Tuesday, June 20, 2006

# Posted 12:02 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

MEXICO'S MINI-CHAVEZ: Last week's TNR had a very interesting profile [subscription only] of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the front-runner in Mexico's upcoming presidential election.

Author Enrique Krauze suggests that there is a disturbing authoritarian undercurrent to Lopez's brand of populism. But I also agree that with Krauze that Mexican civil society is strong enough to handle a disputatious president.

What Krauze doesn't mention is the almost inevitable diplomatic imbroglios that will result from a Lopez presidency. Presumably, he will say nice things first about Chavez, then about Castro, all the while denouncing George W. Bush to score points at home. But my sense of Lopez is that he won't have much more to offer than bluster, so there's no need to take him as seriously as one would a real semi-dictator like Chavez.
(7) opinions -- Add your opinion

Welcome to the world of comment spam.

That's Krauze's opinion. For a more balanced view, check out David Rieff's recent profile of AMLO.

He's hardly a mini-Chavez.
Hi Randy. I removed the spam to which you refer. I have also started reading Rieff's profile.
He had better know better than to denounce Bush too much- there's a lot of American factories down there, and the Mexican economy depends on the repatriated salaries of immigrants in the United States. Regarding the authoritarian streak in AMLO, someone once said about Mexican politics that it's not democratic, they just elect a new dictator every six years.
David, did you catch -- oh, it's already been asked.
David, did you catch -- oh, it's already been asked.
Randy & Gary: Can you recommend something better than that David Rieff profile in the NYT?

For a long article, it contained rermarkably little information abotu AMLO's history or ideas. Almost none of the themes in Krauze's profile even came up.

Rieff's article was pretty much just a summary of tactics from the recent campaign. Although Rieff made a decent case that AMLO bears no particular animus toward the US.
I would recommend my fellow Latam blogger Bozas he spends more time in Mexico and is more knowledgeable about Mexico than I am. Here's his view of the debate between Calderón and AMLO.

Also, have you read Opening Mexico by Ginger Thompson? There's a good bit in there about how the PRI essentially robbed AMLO of the governorship of Tabasco. He led demonstrations in protest, but I don't recall anything that indicated authoritarian tendencies. Indeed, time after time, the powers that be in Mexico have tried to torpedo his candidacy, but his response has not been authoritarian. Yes, he's rallied his supporters with fiery speeches, but the comparisons to Chávez IMHO are inapt.

To begin with, Chávez was a career military man who led a coup. Secondly, Chávez had never held elective office. AMLO has his record as Mexico City mayor to run on.
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