Crusade Against Hunger

News and Analysis: January 7 - 27

224

1 - ANTI-POVERTY PROGRAMS?
2 - ZAPATISTA COMMUNIQUES OFFER NEW LESSONS
3 - PENA NIETO RESPONDS TO EZLN COMMUNIQUES
4 - ZAPATISTA SUPPORTER RELEASED FROM PRISON

President Enrique Pena Nieto announced a program last week to fight extreme poverty, following a recent trend in populist politics utilized early in administrations whose electoral legitimacy is in doubt. Carlos Salinas de Gotari of the PRI, who stole an election in 1988, announced his Solidarity program in the first week of his administration. Solidarity was an effort to convert the PRI’s historic corporatist politics to a more direct relationship between recipients and party by offering supplies for construction of schools, roads and other infrastructure if communities provided the labor. Salinas often delivered the money in person in highly publicized events. PRIista Ernesto Zedillo followed in 1994 winning less than half the popular vote, the first time a PRI candidate publicly recognized such a slim victory. Zedillo replaced Solidarity with Progresa, a poverty-fighting program of direct subsidies to the poorest families provided their children go to school. PANist Vicente Fox took power in 2000 with 42% of the vote. He immediately replaced Progresa with Oportunidades, another direct subsidy program but more extensively linked to social engineering, including mandatory birth control classes, with some experts reporting sterilization operations performed on uninformed indigenous women. In 2006, PANista Felipe Calderon stole an election with the help of political operator extraordinaire Elba Esther Gordillo. He immediately offered infrastructure programs for poor communities, a “70 and Over Program” that provides US$50 a month in assistance for the elderly (the idea came directly from his opponent in the presidential campaign), and continuation of Oportunidades.

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