A country of masochists.

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A country of masochists.

jlopez
by Denise Dresser. 6-3-2012

Mexico, D.F. (Proceso).-- Now that the PRI has won, they are bragging of what they'll do for Mexico. Thanks to the PRI, there will be political stability, they say. Thanks to the PRI, there will be reforms and modernization, they insist. Thanks to the PRI the country will revive from the failures of the PAN, they repeat. Enrique Pena Nieto has traveled all over the country for months patting himself on the back and now celebrates the return of a party that is responsible for its worst vices. But the paradox is that the PRI candidate denounces the inefficacy and inexperience of the various PAN officials that were incapable of cleaning up the mess his party left behind. It's worth remembering now the list of things linked with the PRI that causes despair that it is back. There are PRI contributions for which the electorate should be less grateful. Mexico is dragged down by a legacy that should not be a reason for applause; Mexico is burdened with an inheritance that the PRI has tried to disown but for which it is responsible.

As I have written before in these pages (Proceso No. 1687):

During life under the PRI, drug trafficking infiltrates the State and becomes entrenched there. After the 1980's, the drug business begins to grow, and does this with political protection. With the complicity of the Federal Judicial Police and agents of the Federal Security Directorate. With collusion of governors like Mario Villanueva and other PRI leaders of "narco" cities and border states. Through the years, the PRI political structure provides a protective shell for organized crime which advances, not despite the government, but --in good measure--thanks to it. When the PAN gets to the presidency, it finds a State that has been overwhelmed, state authorities that are complicit, they run across police agencies that have been penetrated, they appeal to indolent prosecutors. And without doubt, neither the Vicente Fox nor the Felipe Calderon administration dealt with the challenge well; the first through omission, the second through lack of planning. But it's undeniable that they were not responsible for the problem: they inherited it. Today the PRI says it will pacify the country, but the only way to accomplish this is to make peace with the forces with whom they associated in the past.

Life under the PRI implies coexistence with someone like Joaquin Gamboa Pascoe and what he stands for. Leader for life, elected to lead the worker's union until 2016. Leader until death, enthroned after a fast track vote and by acclamation. Surrounded by dancing women in bikinis, swaying to the sound of maracas, the fanfare and the cheers. Impassive before complaints for the luxury he displays and the ostentatious watches. To live under the PRI implies awareness of the sumptuous lifestyle of the daughter of Carlos Romero Deschamps [PEMEX workers union chief] and listen to Enrique Pena Nieto come to his defense with the argument that "he has been a very hard working man." The next president doesn't raise his voice to question the antidemocratic practices of corporatism, but instead denies that it exists. He argues that Mexico has changed and that workers are free and deserve respect, when syndicate corruption is a sign of the same as ever rottenness. The same as ever genuflection. The same as ever alliance. The same as ever pacts. The PRI leadership offers gifts in exchange for political support. This is so true, that without any sign of embarrassment, Gamboa Pascoe asserts that he and Pena Nieto calculated how they were going to increase, during the next election, the number of Congressional seats for (CETME) unionists. This is how the PRI ratifies its preferences for Pleistocene practices.

Life under the PRI assumes that government is seen as booty to be divided. There is no better phrase to sum up this view than the one attributed to Carlos Hank Gonzalez: "Un politico pobre es un pobre politico." (A politician who's not rich is a poor politician.) The PRI allows anybody who attains any position -- from decades ago-- to think he's there to get rich. To do business. To sign contracts. To take secret payments. To give out concessions and receive something in return. This is the only thing that explains La Colina del Perro, built by Jose Lopez Portillo. This is the only way to explain the riches accumulated in Raul Salinas de Gortari's Swiss bank accounts. This is the only way to explain the $70,000.00 watch worn by Carlos Romero Deschamps.  This is the only way to explain [teachers' syndicate leader] Elba Esther Gordillo's wardrobe.  Thanks to the PRI, a large part of the population believes that corruption is normal and acceptable conduct in public affairs.

Life under the PRI implies that impunity becomes a way of life. The PRI maintains a system of power sharing based on political protection of its members, above the laws they violate, the students they intimidate, the embezzlement they commit, the thefts they initiate, the detours they order. The list is long and scandalous: Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, Luis Echeverria, Jose Lopez Portillo, Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Raul Salinas de Gortari, Mario Marin, Arturo Montiel, Jorge Hank Rhon, Roberto Madrazo, Emilio Gamboa, Jose MJurat, Ulises Ruiz, Tomas Yarrington. And, to protect themselves they enact special laws, jump from political post to political post, pressure journalists, negotiate appeals (amparos), buy support and corrupt judges.

Mario Vargas Llosa understands this when he declares that if Mexico returns the PRI to the presidency, its because it is "a country of masochists." And the population has been party to this masochism, fed by the PAN and the PRD. Both parties are responsible for the restoration for assuming it would be enough  to get the PRI out of Los Pinos without substantially modifying its modus operandi. The Pan and the PRI's great mistake was to try to function politically within the structure that the PRI created instead of breaking it up.  The Pan and the PRD's big mistake has been to believe that it could play the game that was designed by the PRI better than the PRI, instead of committing to changing the rules. The biggest mistake has been to emulate the PRI instead of refusing to practice the politics the PRI put in place.

The PAN and the PRD have failed in their effort to govern like the way the PRI did. The PAN and PRD have failed in their effort to adapt to the institutional rules the PRI twisted. The PAN and the PRD have failed to negotiate effectively with drug traffickers; they haven't been effective in paying off union leaders; they haven't been effective in providing benefits to to big business; they haven't been effective in concealing the deals they have made while in power; they haven't been effective in dealing with impunity because they became its accomplices. Thanks to the PRI, the country suffered so many years of bad government. Thanks to the PAN and the PRI, history is likely to repeat itself. And that Mexico becomes-- voluntarily-- a country of masochists.      
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Re: A country of masochists.

Chivis
Administrator
Hi J

Great work ...i added some photos and posted it on main board where it belongs....Paz Chivis
 
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
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Re: A country of masochists.

jlopez
Thank you, Sra. Chivis. You improved the work. I think the piece articulates the issues in a way that only Denise Dresser manages to do, in my opinion. She writes very clearly, and has great insight.
DD
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Re: A country of masochists.

DD
In reply to this post by jlopez
@jlopez. great post.

DD
Words are powerful weapons, be careful how you use them.
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Re: A country of masochists.

Chivis
Administrator
In reply to this post by jlopez
I just added some photos and the great quote by Mario Vargas Llosa

with respect of Dresser's writing; agreed my friend.

On mainboard already it has 1000 views... :)
that is what i meant about "belonging on mainboard" your work  was not done in vain.
...Thanks for the great effort.....Paz, Chivis
 
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
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Re: A country of masochists.

Baggy
In reply to this post by jlopez
The truth of it all right there in black n white....Im sure most already know what the future will bring for mx
Patriotism is a propaganda tool used to make people blind to the lies of their government through unquestioning devotion.