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[Nettime-bold] [Fwd: Mexico News Summary, Fox seeks contact with EZLN, July 15-21]

JULY 15-21, 2000

1. Fox names transition team
2. Fox seeks contact with EZLN
3. Chiapas governor's race heats up
4. Tabasco state electoral organs lack credibility: PRD
5. Briefs


The long-awaited "transition team" of president-elect Vicente Fox Quesada,
made up of 20 politicians, intellectuals, and business executives, was
officially named on July 17.

The team's primary task will be to work with the outgoing administration to
achieve an orderly transition of power, tasks, and administrative
responsibilities between now and November 30, and to "help define the
strategic paths" for the next government.

Fox - together with his still-unnamed cabinet - will be inaugurated on
December 1.

The most notable element about the transition team is that none of its
members hails from the dogmatic or ideological sector of the National Action
Party (PAN).  In fact, half are not even members of the PAN.

The following are the members of the transition team and their portfolios.


Alfonso Durazo was the personal secretary of Luis Donaldo Colosio, the
original 1994 presidential candidate for the PRI, assassinated on March 23
of that year.  Durazo has since left the PRI, but did not become a militant
of the PAN.

POLITICAL COORDINATORS: Rodolfo Elizondo and Santiago Creel

Rodolfo Elizondo is the most "panista" of the PAN members on the transition
team, having been a member of the National Executive Committee of the party
on three occasions.  Nevertheless, he is not considered one of the
doctrinaire figures of the party, but rather part of the group which began
its ascendancy with Manuel Clouthier in the 1980s.

Santiago Creel was the PAN's nearly victorious mayoral candidate in Mexico
City this year, though he only joined the party last year.  He is considered
a moderate, and is a likely candidate for the Interior Ministry position in
Fox's government.


Porfirio Muñoz Ledo was once the president of the PRI, once the president of
the PRD, and this year was the presidential candidate for the PARM before
dropping out of the race to back Fox.  His portfolio in the transition team
is rumored to be a position invented in order to keep him from meddling in
other matters.

ECONOMICS PORTFOLIO: Luis Ernesto Derbez and Eduardo Sojo

Derbez and Sojo are economists who studied in the United States, and at
least one is likely to become a Cabinet member in December.  Derbez has
experience working with international economic agencies such as the World
Bank and the InterAmerican Development Bank.

SOCIAL POLICY: Carlos Flores Alcocer and María del Carmen Díaz

Carlos Flores was Fox's social development and anti-poverty director in the
state of Guanajuato, while María del Carmen Díaz is currently an independent
federal deputy.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: Jorge G. Castañeda and Adolfo Aguilar Zinser

Neither Jorge Castañeda nor Adolfo Aguilar Zinser are members of the PAN,
yet both stand out as perhaps the closest advisors of Vicente Fox throughout
his campaign.  Both are intellectuals, not politicians, with a political
trajectory on the left end of the spectrum until very recently.  Both were
also advisors to Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas in his 1994 presidential bid.
Castañeda, whose father was a well-respected diplomat, is considered a
shoo-in for the position of Secretary of Foreign Relations in Fox's Cabinet.

JUSTICE AND SECURITY: José Luis Reyes Vázquez and Francisco Javier Molina

Reyes Vázquez and Javier Molina are lawyers who worked for the State
Attorney Generals of Guanajuato and Chihuahua, respectively.

LEGAL AND JUDICIAL: Carlos Arce Macías and César Nava Vázquez

Carlos Arce and César Nava are lawyers and PAN politicians.  Nava was
elected to the federal Chamber of Deputies on July 2.

PRESS AND COMMUNICATION: Martha Sahagún and Francisco Javier Ortiz.

Sahagún, a PAN militant since 1988, is a close friend and advisor of Fox and
was his press spokesperson during the campaign.  Ortiz worked for Televisa
for much of the past decade.

ADMINISTRATIVE AFFAIRS: Carlos Rojas Magnon and Lino Korrodi

Both Rojas and Korrodi are business executives with little political

ADVISORS: Pedro Cerisola and Ramón Muñoz Gutiérrez

Cerisola and Muñoz are also businessmen, the former hailing from Aeroméxico
and Telmex, and the latter - an eighteen-year veteran of the PAN - an
executive of the Bimbo bread company.


The members of Fox's transition team in charge of political affairs, Rodolfo
Elizondo and Santiago Creel, have officially asked PAN senator Luis H.
Alvarez to represent the president-elect in his attempts to contact the
leadership of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) and open a
dialogue with the rebels before he takes office on December 1.

