Monday, November 26, 2012

"Obama Loses Credibility by Cozying Up to Mexico´s New President" (Huffington Post, November 26th, 2012)

Enrique Peña Nieto/Foto: Maria Luisa Severiano, La Jornada
65% of the over 50 million Latinos who live and work in the United States are of Mexican origin. But President Barack Obama's embrace of Mexico's new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, in their meeting this Tuesday, November 27th in Washington, DC is the wrong way for him to appeal to this growing sector of the electorate. Peña Nieto hails from the old guard Party of the Institutional Revolution (PRI) which ruled the country for 71 years and represents the worst of Mexico's authoritarian past. By cozying up to this new face of reaction in the region, Obama sends a clear message that his Latin America policy will be equally as shortsighted in his second term as it was during his first. It also estranges the millions of Latino voters who were forced to leave Mexico because of the gross economic mismanagement and authoritarian politics of Peña Nieto's predecessors from the PRI.

The July 1st, 2012 Mexican presidential election was a far cry from normal democratic politics.Independent civil society groups reported that at least 28% of the voters were illegally pressured to vote for a particular candidate, 71% of those for Peña Nieto, and the secret ballot was violated in over 20% of the voting booths. The day after the election, mobs of people inundated local supermarkets to cash in on the rebate cards they had been given in exchange for their votes.Television news coverage has for years been strongly biased towards Peña Nieto. Hugo Chávez most definitely received far more criticism from the local media during his most recent presidential campaign than did Peña Nieto during his.

Peña Nieto and the PRI are under investigation by the authorities for possible gross violations of Mexico's strict campaign spending limits. They triangulated enormous amounts of cash to their political operatives by using debit cards issued by little known financial institutions. There is widespread suspicion that a significant portion of these resources were funneled off from government budgets and may have even come from money-laundering operations. Official observers from the European Union have condemned the Mexican electoral authorities for their insufficient efforts to prevent fraud and assure a level playing field. Mexico's Chamber of Deputies has just opened up a special inquiry into the possible use of illegal funds for Peña Nieto's campaign.

Nobody has taken to the streets to celebrate Peña Nieto´s victory or the return of the PRI to the presidency. To the contrary, immediately after the election, tens of thousands of youth protested throughout the country demanding the election be annulled due to overspending, media bias and favoritism from electoral authorities. This December 1st, Peña Nieto will be greeted at his inauguration by thousands of angry protesters...

FULL TEXT OF ARTICLE AVAILABLE AT THE HUFFINGTON POST