleted his fortune as he ascended politically, and the family ranch suffered as a result. But, it is said to look pretty good these days.

The improvements were great enough that, last month, the Mexican Congress began an investigation. This report is from the Sept. 28 International Herald Tribune:

If former President Vicente Fox thought his retirement would be peaceful at his ranch, swimming in the pool or strolling by the artificial lake and sumptuous gardens, then events this week have proved him wrong.

Congress started an investigation into his personal finances after a former campaign aide charged that Fox had used campaign money to renovate the ranch. Fox contends that every peso spent on the renovation came from his own pocket, a close adviser, Rob Allyn, said Thursday.

With photographs of the relatively luxurious ranch having recently been published in a magazine, the accusations from Lino Korrodi, the finance chairman for Fox's 2000 campaign, have fueled speculation among politicians about where Fox got the money.

The frenzy has reached a fever pitch in Congress, where members of opposition parties have pushed through a measure to set up a commission to investigate Fox's finances, a move unheard of in Mexico, where former presidents are generally treated with deference. ...

The investigation has put Fox on the defensive. This week, he declared he had nothing to hide from investigators. "He who owes nothing has nothing to fear," he said. On Tuesday, he declared in an open letter that his political enemies were trying to smear him "with false facts and fantastic stories."

"Before Mexico and the Mexicans, and my mother in heaven, I declare I am telling the truth," he wrote.

Questions began to surface about whether Fox had used his position to enrich himself after QuiƩn, a celebrity magazine, published photographs of the newly renovated ranch. It was a ramshackle affair with modest furnishings before he took office.

Fox's ranch is not luxurious compared with the estates of many wealthy and influential Mexicans, but the transformation raised suspicions in a country where power often goes hand in hand with corruption. Other former presidents amassed immense fortunes in office, historians say.

Still, Korrodi's broadside against his former friend and boss pushed members of Congress to demand an inquiry. "It is evident he got rich during his six years in office, in a very shameless and cynical way," Korrodi told the newspaper El Universal last week.

It is clear now that, after 71 years of the PRI, Mexicans turned tragically to a political party actually to the right of the ruling cadre to break the long monopoly of power. After the likely theft of last year's election, it looks like they traded in one bunch of corrupt thugs for another.

So, is this relevant to Americans? More than some of you can imagine. Sorry, Lou Dobbs, but one contemporary reality of North America is that, economically, the U.S. and Mexico have become countries essentially joined at the hip. The cords that have slipped in on both sides are much too strong to be severed now.

I remember all the hope and promise that abounded when Fox took office. The Mexican economy, people were told, would be managed by professionals, and not "politicized." But what happened was that the interests of the nation's stubborn economic elite and the big corporations were faithfully attended to, and without even those brazen handouts to the peasants that the PRI was notorious for around election time. That made it even worse.

It was comparable to what the American South did when they replaced old-style, Uncle Cornpone Dixiecrats with equally corrupt, but tighter-assed Republicans.

And so, the economic exodus to el norte has continued -- not merely unabated, but accelerated. The Mexican economy has continued to stagnate, with the arrogant elite hanging on ever more disdainfully.

Americans, take note: It really does matter what kind of government they have down there. It affects us very directly, more than ever.

Meanwhile, Mexico: Party down. You all in Boca del Rio have taken one step that Americans seem to lack the juevos to take.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

1 comment:

Cranky Daze said...

Hmmm. President Fox, meet Senator Stevens.