First ladies Michelle Obama and Margarita Zavala carried out a number of enthusiastically-attended public events during the 2-day visit. After a round table with several of Mexico’s most prominent women in public life, political scientist Denise Dresser said, “The fact that [Michelle Obama] came to Mexico seems to me a testimony of friendship and solidarity and a recognition of Mexico’s importance. It was a praiseworthy gesture.” (Reforma 4/15)
In today’s Reforma, in a column entitled Rotten Smell, political scientist Denise Dresser writes:
In recent days, Felipe Calderón has achieved something surprising: to appear simultaneously to be a liar, an incompetent, and a dishonorable man whose word cannot be trusted. A liar, if he knew that his Secretary of Government was negotiating with the PRI, even when his minions denied it. Incompetent, if he did not know and is nonetheless keeping Fernando Gómez Mont. … Dishonorable, if an agreement was reached with the PRI which was then broken. All three cases are bad. But that which has been lost sight of … is the most serious thing: the kind of agreement that the PRI proposed and that Fernando Gómez Mont accepted.
This is what really stinks and what keeps Mexico mired in permanent mediocrity. The PRI proposed backing the budget in exchange for the PAN not joining with the PRD in the coming elections. … The PRI accepted tax increases in exchange for leaving intact its [political] machine in Oaxaca, and the PAN accepted this deal. In other words, taxes in exchange for impunity. Taxes in exchange for bosses. …The PRI negotiated, in the dark, a perverse pact, and Gómez Mont singned on to it with the blessing of this chief.
The Supreme Court will consider a proposal from Minister José Ramón Cossío Díaz that members of the armed forces that commit crimes against civilians be tried in civilian courts rather than military tribunals. Last week Government Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont personally lobbied each of the 11 Ministers of the court against the proposal, arguing that it would risk the integrity of the armed forces and hurt the war against drug traffickers. The court is considered sharply divided on the issue. Columnist Denise Dresser noted, “The number of accusations of human rights violations committed by the Army has grown 600% in the last two years, to 140 per month. The war against drugs is becoming a serious problem for the civilian population, which ought not to be minimized or classified as ‘collateral damage.’ The military is capturing drug bosses, but it is also violating individual rights. The fight against crime is generating its own form of criminality.” (Universal 8/10, Reforma 8/10)
The civic group Propuesta Civica, headed by human rights activist Sergio Aguayo, is calling for voters to cast their ballots for a fictitious candidate, Esperanza Marchita (“Faded Hope”) as a way of registering their demands for political reform. In her weekly video, top political commentator Denise Dresser joined the campaign. “The moment has arrived to recognize what doesn’t work, and to fix it. I am planning on annulling my vote and casting my ballot for ‘Esperanza Marchita.’ Because nullification is participation. And it is to hope for more,” she said. (Reporte Indigo 6/12)