Saturday, July 9, 2011

Why does Rosario Robles have her own column?

I find it inexplicable that Rosario Robles has her own column in Milenio, to be frank.

Robles, the second female president of the PRD who resigned abruptly among a massive corruption scandal, resurfaced as a columnist after keeping a very low profile for years, and for a good reason: She has repeatedly shown an amazing lack of judgment, politically, professionally, and personally.

As caretaker of Mexico City whenCuauhtémoc Cárdenas stepped down after barely two years to make yet another (his third) run for the presidency, she went on a wild spending spree on publicity and privileges for government functionaries, and was notorious for her personalistic and confrontational style. AMLO, to his credit, immediately cancelled the many dubious city contracts she had signed, when he took over in 2000.

As president of PRD, for 16 controversial months, she moved the party in a confrontational and radical direction - her university militancy was with a Maoist grouping - and stepped down after a poor electoral showing in 2003, despite the PRD's debt doubling to at least half a billion pesos under her watch.

But the real scandal came later, when it was revealed that her lover Carlos Ahumada, a wealthy businessman, had taken over parts of the PRD’s debt, and later sought to blackmail the party by making this public. Robles first denied this, but was forced to admit it when evidence surfaced. A PRD commitee found Robles criminally responsible. 

(This became part of the 2004 video scandals, which proved disastrous to the PRD and destroyed much of its credibility, when AMLO's secretary René Bejarano was caught on camera (set up by Ahumada) stuffing wads of money in a bag, ostensibly for "party promotion.")

Now, Robles argues in her column that a PAN-PRD alliance in Mexico State would have been useless, as the parties together were still beat by more than 30 points. This ignores completely two important points: An early demonstration of unity by PRD-PAN and a credible candidate might have created a very different dynamic and polarized the election. In turn, this might very well have elevated the turnout, which was the lowest in decades. It was exactly the much higher turnout, undoubtedly generated by voters actually believing the opposition candidate stood a chance and thus bothered to show up, which nailed the PRD-PAN triumphs in Oaxaca, Puebla, and Sinaloa last year. 

And now, Robles calls for "congruence" and for the "responsible" for the 2011 defeats to be punished.

I repeat: Why does Rosario Robles have her own column, and why on earth should anybody listen to her?

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