Wednesday, November 16, 2005

...Y Los Chilangos ... (listening to Kinky)

Pues ... no use in spending one grand on long distance llamadas to get only some info on Mexico ... from an Economist newsletter (requires pinche registration) .... here's what's up with politikos y arte y etcetera en el Distrito Federal ...

And they're off ...

With election day set for July 2nd 2006, the morass of presidential candidates has been culled. Roberto Madrazo has won the nomination of the Party of the Institutional Revolution (PRI), which ruled Mexico for 71 years until Vicente Fox became president in 2000. Mr Madrazo, the party's former president, won in the primaries on November 13th, though his victory was pretty much assured when Arturo Montiel, the one-time governor of Mexico state, dropped out of the race because of corruption charges.

Felipe Calderon, a dynamic former cabinet minister of Mr Fox, defeated the National Action Party's (PAN) other candidates, who included Santiago Creel, Mr Fox's presumptive favourite. Meanwhile, the hopes of Jorge Castañeda, Mr Fox's first foreign minister, were dashed when the government barred him from running, ignoring the advice of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission. The government, joined by the Federal Electoral Commission, said that Mr Castañeda's plan to become Mexico's first independent candidate broke election laws. In the midst of these fitful developments, Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador, the former mayor of Mexico City, remains the frontrunner. Recent polls give him some 40% of the vote.

A headless city ...

Mexico’s presidential contest has dominated headlines, but the race for Mexico City's mayoralty is slowly gaining steam. Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador resigned as the city’s mayor in July to run for the presidency, leaving the capital in an awkward spot until the election next July. Only 36% of the city supports the mayoral stand-in, Alejandro Encinas Rodríguez, according to a recent poll by Reforma, a leading newspaper. And with no real leader, candidates are starting to fight to fill the vacuum.

The most heated contest is for the nomination of Mr Lopéz Obrador's Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). Marcelo Ebrard, a centrist whose moderate image could help Mr Lopéz Obrador’s ticket, is facing off against Jesús Ortega, a popular figure among leftist party faithful, but seen by some as a liability to Mr Lopéz Obrador. Whoever wins will face Beatriz Paredes of the Party of the Institutional Revolution (PRI) in a close race. (PAN, the party of Mexico’s president, Vicente Fox, has not yet chosen a candidate and is very weak within the city.) The city will host its first campaign battle on November 17th, when Mr Ebrard will confront Mr Ortega in a debate.

A ladykiller, literally ...

The city government has vowed to hunt down the mataviejitas or “little-old-lady killer”, a person suspected of killing more than 30 old women in the capital in the last two years. Alejandro Encinas Rodríguez, the city’s interim mayor, announced that the killer’s capture is now his top crime-fighting priority.

The mataviejitas is thought to be either a cross-dressing man or a masculine woman, based on eye-witness reports. In a bizarre twist, many of the murdered women had a print of the same painting—“Boy in Red Waistcoat”, by Jean-Baptiste Greuze—in their houses. The victims have been either strangled or bludgeoned to death and their houses ransacked. Police have brought in outside criminologists to assist them, but the culprit has proved too slippery so far.

Balancing act ...

At the Summit of the Americas in Argentina in early November, Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president, touched off a storm when he called Vicente Fox “a lapdog” of the United States. The two sides have since recalled their ambassadors, and the row continues. But Mr Chavez's claim belies the careful dance that characterises Mexico’s dealings with the United States. Mr Fox took a rare stand against his northern neighbour in late October, when Mexico became the 100th country to ratify the 1998 treaty creating the International Criminal Court (ICC). America has long opposed the ICC, and has convinced dozens of countries to sign agreements exempting US citizens—and often their own—from ICC prosecution.

Many of Mr Fox’s most popular moments as president have been when he has clashed with the United States. He won local praise when Mexico used its seat on the United Nations Security Council in 2002 to resist the march to war in Iraq, despite intense pressure from America. While it is too late in Mr Fox's term for a popularity boost to do much good, the ratification of the ICC statute, along with Mr Fox's refusal to exempt American soldiers from the treaty, showed his willingness to oppose America. Still, Mr Fox must continue to tread softly. One of the key failures of his presidency has been his inability to resolve the immigration dispute, which is growing more fraught on both sides of the border.

Top grade ...

Students and professors at Mexico City's National Autonomous University (UNAM), one of the world's largest, were chuffed to be named one of the world's best. In a recent international ranking by the Times Higher Education Supplement, a British newspaper, UNAM placed 95th, tied with the Catholic University of Leuven, in Belgium, just ahead of Britain's Nottingham University, and just behind the Seoul National University in Korea. The important thing, with regards to grandstanding, is that UNAM made the top 100 for the first time in its history. The rankings are based mostly on opinions of academics and students around the world, as well on academic papers cited in peer-reviewed journals.

Culture without borders: Migration in Mexico and Looking for life ...

Until February 28th 2006

This exhibition offers two perspectives on the way Mexicans leave home to improve their lot. First are the black-and-white photographs of “Migration in Mexico”, taken recently but seemingly from a much earlier time. Densely hung, there is nothing particularly original about the images, yet seen together they are strikingly powerful. From smiling children to grimacing old people, these are portraits of Mexicans on the move, travelling from poor areas to richer ones, seeking work.

The second exhibit uses artefacts, such as old clothes, and bright murals with demographic information, to chronicle the Mexican immigrant experience in America. It would seem scattershot were it not done so well.

1 Comments:

At 3:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good update on Mexico. Viva Castaneda!!

 

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