Democracy in Mexico

DEMOCRACY IN MEXICO….A couple of weeks ago, shortly after he announced he would be running for president, Mexico’s Congress made Andr?s Manuel L?pez Obrador ineligible for office by allowing him to be indicted him for a minor offense. L?pez Obrador was the front runner, and the whole affair stank of the worst kind of partisan hackery.

But on Wednesday, President Vicente Fox announced the resignation of the attorney general who was leading the prosecution against L?pez Obrador:

In a surprise announcement broadcast nationwide, Fox gave no reason for the departure of Atty. Gen. Rafael Macedo de la Concha, but analysts said the president acted because of growing criticism of the government’s criminal case against Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the top contender in next year’s presidential election.

….”My government will not obstruct anyone from participating in the coming federal election,” he said. He went on to say that he would soon propose legal reforms that would “preserve the rights of citizens subject to trial until a final sentence is given.”

That’s good news. And although I wish George Bush had been a little more vocal about criticizing this anti-democratic move in the first place, I’d be inclined to cut him some slack on this. It’s true that if you claim to be a democracy promoter then you should be a democracy promoter everywhere, but at the same time American interference in Mexican internal affairs is a pretty sensitive topic for obvious historical reasons, so it may well be that a private approach was best in this case. I’ll be curious to see if any of the major papers write a piece over the next few days about what, if anything, the American government did behind the scenes here.

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