Excelsior published a private May 1996 letter written to a young Felipe Calderón by his political mentor Carlos Castillo Peraza, as Castillo Peraza was passing the leadership of the PAN to Calderón, who at age 33 was becoming the party’s youngest ever president. Castillo Peraza died in 2000, but the authenticity of the letter has not been contested. Some excerpts:
Your nature, your temperament is to be distrustful, even of your own shadow.…. During our last conversation you used a couple of expressions that preoccupy me. The first was: ‘If I don’t get involved in it, it won’t happen;’ and the second: ‘I have yet to find my alter ego.’ You will never find your ‘other self’ if you revise everything, if you suspect everyone, if you distrust them, if you wind up doing everything yourself. You will never find all the alter egos that you need as president of the PAN. …And you will drown in your work. You will know everything, but you will not preside. You will keep your people in fear, disciplined, but without enthusiasm or creativity. You will have to involve yourself in everything, because you will not let your subordinates act, and they know that they don’t count, that they will have to wait for you to decide, that you will wind up changing their marching orders, and that you don’t consider them responsible.
Katia d’Artigues writes, “It’s almost like having a peek into an affectionate, private psychoanalysis session, almost like a looking glass that only someone who cares about and/or knows us can provide,” while adding that the President “must feel cornered, perhaps stripped naked.”