Alvarez, the only member of the original Commission on Concordance and
Pacification (COCOPA) who still serves on that commission, announced on July
20 that "certain contacts" have already been established between Fox's
transition team and the EZLN.

The senator from Chihuahua added that his principal goal in the coming days
and weeks will be to arrange a direct, face-to-face meeting between Vicente
Fox and the EZLN's spokesperson and military chief, Subcomandante Marcos.

Alvarez is now Fox's point man and top advisor for Chiapas, and if a
dialogue is established it will likely be Alvarez who directs the movement
and positions of the future Federal Executive with respect to the

Fox and Alvarez also met recently with Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize winner
Rigoberta Menchú, who offered her services to the new government in order to
"facilitate" the peace process.  Menchú will have direct access to the
future president's "Chiapas team," and will apparently serve as an informal
advisor helping to develop a social and economic plan for the state during
the Fox administration.

The EZLN has yet to make a public pronouncement regarding Fox's victory in
the July 2 presidential elections, nor has it announced whether it will seek
or accept a dialogue with the president-elect before his inauguration.

Meanwhile, trite soundbites about the conflict in Chiapas continue to hound
the offices of the president-elect, who once said that if elected he would
resolve the problem in Chiapas "in 15 minutes."  Recently, Nobel literature
prize-winner José Saramago said that the conflict could be resolved in just
ten minutes if the Fox administration really wanted peace for the indigenous
inhabitants of Chiapas.  Fox advisor Rodolfo Elizondo then responded by
saying it could be resolved "in one minute," if the EZLN had the desire and
will for a peaceful settlement.


On August 20, the state of Chiapas will undergo the only electoral process
this year which rivals that of this past July 2 in importance.  The Chiapas
gubernatorial race pits the PRI candidate, Sami David David, against an
alliance of literally every other political party on the state's political

The Alliance for Chiapas candidate, Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía, is a national
senator who served on the original Commission on Concordance and
Pacification (COCOPA), the legislative commission established in 1995 to
facilitate peace talks between the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN)
and the federal government.

Salazar stood out on that committee as one of the most vehement supporters
of indigenous rights, and together with PRI deputy Jaime Martínez Veloz
often defied his party to back what he considered legitimate Zapatista
concerns and positions regarding the peace talks, the San Andrés Accords on
Indigenous Rights and Culture, and the excessive military presence in the

After leaving the PRI last year, Salazar has drawn closer to the PRD but
remains an independent candidate.  His campaign is currently backed by the
PRD, PAN, PT, PVEM, and four smaller parties.

The PRI's Sami David David has said he is confident of victory, since the
PRI conserved its hegemony in the state in the July 2 elections (winning 43%
of the vote against a divided opposition).  The PRI's candidates won nearly
everything on the ballot in Chiapas: the presidential race, 11 of the 12
federal electoral districts, and two majority Senate seats.

Pablo Salazar cites the same figures, however, to demonstrate his own
confidence in victory: the combined PAN and PRD vote on July 2 was 55% of
the total.  The PRI, he says, is a minority; while the Alliance for Chiapas
is already a majority.

While David David has expressed his "legitimate concern" that the PRI may
lose its most important bastion of support in the country on August 20,
Salazar (and the parties which support him) is worried about fraud.  Chiapas
held the dubious distinction of being the state with the greatest number of
electoral violations on July 2, and stood out as the state with the most
blatant use of national PROGRESA (the federal anti-poverty program) and
PROCAMPO funds to literally purchase votes for the PRI.

Meanwhile, the "war of the widely-varying polls" which marked - some would
say "stained" -  the federal electoral process in July, has now taken hold
in Chiapas.  Sami David's campaign is disseminating a poll taken by the
Rosenblueth Foundation before July 2, which places the PRI candidate in the
lead with 49.9% of voter preferences, compared with 38.9% for Pablo Salazar.
David David adds that the Rosenblueth Foundation is best known as the
pollster of choice for the PRD.

Salazar has retaliated with a poll taken just after the federal elections by
the Doxa Internacional polling agency, giving the Alliance for Chiapas
candidate a lead of 8 points - more than a nineteen point swing from the
Rosenblueth poll.

It is expected that both president-elect Vicente Fox and ex-presidential
candidate Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, rivals in every other aspect, will soon tour
Chiapas - separately - in support of Pablo Salazar's campaign, while Sami
David David has said he is expecting the support of Tabasco governor Roberto
Madrazo and other governors of the Southeast.


