Jan 17, 2012

Mexico Politics: Author Carlos Fuentes sees Mexico as trapped between big problems and mediocre candidates

Translated by CIP intern Michael Kane

CNN Mexico: "Mexicans find themselves trapped between their grave problems and “mediocre candidates” for the presidency of their country, asserted writer Carlos Fuentes this Monday.

“What alarms me most this year (…) is that I see the problems here and the candidates over there,” said Fuentes in an interview with journalist Carmen Aristegui, on CNN en Español. “A large discrepancy between the country’s challenges and the candidates that we have,” he said.

Fuentes, winner of the Cervantes and Prince of Asturias Awards for Literature, declared that the nation needs “intelligent political media” in order to escape the “extremely grave internal and international situation” in which it finds itself almost six months away from the elections which will renew the presidency, governorships of 15 states, and the Congress.

“We are stuck with a terrible disproportion between the problems of the country and candidates who appear to me to be fairly mediocre,” he contended. Fuentes considered the violence derived from the fight against organized crime to be the main problem for Mexico and the current government of President Felipe Calderón.

“I believe that, in this sexenio, (six-year presidential term) a grave error was committed, which was immediate and, perhaps, had the purpose of legitimizing the (2006 presidential) election, which was so hotly contested. . . . I am under the impression that we have lost this war,” continued Fuentes.

Among other problems, Fuentes referred to infrastructure, education, and healthcare as issues in which “we’ve been left behind,” and that needed the attention of those who aspired to the presidency.

Fuentes reiterated his proposal to legalize drugs as an alternative form of combating narcotrafficking, of which he accused the United States as being responsible and of doing too little to eradicate it.

The author of La region más transparente and Terra Nostra dismissed the possibility of a victory for the National Action Party (PAN) in the presidential election next July due to the discontent it caused over 12 years of governance.

“It seems to me that no one wants to reelect the PAN. I sense that there is a feeling of exhaustion with the PAN governments and their style,” said Fuentes, who believes the party of President Calderón has no popular support, only opposition. “I don’t believe that one can give a PAN candidacy a second chance,” he said.

Regarding the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), whose candidate leads the latest polls, Fuentes believed that they offered a candidate of “very small character” in comparison with the “enormous” problems and challenges of the country.

Enrique Peña Nieto, ex-governor of the central state of México and the candidate of the PRI “is not prepared to be president” claimed Fuentes, who reiterated his condemnation of Peña Nieto’s “public demonstration of ignorance,” after his failure to mention his three favorite books during the the most recent Guadalajara International Book Festival.

“The only possibility of renewal, despite the candidate himself, is with López Obrador and a left which, hopefully, will achieve a degree of unity which it hasn’t yet achieved,” said Fuentes of the candidate for the coalition of leftist parties.

However, everything depends on who will support López Obrador in his quest for the presidency, said Fuentes. “If some of the best minds in Mexico associate themselves with him, there is hope,” he added, referring to people like the ex-rector of UNAM, Juan Ramón de la Fuente, or the current head of government of Mexico City, Marcelo Ebrard, whom López Obrador not long ago considered for the position of Ministry of the Interior, which is charged with domestic policymaking.

“We have a poor and quite uneven presidential race, over against a country with gigantic problems, as many internally as internationally,” contended Fuentes. “Everyone is being tested, because the country is being tested, because the problems are so large,” he added." Spanish original

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