About Secret History

Commentary on Latin America.
Mostly about Mexico - but not always.
Designed to encourage readers to learn about
the apparently "secret history" of 500 million people
spread across two continents
- but not always.
You can always count on a little snark.

Monday, December 28, 2009

WSJ Strikes Again

PBS News Hour kicked around the murder of the family of Mexican Naval commando Melquisedet Angulo Cordova that participated in the assassination of Arturo Beltran Leyva. The "expert" that PBS cut to was WSJ correspondent David Luhnow. Among the gems from Luhnow we get:
Many Mexicans have become, unfortunately, very inured to the violence. Much like in Iraq, people became accustomed to the -- sort of the daily death toll from the bombings and the carnage there. Mexicans are really becoming sort of accustomed to the bloodshed.
Unfortunately, many Mexicans don't trust their government. This is mostly the result of 70 years of a single-party state, where the government was basically there to protect itself and its allies and enrich itself.
So, many Mexicans view anything that the government does, even if it's correct, with a lot -- with a healthy dose of skepticism and cynicism. So, polls show that the majority of people sort of support the drug war. They know these drug gangs are pretty bad. But they are not really fully behind the government, in maybe the way that the U.S. public would be fully behind U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan or in Iraq.
So, Luhnow's portrait of Mexico is a land where people turn a blind eye to violence and distrust the government? Is he talking about Mexico or Republicans? Hmmm... back in November, David, you told us Mexicans were fighting back against violence - with violence. Now in one month they are just numb? Society moves at amazing speed in Mexico.

The item I wanted to comment on (beyond his total lack of evidence) was his pinning of supposed distrust on the PRI alone. The behavior of the PAN, particularly the Calderon administration's militarization of society and sock-puppet-for-the-US stance, has no influence on distrust? For the 50 years of Revolutionary government when the majority of Mexicans looked at the Revolutionary Family favorably there is no legacy - for Lopez Portillo (ok, maybe Echeverria) forward, every Mexican has grown up loathing government? I'm not going to sit here and defend the PRI system - perhaps politically stable but certainly violent. However, for the WSJ to ignore the shortcomings (pun intended) of their conservative Golden Boy is poor analysis at best. How about the problems of the PANista "get tough" legal system you reported on back in October? Oh, sorry, was there no discussion of the absence of meaningful legal reforms under the PAN of the judicial system in your story?

PRI, PAN, and (sorry Richard) PRD? If distrust exists, we're looking at the product of the poor of any party subject to the whims and lawlessness of the wealthy of any party for whom no rule of law exists. Class, not party, is the dividing factor between ruled and ruler in Mexico.

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