The Mexican Government Reacts to the Crash

The black boxes from the Learjet arrived back in Mexico this morning.  El Universal reports that Communication and Transportation Secretary Luis Téllez will examine the contents sometime tomorrow (Friday), so I assume that we’ll have an announcement shortly thereafter.  In the mean time, I wanted to continue my running commentary on the reaction to the crash, this time looking at the Mexican government and the Calderón administration. 

Initially, President Felipe Calderón seemed quite shaken by the events of the disaster.  Of course, it’s important to consider the gravity of the event; Calderón lost one of his strongest allies in government to what, at the time, seemed like a likely assassination.  The drug cartels that were hypothesized to be a possible cause have been the cause of significant violence in Mexico over the past few years and a major focus of Calderón’s administration, affecting both domestic and foreign policy.  Mouriño’s death likely caused Calderón to examine thoughts of how the presidency and his actions have affected his own mortality… frankly, I’d be quite shaken, too.

Following the disaster, Calderón and his administration took several steps to show both strength and control.  Initially after the accident, Calderón appealed for calm and patience, and expressed the need to not jump to conclusions about the cause of the crash.  Many in the public deeply suspected foul play, a hypothesis given credence by a plethora of articles in the local media.

Following this claim, Calderón made good on his promise by:

In my opinion, the actions taken by Calderón indicate several key ideas.  First, he wanted to take control and ensure order of the investigation; thereby stemming the possibility of rampant rumors of the assassinations and corruption that have been plaguing the country.  Second, he brought in many experts, both local and foreign; not only does this help ensure that officials identify the correct cause of the accident, but it provides support to whatever conclusion is reached in both the eyes of the media and the general public.  And, as if on cue, U.S. Ambassador Garza recently reiterated that there is no sign of sabotage… I can’t believe that Garza would make these comments without Calderón’s ok.

The need for such support seems clear following the controversy that erupted during the week regarding leadership of the PAN political party.  As I understand, Mexican political parties, even more than those in the U.S., are themselves conglomerates and factionalized.  On Monday, Calderon plead for an end to the “pettiness” within the party and said that the replacement for Mouriño would be chosen based on his party loyalty.  I was originally confused by much of this (I guess this is what happens when you get your news from the papers!)… but on Tuesday allegations surfaced that elements within the party had previously sought to remove Mouriño.  This “shadow” group even had a name… “El Yunque” (the anvil).  It’s not clear to me whether Manuel Espino (former PAN leader) was the origin of these rumors or was merely grabbed by the media for his reaction, but suffice it to say, politics being what they are, I’m sure that Espino didn’t hide from the spotlight.  And, today, Espino made public comments denying that he was behind any of the strife.  Does it really matter (to Espino)?

I’ll try to talk to a few experts on Mexican politics to gain additional perspective.

 

México, D.F.

 


Update: following the comments made by Garza, a number of Senators (in each of the 3 main political parties in México) spoke out against him.

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