October 27, 2000

Commentary on Mexico

Tabasco: La Malinche, the Presidency or Jail?

By Enrique Davis-Mazlum

Tabasco, Mexico -- In 1519 Hernan Cortes fought his first battle against the Indian groups of Tabasco and as a gift after the battle he was offered 20 Indian women as slaves. One of the slaves was Malintzin who was later baptized as Marina and known as Malinche. La Malinche was the interpreter between Cortes and the Indians and in Mexico many consider her as a traitor to her people. On Sunday October 15, 2000 there were local elections in the State of Tabasco, where Mayors (Presidentes Municipales), local Congressmen and Governor would be elected. Arturo Nuñez Jimenez who has been a member of the PRI (Institutionalized Revolutionary Party) for more than 30 years and who was the leader of the PRI in the House of Congress (Camara de Diputados LVII Legislatura 1999-2000) announced that he would not support Manuel Andrade Diaz, Candidate to the Governorship of Tabasco for the PRI. Is Arturo Nuñez the Malinche of the PRI?

Governor Roberto Madrazo of Tabasco (Presidential Candidate 1999) during the internal elections to pick the Candidate for Governor of Tabasco for the PRI was accused of manipulating and pressuring party members in order to have Manuel Andrade Diaz as the candidate. Arturo Nuñez a week before the elections in Tabasco announced that he would not support Manuel Andrade and would support Cesar Raul Ojeda and ex-PRI Member who was the candidate for the PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution). Nuñez said that the PRI had been working really hard to change the common practices of the PRI of corruption, manipulation, etc. and that Governor Madrazo was using state funds, using his power to manipulate, buy votes, etc. and that he would not support PRI members that continued with these types of practices. Members of the PRI of Tabasco sent a letter asking for the expulsion of Nuñez and other PRI Members that supported Nuñez; at the same time there are also Congressmen of the PRI who are asking for the expulsion of Governor Madrazo.

Well similar to the elections in Chiapas that were held on August 20th, 2000 Manuel Andrade Diaz was the candidate for the PRI and Cesar Raul Ojeda and ex-PRI Member was the candidate for the PRD. Andrade and Ojeda both worked together in Tabasco and were friends. But things in Tabasco are more complicated than we can imagine. Governor Madrazo said that he would be a candidate for the Presidency of the PRI and if his candidate to the Governorship of Tabasco won, then it would give him a greater chance to win the Presidency of the PRI. The elections were held on Sunday October 15, 2000 and that evening the PRI had a 4% advantage over the PRD, but on Monday October 16, 2000 with approximately 90% of the votes counted the PRI had 277,268 and the PRD had 270,932 votes a difference of 6,336 votes. Even with these results Governor Madrazo announced in a press conference that the visit of Carlos Salinas de Gortari and the attitude of Arturo Nuñez did affect the PRI, but that Manuel Andrade won the Governorship of Tabasco. Amalia Garcia, National President of the PRD said that Governor Madrazo violated the Constitution, because as Governor he is not allowed to announce who won or lost the election, the State Electoral Institute is the only one who can name a winner. Amalia Garcia said that they would defend their triumph all the way to the Federal Electoral Tribune (similar to the Supreme Court, but only decides on the legality of elections - TRIFE).

Governor Roberto Madrazo also said that Chief Governor of Mexico City Rosario Robles utilized state funds to support Raul Ojeda of the PRD. Rosario Robles has sent a Law Suit against Governor Madrazo for slander. And Congressmen of the PRD asked that the Political Trial against Governor Madrazo should be put back on the table for discussion in the Lower House of Congress. On Sunday October 22nd, 2000 the Local Electoral Institute of Tabasco named Manuel Andrade Governor Elect with an advantage of 8,001 votes. The PRD and PAN (National Action Party) abandoned the session and are ready to take their unconformities all the way to the Federal Electoral Tribune. Based on this scenario the Manuel Andrade if declared winner by the TRIFE will governor Tabasco under tension and skepticism that he was the real winner - similar to how Carlos Salinas de Gortari governed Mexico after the 1988 Presidential elections in which many believe that Cuauhtemoc Cardenas won. There are members of the PRI who support Madrazo and there are others who would rather see him out of the political arena. One of the most respected Senators of the PRI Genaro Borrego said that if Arturo Nuñez is expelled from the PRI he would resign as a member of the PRI.

Madrazo is a strong and charismatic man, but we don't really know what he is thinking. Does Madrazo really want to change the PRI and make it a Democratic Party, open to discussions? Is Madrazo the man that the PRI needs as President of the Party or is he the type of man who should stay out of the PRI? Those are questions, which we can't really answer at this point. Or like Arturo Nuñez said: "If the PRI wins, Madrazo will most likely be the next President of the PRI, but if the PRI looses, Madrazo will probably face a trial and go to jail". We just have to wait and see what the TRIFE decides on the legality of the elections in Tabasco.

Enrique Davis-Mazlum, attends ITAM in Mexico City, studying for his Masters in Public Policy. www.loscandidatos.com davismazlum@hotmail.com

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