When the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) registered its candidate
for governor of Tabasco on July 15, it did so "under protest" as the party
"does not trust the electoral authorities" of the state.  The PRD candidate,
César Raúl Ojeda Zubieta, then accused the president of the State Electoral
Institute of Tabasco (IET), Leonardo Sara Poisot, of being a partial
electoral representative in favor of the Institutional Revolutionary Party
(PRI) and openly called for his resignation.

Sara Poisot is considered a figure politically close to Governor Roberto
Madrazo, who named him to the IET in 1997.  Also under criticism is the
State Electoral Tribunal of Tabasco (TET), which likewise is filled with
Madrazo allies.  The head of the state Supreme Court, which controls the
TET, even published an open letter in state newspapers after the July 2
elections in which he affirmed that Tabasco "is, and will remain, a PRI

A total of eleven parties have registered candidates for the October 15
elections, although only three are seen to have possibilities of winning the
gubernatorial race: the PRI, with Madrazo protégé Manuel Andrade Díaz; the
PRD, with César Raúl Ojeda; and the PAN, whose candidate is José Antonio de
la Vega Asmitia.

All three major candidates worked together in the PRI until very recently.
Ojeda left the then-ruling party just five months ago, and is registered as
an "external" candidate for the PRD.  De la Vega was elected a Federal
Deputy for the PRI on July 2, and only resigned from the party this week to
compete for the governor's post under the banner of the PAN.

Both De la Vega Asmitia and Ojeda Zubieta have offered to drop out of the
race in favor of the other, depending on which of the two major opposition
candidates is ahead in the polls by early October.


- José Murat Casab, governor of the state of Oaxaca and one of the strongest
allies of rebellious Tabasco governor Roberto Madrazo within the
Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), announced on July 19 that his home
and offices were the targets of "political espionage."  While presenting
microphones to the press which he claims to have found within the government
palace, Murat also said that he is followed when he travels to Mexico City,
that he and his children have received death threats, and that his wife's
bank accounts were recently audited.  The governor suggested that the spying
and the threats may well originate in the PRI or the Interior Ministry, as a
result of the position he has taken within the party since the July 2
elections.  Three Interior Ministry officials responded by filing a criminal
lawsuit against Murat for defamation, accusing him of lying and of planting
the microphones himself.

- In Oaxaca, a judge this week sentenced two accused members of the Popular
Revolutionary Army (EPR) to 31 and 33 years in prison, respectively, for the
crimes of conspiracy, premeditated murder, and homicide.  The charges stem
from coordinated EPR attacks on the night of August 28, 1996 against Navy,
Judicial Police, and Municipal police installations in five states.  The
sentences against the accused EPR militants come just two weeks after a
judge in Mexico State sentenced 8 presumed EPR guerrillas, also from Oaxaca,
to 40 years imprisonment each in the maximum security penitentiary of
Almoloya de Juárez.  The eight were accused of the same crimes and
involvement in the same events as those sentenced this week in Oaxaca.

- Five currents within the PRI have demanded the expulsion of President
Ernesto Zedillo from the party, for having contributed to the electoral
losses on July 2.  Arturo Barajas, leader of the Solidarity Current, said
that the consensus among the five groups was that Zedillo "left the PRI in
political bankruptcy."  He added that it was wrong for Zedillo to recognize
the victory of PAN presidential candidate Vicente Fox before the candidate
of the PRI, Francisco Labastida, had done so.  The five currents said they
were planning a "political trial" of Zedillo at the Monument to the
Revolution in Mexico City, beginning on August 23.

- On July 20, representatives of the Labor Party (PT) announced they had
officially prohibited the party's members and representatives from accepting
any post in the government of Vicente Fox Quesada.  The PT said that rather
than "sell out" to the Fox government, it would continue to work closely
with the PRD in a united opposition block of the parties which made up the
Alliance for Mexico in the July 2 elections.  However, the PT said it is
proceeding anyway with a lawsuit against the PRD for a supposed deficit of
25 million pesos incurred in the course of the past electoral campaign.

- On July 21, the parents of student strikers imprisoned following the
collapse of the 10-month strike at the National Autonomous University (UNAM)
on February 6, lifted their 151-day protest in front of the offices of the
university president.  The protest began on February 22 to demand the
liberation of the nearly one thousand student prisoners of the General
Strike Council (CGH).  No students are currently imprisoned, though several
hundred are only free on bail while they face minor criminal charges.  The
parents decided to end the protest after assurances from the school
administration that it would ask the Attorney General's Office to drop the
remaining charges against the students.


SOURCES: La Jornada, Proceso, Proceso Sur, Milenio, El Financiero.

This report is a product of the Mexico Solidarity Network.
Redistribution is authorized and encouraged provided that the source is