This past week has been an eventful one. The cooler temperatures have certainly not reflected the political climate. The latter has been unseasonably heated! Is Merida becoming a center of passionately displayed controversy?
The city administration’s determination to build an underpass at a busy intersection on La Prolongación del Paseo de Montejo has raised a lot of polemic. Civic outcry came from the opposition party’s determination to thwart the ruling party’s initiative. Of course the current ruling party (PRI) made similar moves when the opposition party (PAN) was in power.
Though not the usual platform in Yucatan, the PAN party stepped up onto the green soapbox… Trees would be cut down and “the look” of the intersection would change. The PRI countered with the fact that the volume of traffic was such that the underpass was necessary – trees or no trees. Then studies came from sources such as the Faculty of Architecture claiming the design was not sound. Other reports came from the same sources claiming it was… back and forth… and back and forth…
The start day for construction arrived and things turned even uglier. The PAN sympathizers threw themselves on top of bulldozers, people started swinging their fists, thugs got involved and actual blood was shed. Not at all, “business as usual” in our tranquil city. The political parties had tried to win kudos and in my humble opinion they both behaved badly.
What surprised me was that a large number of people who are not normally “political” got involved. Whether or not they were manipulated or not isn’t the issue… they did show up. THAT was a huge step, and surprising to me. Will there be more? Have Yucatecans become more politically conscious?
In 2012, Mexico will hold federal elections. The current PAN president, Felipe Calderon came to office under a huge black cloud. His win was hotly contested by the PRD candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO). After counting and recounting, the PAN was declared the winner by a narrow margin of 0.56%. In Mexico City, AMLO supporters raised holy hell. But the protest eventually died down and a wobbly Calderon presidency ensued. Now AMLO has declared he will run again. The PRI has a strong candidate; the PAN has not… What will happen?
Last night, Jorge and I watched an award-winning documentary called ”0.56%” directed by Lorenzo Hagerman. The venue, “La 68 Centro Cultural Elena Poniatowska” is located on the corner of Calles 68 and 55. The film is in Spanish with English subtitles. I highly recommend that EVERYONE see it. Although foreign nationals in Mexico are excluded from public political opinion, it is important to know what is going on. Watching this production would be a good start towards understanding the back-story of the inevitable name calling (and probably more serious stuff) that will surely be a part of next year’s electoral race.
Documentary films are shown at La 68 every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night at 9 pm. The seating is open air and a full bar and restaurant offer service during the projection.