November 17, 2000


Commentary

The Influence of the Fourth Power in Mexico and the US

by Enrique Davis-Mazlum

One of the questions that Mexicans have been asking for the past three months is who will President Elect Vicente Fox pick as members of his cabinet. President Elect Fox had announced that he would present the members of his cabinet in August, but since then he has been avoiding the question and tells members of the press "patience".

President Elect Vicente Fox, who was former Coca - Cola President in Mexico, decided that he would make up a Transition Team that would have three main responsibilities: 1) Head Hunters (who would recommend possible cabinet members); 2) work on a budget with outgoing President Zedillo's team and 3) decide on the policies that each Federal Agency will follow (Secretarias de Estado). President Elect Fox asked for resumes and recommendations of all those who were interested in participating in his government.

Past Presidents such as Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado (1982-1988), Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988-1994) and President Ernesto Zedillo (1994-December 1st, 2000) had announced the members of their cabinets a day before they took office. The reason for doing this is the fear that members of the press would discredit future cabinet members.

Dr. Misael Uribe who was Diana Laura Riojas de Colosio's (Luis Donaldo Colosio's wife) doctor for five years, while she was treated for cancer, which took her life on November 19th, 1994. The recent scandal which was headline news in Milenio Diario (National Newspaper) said that Diana Laura gave Dr. Misael Uribe through a friend Nikita Kiriakis (businessman of Nogales, Sonora and friend of Colosio) one million dollars after her death for a philanthropic association that would help kids that had cancer. It is said that the money was not used properly, but Kiriakis believes that the money was used in a proper way. One of the reasons why it is believed that the story came out this week is because President Elect Vicente Fox was going to name Dr. Misael Uribe as Secretary of Health and there are internal members of the Transition Team that would rather have another doctor as Secretary.

There are a couple prospective cabinet members who are not considered real panistas (members of National Action Party - PAN) such as: Santiago Creel Miranda who will most likely be Secretary of State (Secretaria de Gobernación). Santiago Creel was the Director of the Law Department at Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM) and a Council Member of IFE in 1994. Santiago Creel is one of the most recent members of PAN; he was a Federal Congressman 1997 - 2000 and was Chief Governor Candidate of Mexico City during the 2000 elections in Mexico.

During the campaign I got to interview Creel and I would say that he was a member of the opposition to the Mexican Regime, but I would consider him a liberal among other members of PAN who are conservative. If Creel is appointed as Secretary of State he will be one of the most or the most influential members of the cabinet. His ideas of reinventing government in Mexico (by moving towards a democratic state; having an active civil society; having a mixed economy; equality, diversity, debate, tolerance and respect), but not all members of the Transition Team agree with Creel.

There are two other members of the Transition Team that will most likely head two important Federal Agencies. Francisco Gil Diaz who is currently the President of AVANTEL (Telephone Company in Mexico) could be the Secretary of Finance and Credit (Secretaria de Hacienda y Crédito Publico - SHCP) and Jorge Castañeda could be appointed as Secretary of Exterior Relations (Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores). Alfonso Durazo who is Fox's Private Secretary (was Luis Donaldo Colosio's Private Secretary, resigned as member of the PRI _Institutional Revolutionary Party- in June of 2000) can also head one of the Federal Agencies. Also Rosario Robles (current Chief Governor of Mexico City), Amalia Garcia PRD National President (Democratic Revolutionary Party) both members of the PRD accepted the possibility that they could also be members of the cabinet.

Last week President Elect Fox announced that on November 15th, 2000 he would announce the members of his cabinet, but Spokeswoman Martha Sahagun announced that the names would be presented on November 20th, 2000, Sahagun fears that members of the fourth power "The Press" would discredit future cabinet members. The press is the fourth power and can change the image of a person in seconds, even when they are wrong.

The fourth power in the U.S. in a battle to name the winner of the Presidential Elections declared Vice President Al Gore the winner and later backed out and caused confusion among voters and the rest of the world. Mexicans during the past week have said that Mexico adopted democratic practices on July 2nd when every vote was respected and that Florida adopted what is known in Mexico as Mapacheria (cheating practices, manipulation of votes) during the Presidential Elections of 2000, because it is apparent that not all votes are being respected. How can one county have more than 19,000 votes nullified? How can Pat Buchanan have 20% of the total votes he received in Florida from one county? If Governor Bush is awarded the Presidency he will not governor with legitimacy and morally have the international power as other US Presidents have had in the past, such as President Jimmy Carter, President Ronald Reagan, President George Bush and President Bill Clinton.

Enrique Davis-Mazlum, attends ITAM in Mexico City, studying for his Masters in Public Policy and is the Assistant Director of Vortice: Analysis and Proposals of Public Policy Journal, davismazlum@hotmail.com

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