The general in charge of human rights for the Army responded angrily to Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s criticism of the armed forces.
Starting with statements made during his NYC trip, AMLO has accused the military of complicity in the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotiznapa and of participation in more than 100 “massacres” ordered by Presidents Calderón and Peña Nieto. He twittered that, “When we triumph, we will no longer use the Army to repress the people.”
The Army human rights spokesman, General Beltrán said:
Anyone who has proof of human of human rights violations committed by soldiers, as some public figures have alleged, must present them.
Digging in, AMLO has countered that he commands the full support of the rank and file, and ignored the complaints of the military leadership and politicians supporting them:
It’s very clear that the soldiers are the people in uniform; they are the sons of peasants, sons of workers…. In the 2006 and 2012 elections the soldiers — the troops — voted for change, they voted for us, and they will do the same in 2018. The soldiers will support change.
Columnist Salvador García Soto notes that picking a fight with the military leadership isn’t going to benefit any candidate and, “it brings to mind the popular saying that the fish dies by its own mouth. And this just might snag López Obrador.”
(Sources: El Financiero, SPD Noticias, El Universal)
Doubts are emerging about President Peña Nieto’s ability to keep control of the succession process, given the abysmal polling of the potential PRI candidates for the 2018 presidential election.
Until now, almost all have assumed that EPN would pick his successor using the “dedazo,” the big finger, that PRI presidents in the pre-democratic era exercised to indicate their successor. Indeed, EPN has maintained iron control of gubernatorial nominations through his term.
An anonymous PRI official told columnist Salvador García Soto,
We have to tell President Peña that the method for picking gubernatorial candidates until now won’t work to solve the succession issue inside the PRI. The president needs to innovate, open the process, and let many aspirants run in an open manner to help the PRI reposition itself in an adverse environment in which the other parties and candidates have big advantages.
According to García Soto, Presidencia’s last internal poll shows that all the potential PRI candidates finish a distant third against AMLO and any PAN candidate. The best positioned of the PRIistas is Health Secretary José Narro. In a trial ballot, Narro captures 19% of the vote, AMLO 29.6%, and Margarita Zavala of the PAN 24.3%.
These PRI dissidents are promoting the idea that the PRI National Assembly, scheduled to meet at the beginning of August, should decide the methods for selecting candidates for the 2018 races.
While AMLO has been using his visits to Mexican communities in the U.S. to portray a statesman-like image, he was effectively derailed by protesters in Queens, New York on Monday. Supporters and family members of the 43 students killed in Iguala in 2014 interrupted a town-hall type meeting, accusing AMLO (correctly) of close ties with the then mayor of Iguala and then governor of Guerrero at the time. (Both politicians were members of the PRD, and were politically backed by AMLO and his supporters.) In the face of the disruption, AMLO cancelled the rest of the Queens event; much of the rest of his agenda in NYC and Washington was hit by winter storm “Stella.” The images of the protesters shutting AMLO down is about the only impact his visit had in Mexico.
In a major boost to Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s consolidation of his control over Mexico’s political Left, the leader of the PRD in the Senate, Miguel Barbosa, endorsed AMLO for president. (The PRD Central Committee demanded Barbosa’s resignation, but he has so far refused.) Columnist José Rubenstein notes that the PRD is disintegrating. The party’s parliamentary group had 22 Senate seats at the beginning of 2016, and defections have reduced the number to 12. And if Barbosa and his allies leave, the PRD would be down to seven senators.
Posted in Elections, Parties
For the first time, a major poll showed Morena — the party of Andrés Manuel López Obrador — rising to the top spot in preferences for the 2018 presidential election.
The Reforma poll gave Morena 27%, up 5% since December. (The poll results are adjusted for the 25% of respondents who didn’t answer or had no preference.)
Q: “If the Presidential election were today, for which party would you vote for President?”
The PAN and PRD leaderships in Mexico State each approved a policy of alliances with the other to dethrone the PRI in next year’s gubernatorial election. However, Andrés Manuel López Obrador attacked the prospective alliance in meetings across the state. AMLO said, “If an alliance between the PAN and PRD is imposed from above … we will build our own alliance from below, of militants of the PRD, PT and Covergencia” and leave the PRD as “an empty shell.” (Reforma 9/27, 10/10, Universal 10/3)
Posted in Elections, Parties
The apparent victories of the PAN-PRD coalitions in the PRI strongholds of Oaxaca, Puebla, and Sinaloa vindicates the controversial strategy of President Felipe Calderón and PAN party president César Nava of forming state-level alliances with the PRD (and other left parties). In Oaxaca, coalition candidate Gabino Cué (originally from Convergencia) won 50% to 42% for Eviel Pérez, the protege of outgoing governor Ulises Ruiz. In Puebla, coalition standard bearer Rafael Moreno Valle won 52% to 41% for Javier López, the anointed successor to Mario Marín. Finally, in Sinaloa, coalition candidate Mario López Valdez (“Malova,” who until recently was a priista) beat Jesús Vizcarra of the PRI by 52%-46%. In all three states, this is the first time ever that anyone other than the PRI has ever won the state governorship.
Noted columnist Héctor Aguilar Camín, “Democracy is surprising, and defends itself well against predictions. The “unnatural” alliances of the PAN and PRD against the PRI have triumphed, far beyond what was expected. … The day, which had seemed for months like it would be a walk in the park for the PRI, has turned into a challenge for the party. It’s return to first place among voters happened, but in a competitive context that had seemed very unlikely.” (Milenio 7/5)
The coalition victories also strengthen the hand of PRD party president Jesús Ortega against Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who bitterly opposed the coalitions.
Another big winner would appear to be Teachers’ Union head Elba Esther Gordillo. The mobilization of the Union in favor of coalition candidates in Oaxaca, Puebla, and Sinaloa is being given credit for the PAN-PRD victories there. On the other hand, where the Union stood on the sidelines, as in Veracruz, the PRI won handily.
Finally, the success of the coalitions greatly increases the likelihood that the PAN and PRD will try to form a coalition for the State of Mexico gubernatorial elections in July 2011 — in what will certainly be viewed as the opening act for the 2012 presidential succession and a test for PRI front runner and current State of Mexico governor Enrique Peña Nieto. Failure of Peña Nieto to deliver the governorship of his own state would be a severe blow to his presidential ambitions and current aura of invincibility.