September 22, 2000


Independence and Transitions in Mexico are hard

By Enrique Davis-Mazlum

Mexico City - In Mexico it is a custom, a tradition, a national ceremony the celebration of Independence Day on September 15 also known as el "Grito de la Independencia". On the evening of September 15, 1810 Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang the bells of the church of Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato and asked for the Independence of Mexico. Father Hidalgo wanted the Independence of Mexico while Spain was under the control of Napoleon. But the dreams of Father Hidalgo were fought until 1821 when Agustin de Iturbide and Guerrero ended the war by hugging-this hug is known as "abrazo de Acatempan"- and signing the "Plan de Iguala".

Why is el Grito so important to Mexicans? Every 15 of September we remember that Mexico has fought wars internal and international, that Mexico has had people who have fought for its independence before 1810 and continue to fight for Mexico's independence. This ceremony is beautiful, full of protocol and passion. It is one of the only days that all Mexicans respect the figure of President. President Zedillo during his Grito of 1999 looked happy compared to his previous years as President, but on his Grito of 2000 the entire family had expressions that showed that they were happy, glad, probably relaxed because Zedillo´s responsibility will end on December 1st, 2000. President Zedillo ended his Grito with the words "Viva la Democracia".

Ending with the words "Viva la Democracia" TV Stations showed President Elect Vicente Fox in his hometown in Guanajuato giving el Grito, which I hope will improve over the years. These are sneak previews to a movie that will last six years and the Zedillo Administration will have an enormous influence on the outcome. The Zedillo Administration is trying to make the transition, that will take place this December 1st, as smooth as possible. All of the Heads of State have met with President Elect Vicente Fox and his Transition Team and have discussed issues ranging from how turning over of each department will take place and the most important issues that have not been resolved.

President Elect Vicente Fox and his Transition Team asked the Zedillo Administration to facilitate them with office space and money in order for them to continue working until they officially take office. After hard and long negotiations the Secretary of Finance José Angel Gurria found a way to legally pay salaries to the Transition Team of President Elect Fox. The group of fifteen members received their first paycheck this week for $85,300.00 pesos monthly (about $9,300.00 dlls). The news broke out and members of the PRI (Institutionalized Revolutionary Party) and PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution) started to complain. Many of the members of these parties said that the money should come from private institutions. My personal opinion is that if the money comes from private institutions once President Elect take office he will owe them a favor and will have to pay them back in some way. It is to Mexico's advantage to facilitate the transition that will take place on December 1st.

The problem right now is that President Elect Fox said that the salaries that his Team received are being used for charity. The problem worsens because if the money was asked for the expenses that the Transition Team would have during the following months why is it being used for charity? The Transition Team is working like a consulting agency, is working hard, and will present a Public Policy Project for Mexico 2000 - 2025. Martha Sahugun Press Secretary of the Transition Team should answer all questions to the Press until President Elect takes office. He should understand that he is no longer running for the Presidency of Mexico, he will be the next President of Mexico. Any speech or whisper made by President Elect Vicente Fox will influence Mexico.

Enrique Davis-Mazlum, attends ITAM in Mexico City, studying for his Masters in Public Policy. davismazlum

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