Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Don Samuel Ruíz: The "miracle" is that he lived to die of natural causes at 86

Don Samuel Ruíz: A wonderful and thoughtful obituary, of sorts, by Laura Carlsen of the CIP Americas Program, that also touches on a most uncomfortable truth, given the onslaught of popes John Paul II and Benedixt XVI on liberation theology and the progressive gains of the Vatican II, of which Samuel Ruíz was a participant: With the most honorable exception of Raul Vera, bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila, how many of the progressive catholics remain in the upper echelons of the church? To me it seems sadly to be very few, given its rightward turn the past two decades or so.

The first "shocker" of 2011: Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas does not rule out 2012 bid

It's been argued before: Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, three-time presidential candidate and founder of the PRD, will never bury his ambitions of making himself or his son president of Mexico. He is currently achieving quite a bit of publicity in relation with promoting his new book (which will be reviewed when I get to the other 17 books ahead of it in the stack), and let it be known that he does not rule out a fourth presidential bid. By all means: He is in every right to do so. It is also in every PRD members right to point out, "Thanks, but you had your chance, you had a second chance, you had a third chance, ya basta."

Cárdenas also ended up on the front page of El Universal a few days back with a scathing critique of PRD, which he claimed "not even a miracle could unify" - not even a possible party presidency of his son Lázaro - and he offered a range of critiques of the party's (lack of) organization, its many internal fights, and so on.

While many of the critiques are quite right on target, it begs the question: Why now? Why now, ahead of an ultra-important election for the PRD in Guerrero, with others to come, and as the PRD in Mexico state is making at least some small steps toward reconciliation with the likely Alejandro Encinas candidacy - why did he find it fruitful to launch a full barrage of criticism against the party at this juncture? Many key perredistas as well were clearly unhappy with this onslaught, such as Jesús Zambrano, who retorted that "from above one doesn't always see that clearly how the PRD looks inside," while secretary general Hortensia Aragón suggested he come and take a look at the very real process of organization taking place in the party, which Cárdenas is so dismissive of.  His charge that not even "saints" could unify the PRD, given his still important clout in the party, may even take the form of a self-fulfilling prophesy.

(El Univeral, in this regard, offered a most laudable editorial on the importance of a strong and unified PRD in Mexico)

Cárdenas at the very least seems to be coming to terms that the PRD, as has long been argued, is divided principally in two main blocks or poles, a topic as well of recent scholarly attention.

Yet as always, the criticism seems to me to be chiefly motitaved by his complaint that, in his words, "no one in the PRD listens to my criticism." One the one hand, CC has always rejected that he acted as a caudillo within the party, demanding the final word even if he no longer had official leadership positions, and that he was the party's "moral leader." Yet on the other, when all is said and done, he still expects the party to take his opinions as gospel.

"New" PAN-PRD alliance: Hidalgo

While PAN and PRD allied for the 2010 gubernatorial election in Hidalgo, which their candidate Xóchitl Gálvez are still fighting in court, what is notable about their new alliance is that in 2011 there are no gubernatorial elections in the state, though the heads of 84 municipalities will be elected. Yesterday it was reported that the Hidalgo branch of PAN had unanimously voted in favor of an alliance with PRD in this election as well - as far as I gather, the first time such an alliance has come into being when what is at stake is only municipal elections, and not gubernatorial elections.