News - La Cartita

Why is Mexico Turning Away from the Far-Right? Answer: The Felipe Calderon Legacy (03/03/2013)

EPN, current Mexican president who negotiated with Donald Trump as candidate, depicted as Death. New York City, NY (March 26, 2018)

La Cartita --- Calderon's recent struggle to settle into a Harvard fellowship was inaccurately referred to as a controversy in mainstream news reports. The term 'controversy' would imply a divergence of views amongst the public but there is virtually unanimous consensus amongst Mexicans that Calderon's tenure was a complete disaster.

The only controversy that existed was fabricated amongst educated journalists in the US. Corporate journalists have a general ideological commitment to Calderon's neo-liberal military and economic agenda. As a consequence, Calderon and other Latin American technocrats, who craft economic and political affairs favorable to US economic policy, receive favorable coverage from U.S. media outlets. The controversy, then, revolves around how exactly to present any type of 'bad news' brought to the forefront to the public's consciousness.

In other words, when some fact is generally held to be true by the public, but not a given media outlet's sponsors or political connections, then it becomes 'controversial', open to 'debate'. Thus, the media's technical problem is how to rouse or control the Mexican public. How best to control their sentiments so that they do not clash openly with the fact that only they and their sponsors like Calderon. After all, it may become 'controversial' to be too rhetorically aligned with him.

For instance, ABC Univision's coverage did not emphasize the actual grievances of millions of people in Mexico. Regarding the Calderon petition, Univision did mention the letters, some of the petition's content, they mentioned a snippet etc. So, yes, ABC Univision met some minimum requirements of journalism: you do have to report on events that actually happened. However, ABC Univision gave the last and most extensive word to Harvard's David T. Ellwood, showing its implicit allegiance to NAFTA profiteers:

"He [Calderon] is credited with having boosted the nation's economic development as a pro-business, pro-free market leader and having made significant reforms to the country's environmental, immigration and health care policies".

That is all true. Again, with a very peculiar meaning: to sum it up, 'Calderon was as pro-business as he was anti-Mexican'. To be 'pro-market' almost always means to be against any kind of egalitarianism. It was Calderon, after all, who originally proposed the current labor reforms that set the Mexican minimum wage to 7 dollars a day.

All major US media outlets like to talk about 'critics', but Calderon does not just have 'critics' as many outlets said. In reality, Calderon has a mass of people, a country within a country, who want him in jail for real crimes he knowingly, or, unknowingly, committed as a head of state. In fact, for US outlets to report on the opinion of Sicilia, Aguayo and other prominent figures in Mexico is simply lazy reporting. It only shows that the US media reads the Mexican media. Again, another bare minimum if one is reporting on international affairs.

The fact that an elite private school has chosen to accommodate yet another despotic head of state should not be surprising. Georgetown University employs Alvaro Uribe, the ex-president of Colombia, despite his well established links with paramilitary drug-traffickers. However, the sheer audacity with which Harvard chose to ignore Calderon's well documented human rights record is telling. Harvard administrators were able to have the last word in multiple media reports surrounding the issue - always emphasizing that Calderon was a respectable statesmen, not a butcher, as many in Mexico see him.

The Boston Globe, in its coverage of the petition to eliminate Calderon's Harvard fellowship, re-reported the NY Times body count of Mexican dead as being only 34,000. The real number, according to Le Monde, Reforma, and US Activists, has to be over 60,000. The gross underestimate by both the Boston Globe and the NY Times has more to do with ideological requirements that call on them to support the US Drug War. They have no interest in journalistic accuracy. As a matter of fact, at the time of this writing (3/3/13; 1:50 pm) neither website had a real citation for the number "34,000".

However, they may have taken the president's website estimate for the periods of December, 2006 through December, 2010, at face value. This they continue to do even after a Mexican government spokesperson stated that they didn't actually know how many of the total number of deaths were attributable to organized crime. This means that these news organizations have continued to cite a number already discredited by its own source. This would be funny were it not so consistent and complimentary to the corporate media's mission to whitewash Calderon's crimes in Mexico.

The National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico at the end of Calderon's tenure, released figures that placed the total number of homicides in a single year, 2011, at 27,199. Of those homicides, the vast majority were related to the drug war. Additional evidence, comes from the fact that the NISGM also estimates that through 2007 and 2011 95,632 murders occurred. The rate of murders in 2012 remained constant, at least, that is suggested by the lack of a reprieve of Mexican army and drug trafficker violence carried out during this time. Since there was no notable difference between 2012 and all the other documented periods, we can infer that for 2012, at least 20,000 more homicides can be tallied to the total. Finally, if those estimates seem questionable because of the governmental source - they actually have an interest to underreport - then one can look at the estimate given by the Mexican News Agency Reforma . This media outlet estimates that the total number of drug-war related homicides is nearly 95,000. This is well above the NY Times estimate. The number is corroborated by other credible sources: La Reforma and Molly Molloy, research at the University of New Mexico.

Even the Daily Texan, the student paper at UT Austin, under-reported the real human rights grievances in Mexico presented by anti-Calderon protestors. Here too, the administrators had the last word, being presented as cool intellectuals who simply wanted the protestors to "clearly state their grievances". If that was indeed the case, all the administrators and staff of the Daily Texan would have to do is read the summary of Amnesty International's report on Mexico's disappeared. After all, the report is in English.

The bigger story here is that Calderon, like President Zedillo, is carving a path towards an academic indulgence that absolves him from criminal prosecution. Thus, it can not be 'controversial' to state he committed human rights abuses - it's an indisputable fact.

Calderon's legacy is one of a military intervention that targeted people not connected at all with drug trafficking. Calderon ignored the public health aspects of the issue. He also destroyed whatever semblance of security still existed in Mexico before his presidency.

The U.S. based corporation, Choice Point, ensured that Calderon arrived at office through fraud. His legacy is ultimately one of cowardice; one of fear towards US aggression. Calderon feared the rejection of his policies by US presidents because he knew that would conflict with his overall plans for a peaceful retirement.

For the past thirty years, starting with President Miguel de La Madrid, punctuated with Zedillo's impeccable subservience, the Mexican economy has been delivered by Mexican presidents to US & European banking and manufacturing interests. These interests hope to drive Mexican and US manufacturing labor wages, rights and capital tariffs, down. Opposition to this process was successfully contained and eliminated under Calderon. This obedience to US interests has granted Calderon refuge at Harvard.

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