Neoliberalism

Mexico News & Analysis: Oct 29-Nov 4

WHY IS MEXICO ABSENT FROM US ELECTION DEBATE?
This coming week, about half the eligible voters in the United States will participate in a quadrennial exercise in limited democracy by electing 435 Representatives, one-third of the Senate, and a President - all wealthy, mostly white and male, and inevitably beholden to one sector of the capitalist class or another. Political commentators recently noticed that, aside from a few brief mentions of migration and Latino voters, Mexico has not been part of the electoral debate.  Why ignore our neighbor to the south? 

Well, from the perspective of the US capitalist class, Mexican affairs are very much in order, thanks largely to sitting President Felipe Calderon and his National Action Party (PAN).  For the past six years, Calderon has been a loyal minion, defending free trade agreements, maintaining a neoliberal economic agenda by cutting social spending and sustaining a relatively balanced budget, waging an increasingly violent “war on drugs,” and acting as US surrogate in Latin American political circles. Occasionally the US will step over a line that even the PAN can’t overlook, generating a few carefully measured words from Calderon, almost always delivered to the Spanish-speaking media - for example, when the Border Patrol murders Mexican citizens, not an uncommon occurrence.  But for the most part, US authorities say jump, and Calderon responds with “how high.”  Mexico’s political wagon is hitched securely to the US capitalist class, and as a result, Mexico boasts some of the wealthiest capitalists in the world, while more than half the country lives in poverty. 

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News and Analysis: October 17-23, 2011

1 - POLITICAL PARTIES SPAR AHEAD OF ELECTIONS
2 - NEARLY 1,000 POLICE FIRED IN VERACRUZ
3 - ALABAMA IMMIGRATION LAW WREAKS HAVOC IN SCHOOLS AND FARMING
4 - CALDERON COMPLAINS ABOUT DUMPING CRIMINALS AT BORDER
5 - FORMER PRESIDENT FOX CALLS FOR NEGOTIATIONS WITH CARTELS
6 - CALDERON SUGGESTS ADVENTURE TOURISM FOR INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES

The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) filed a largely ritual complaint this week with the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), accusing President Felipe Calderon of interfering with the 2012 presidential elections.  In an October 15 New York Times interview, Calderon suggested the PRI may cut deals with drug cartels, similar to agreements reached by party members when they ruled Mexico for seven decades.  Mexican law technically prevents sitting presidents from influencing elections, but complaints of this type are typical in election seasons.

Meanwhile, Enrique Pena Nieto, the likely PRI presidential candidate, called for privatization of Pemex, Mexico’s national petroleum monopoly.  The PRI nationalized petroleum in 1938 under President Cardenas, perhaps Mexico’s most beloved political figure.  Now 70 years later, Pena Nieto appears to have contracted the neoliberal bug, claiming the country would benefit from foreign investment – and ownership – in the oil sector.  Historically this has not been a popular position, either within the PRI or in the broader society.  This may be part of Pena Nieto’s campaign strategy to distance himself from the historic PRI while benefiting from the political clout and national structure of the party.

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