Thursday, August 8, 2013

New book on Mexico's Left: The Paradox of the PRD

My book on the Mexican left is out, and is entitled, Mexico’s Left: The Paradox of the PRD. 

It can be obtained from or Lynne Rienner Publishers, and its introduction can be downloaded as a PDF here (one tip: Sign up for emails with new publications from the publisher, and you will receive a newsletter with a special discount offer).

From a reviewer:
"An important contribution.... Dag Mossige has conducted exceptionally thorough research on the PRD, and he carefully situates his analysis within the comparative literature. His book illuminates the key dilemmas facing both the left and Mexico's new democracy."—Kevin J. Middlebrook, University College London

I do hope to return to blogging some time in the future, though it should be noted it was not this book's publication that prevented me from doing so, but other issues.

I just came back from a longer visit to Michoacán, in my eyes Mexico's most beautiful and most diverse state, but where the current fight against the Caballeros Templarios is making life hellish for far too many people.

I am currently living in Norway, where I am involved in party politics and where I am doing all I can to ensure a continued social-democratic government after the Sept. 9 elections.

All the best,

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ass-kissing of the year award, 2012

Edith Mendoza Pino, PRI mayor of Tulum, Quintana Roo, held a lavish party a few months ago after stepping down involuntarily from office. The farewell party was quite fittingly at the public treasury's expense, in keeping with her modus operandi of skimming the municipal treasury. Worse still, it turned out that Mendoza as well had granted a lot of tax reprieves of her own volition to companies operating in Tulum - something that of course was absolutely not in her authority, and  illegal.

Upon her arrest on Dec 7, Mendoza's desperate groveling appeal for, apparently, some kind of presidential pardon is nearly epic:
My sin is to have backed (President Enrique) Peña Nieto, when (Governor Roberto Borge, also PRI) gave the order to not back the President of the Republic... only two municipalities were won in the state, and one of them was Tulum. I won, I won the election for Peña Nieto, and this was also one of my sins.
Please, please, please, señor presidente - really, I only did it for you!
Ass-kisser of the year, Edith Mendoza Pino!

(and a bonus attitude point: The ex-mayor refused to come out of her SUV when she was arrested, which prompted federal agents to confiscate and impound the vehicle with miss Edith inside it!)

Image: What the companies in Tulum actually paid in taxes compared what they owe, courtesy of self-professed sinner Mendoza:

Ex alcaldesa "perdonó" impuestos a empresas. El Universal, Dec. 12, 2012.
Encuentran en Tulum desorden por 49 mdp. El Universal, Dec. 11, 2012.
Detienen a ex alcaldesa de Tulum; enfrentará juicio.  El Universal, Dec. 8, 2012.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

PAN membership cut in two

Ill-wishers of PAN will likely read it as a verdict of 12 generally mediocre years of PAN government, and they may well be right: It is hard to drum up much enthusiasm for the PAN in 2012, the year it came third in the presidential contest (last time was in 1988), and moreover handed the keys of Los Pinos back to the PRI: In its campaign of re-affiliation, PAN's membership looks like it will be cut in two, from around 1.8 million to less than 900.000. PAN essentially followed the PRD's move to not just renew its membership lists but really start out from scratch, where all party members had to reconfirm their intentions of being a member.

The main motivation for the initiative: The many disastrously dirty and fraudulent candidate selection processes taking place in the PAN ahead of the 2012 federal elections. PAN took long pride in its reputation as a party of "clean hands," which the past two sexenios have exposed as quite a joke. Its internal elections, moreover, given fraud in party rolls and last minute mass-affiliations of "swallows," who sign up just to leave the party when the election is over, even grew dirtier than those of its main rival on the left, the PRD. That says a lot of the PAN's fall.

PAN prevé perder 50% de militantes. El Universal, Dec. 9, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fox, no longer with PAN

Many in the PAN would like to kick Vicente Fox out of the party, above all given his increasingly public embrace of then-PRI candidate and now president Enrique Peña Nieto. Yet Fox might beat them to it: The former president (2000-6) said he won't renew his party membership, in protest over those who have "appropriated" the party - a not-too-veiled reference to ex-president Felipe Calderón.

Not that Fox was ever very close to the PAN - even though he was a federal deputy for the party already back in 1988 and won the presidency on the PAN label in 2000, he pretty much ignored the party when in government, an amazingly stupid approach given his infamous inability to get anything done as president.

That Fox will simply cease to be a member is also convenient for the party itself, as it will avoid the messy spectacle of a protracted expulsion process. Fox, for his part, will go down in history as the candidate who kicked the PRI out of national power, but then helped it get back in again in 2012. And not very much more.

Fox duda seguir en el PAN. El Universal, Nov. 26, 2012

Saturday, December 1, 2012

PRD's Alejandro Encinas: Political cowerdice

Alejandro Encinas Rodríguez is co-founder of the PRD, and a very important person within the party. Over the past years he's threatened to leave the party a few times, all with regards to the internal dispute within the party over its resistance to Andrés Manuel López Obrador's attempt to make the PRD a completely servile party at his full service, its only purpose to exist being to bring AMLO to the Mexican presidency. Encinas was a very moderate center-left politician, who did a pretty good job holding a few different secretaries in Mexico City, and twice was interim mayor when AMLO was first impeached and when he then stepped down to pursue the presidency. But since then, Encinas has lost very much credibility as he appeared increasingly subordinated to whatever commands AMLO issued to him.

Now, with AMLO actively recruiting PRD members to join his new personal party Morena, Encinas is again in the spotlight as a possible defector from the PRD. Ex-party president Jesús Ortega, who won leadership of the party in 2008 against the AMLO-backed Encinas, called Encinas out recently: Either you go with Morena, or you stay in the PRD, but make up your mind.

Encinas' response is truly embarrassing: He will wait making he decision, and base it on whether Morena really manages to convert itself into a party (officially register with the federal electoral institute, that is). In other words, Encinas is taking no chances - he will enjoy the fat privileges of being a senator for the PRD, but is not loyal to the party and might leave it - but only if he is assured he has a new party ready for him. Say whatever you want about Martí Batres, a hard-left authoritarian unreconstructed stalinist who recently ditched the PRD, but did so in order to build AMLO's new Morena - as opposed to merely waiting for the new party to be ready - the table set, and then show up - like Encinas. This is nothing less than political cowardice.

Líderes perredistas descartan ir a Morena. El Universal, Nov. 27, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mario Vargas Llosa meets with new Mexico City mayor

Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa met yesterday with Miguel Mancera, where he pronounced that Mexico needs a "modern left."

Not only is Vargas Llosa hardly a man of the left himself - he's a classic liberal, in the Latin American sense of the word (nothing to do with the U.S. use of the term, and far more economically liberal than European liberals) - and lest we forget, just a few weeks ago, he snubbed Mexico's president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto when the latter was on a visit to Spain.

But to the incoming mayor of Mexico City, he did find the time.

Se necesita izquierda moderna: Vargas Llosa. El Universal, Nov. 26, 2012

Mexico GDP growth, 1988-2012

Let the graphic below from Reforma (h/t pronounce the verdict on 12 years of PAN rule: