June 22, 2010
Bicentennial XI: The New MillenniumPresident Vicente Fox
The Bicentennial Series is drawing to a close. Next week’s posting will be the final one. I hope the articles have helped you to better understand the different conflicts and uprisings of the country’s most recent two hundred years. To see all past Bicentennial posts, click on the Mexico category found right below the header.
El Partido Revolucionario Institucional ((PRI) for all intents and purposes was the only political party in Mexico for more than seventy years. During this time, the PRI candidate for the presidency was a shoe-in. In many states and municipalities the same held true. The PRI managed to maintain their tight control by many means, not just actual electoral fraud. In reality, many citizens voted freely for the party because they “owed” them. The PRI leaders were very astute in creating enough loyalty to win federal elections.
But the year 2000 saw unprecedented changes in the political arena. The PAN party (Partido de Acción Nacional) selected an extremely strong leader, Vicente Fox. I heard him speak in Cozumel shortly before the elections and his magnetism was contagious. The PAN won the federal elections in July and thanks to the valor and honesty of the PRI president Ernesto Zedillo, there was a smooth transition. By December the new, charismatic president was invested. The country had great hopes that real change would occur.
President Fox said his government was not afraid to pursue prosecutions and the country held its breath. After all these years, would justice be served?
Later that year when Former President Luis Echeverria was questioned about massacre of student protesters in 1968 and in 1971 he was quite quickly exonerated of wrong doing. Three unknown army officers were charged with first-degree murder over the killings of 134 leftists. It looked as though the whole investigation was tied up with a bow.
The country no longer held its breath. It seemed that whether the PRI or PAN was in office, it would be business as usual and the old boys’ network would remain firmly in place… “Nos succurro invicem.” – We help one another.
For example, the inquiry into President Luis Echeverria’s involvement in the massacre of leftists did pick up again. However, the judge refused to order the arrest of the former president. Charges that Echeverria ordered the attack at Tlatelolco on October 2, 1968 would not be heard. It was business as usual in the political arena. The high hopes for justice began to erode and the historic change that the citizens had hoped for, completely evaporated.
Fox continued to lose popularity and in 2006 when the new president was instated, Fox looked happy.
During his term, Vicente Fox married. Some claim that Doña Martha and her children were the downhill of Fox’s assertiveness. Who can say with certainty? One thing though can be stated clearly.
The true milagro mexicano is that the country functions as well as it does… the inhabitants of Mexico are so strong and resilient that despite mostly poor leadership during much of the PRI’s ironclad hold and the PAN’s manicured one, they have managed to live their lives as best they can. ¡Viva México!
Images from Google Images