Editorials | Opinions | August 2007
|Intransigence and Incompetence at the PRD Circus|
Allan Wall - PVNN
Is the PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution) a modern leftist party that is capable of governing Mexico? Judging from its latest party convention, its Congreso Nacional, the answer would be a big fat "No."
|There can’t be more voters than registered delegates. What’s going on?|
- Pablo Gomez
Contemporary Mexico faces enormous challenges. Yet its principal socialist party, which claims to speak for “the people,” has displayed in its latest convention that it’s not ready to deal with that just yet.
Excuse me, did I call it a convention? Perhaps circus would be a better designation. If nothing else, it was entertaining.
There were a few fights at the podium, with delegates grabbing the microphone from their fellow Perredistas, insulting each other, and occupying the dais to prevent others from speaking.
There was the ongoing conflict between the PRD’s two major factions: the “New Left” and the “National Democratic Left.”
There was the resolution to not recognize nor negotiate with the administration of Felipe Calderon. Then there was a very curious and comical mathematical discrepancy.
What happened was, the estimable PRD delegates took a vote, and – ahem - the numbers didn’t really add up. And the votation wasn’t even on an important topic. They were voting on whether to eliminate the party’s “Executive National Committee” and replace it with the “National Political Committee.”
Now who outside the professional activists of the PRD really gives a hoot about that? Certainly not the poverty-stricken Mexicans the PRD claims to speak for! And after the vote was held, 453 total votes were announced. The problem is, there were only 153 registered delegates!
So was this an example of incompetence, corruption, or incompetent corruption? I mean, if you’re going to steal an election, you could at least try to make it look right.
Pablo Gomez, the presiding officer, took to the microphone and declared the obvious - “There can’t be more voters than registered delegates. What’s going on?”
What is going on, indeed?
Mexico faces enormous challenges. It needs a more dynamic economy to provide more jobs, and better-paying jobs, to its people. The destructive drug cartel wars need to be dealt with, and that involves questions of the role of the army and the police, civil rights, and drug law.
Mexico's future as a part of North American needs to be debated.
The Mexican Congress is negotiating a fiscal reform, which is very important to Mexico’s future. All these are legitimate topics of discussion, certainly to a leftist party which claims to speak for the people. Yet the PRD Convention/Circus doesn’t exhibit a modern leftist party capable of dealing with it. It reveals a squabbling bunch of power-seeking politicians who are out of touch with ordinary Mexicans.
The aforementioned mathematical irregularity wasn't the only one, and it elicited cries from the audience of “Vote by vote, delegate by delegate.” This slogan is reminiscent of the “vote by vote” cry sounded in the 2006 post-election contention, in which Felipe Calderon (of the PAN, National Action Party,) barely edged out AMLO of the PRD.
Like many self-styled revolutionaries, the party's leaders are fighting the battles of the past. The PRD is stuck in the 2006 presidential election, now ancient history to most Mexicans. Thanks to the influence of sore loser AMLO (Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador) the PRD convention approved a resolution not to recognize the administration of Felipe Calderon, who has been in office for 8 months and is doing well in the polls.
What does AMLO hope to gain by doing that? To preserve his own power, of course.
This is especially selfish when current negotiations are continuing over fiscal reform. That’s an issue which is critical to Mexico’s economic future. But AMLO would prefer to relive the heady days of 2006 than think about the future.
The PRD convention, in other words, is a public display of selfishness, elitism, incompetence and corruption. That doesn’t mean the entire party is ineffective. PRD state governors and the PRD Mexico City mayor tend to be more pragmatic and constructive.
Why is that? It’s because a governor or mayor has to actually do something, and deal with concrete issues on a daily basis.
The PRD delegates, on the other hand, are professional politicians and legislators who don’t really have to accomplish anything. For them, power politics and posturing are where it’s at, rather than dealing with the challenges that face their country. They aren't even required to do their arithmetic properly!
Allan Wall is an American citizen who has been teaching English in Mexico since 1991, and writing articles about various aspects of Mexico and Mexican society for the past decade. Some of these articles are about Mexico's political scene, history and culture, tourism, and Mexican emigration as viewed from south of the border, which you can read on his website at AllanWall.net.
Click HERE for more articles by Allan Wall.