Monday, August 28, 2006

The Mess in Mexico

There’s an interesting article in the Washington Post this morning about the role of religion in Mexico’s political crisis. What? You say you didn’t know there was a political crisis in Mexico? Not surprising. Our media has been doing an astonishingly bad job of covering this story. The presidential election was very close, and Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the apparent loser, has refused to accept the announced results. Followers of the populist, left-of-center former mayor of Mexico City have been staging protests all over Mexico. They have made prominent use of images of the Virgen de Guadelupe, something which has angered Cardinal Norberto Rivera, who has called the protestors “crazies.” Church and state issues are an even more serious game than here in the U.S., as the article points out, and even resulted in a war, the Cristero Revolt in the 1920s.

What is astonishing is how little play this is getting in the U.S. Millions of López Obrador’s supporters are likely to reject the final result if his opponent Felipe Calderon is declared the winner and inaugurated in December. They remember well 1988, when Cuauhtémoc Cardenas, another left-of-center politician from López Obrador’s party almost certainly had the presidential election stolen from him by Carlos Salinas, who proved to be monumentally corrupt. The PRI, ruling party at the time, was strong enough to ride out the controversy and keep Mexico stable. The situation today is potentially more fragile, and the Mexican people more politically engaged. The potential for chaos is real, yet a quick perusal of LexisNexis shows only sporadic reporting in the U.S., unlike the almost hourly updates on the JonBenet Ramsey case. But hey, who cares about political instability on our border when there’s a little girl’s death to exploit?

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